The Fullness of Time

Category: arts 245

Saint John artist Gabrielle Brown chats about her work and her upcoming exhibit at Buckland Merrifield Gallery August 18 – September 2.

The Fullness of Time | acrylic and ink on canvas | size 48×60

Gabrielle Brown is a self-taught visual artist living in Saint John. A self-employed artists and full-time mother, she is currently preparing to open her first solo exhibit this week at Saint John’s Buckland Merrifield Gallery. Entitled The Fullness of Time, Brown’s first exhibit will feature 10 paintings and one very impressive life sized moving sculpture.

In advance of the show’s opening, we caught up with Brown to ask about her work, her show and what it means to be represented under the Buckland Merrifield banner alongside some of the province’s leading contemporary artists.

The Fullness of Time. What can you tell us about this exhibit?

The Fullness of Time exhibit consists of 10 paintings and 1 life size moving sculpture that will be on display August 18th at Buckland Merrifield Gallery. The theme is dedicated to the fulfillment of one’s destiny as I portray myself in different perspectives demonstrating the human condition in both struggle and triumph. Each painting and sculpture is narrating the power of our true self and the ability to rise up in any circumstance.

How important is art in the world of a self-employed mom? I’m guessing it’s huge.

It’s definitely a huge part of my life! I have been consumed by art since as long as I can remember, but motherhood has definitely pushed me in the right direction and gave me drive to pursue the passion into something bigger. Once I came off of maternity leave I had two choices – to either find a regular job or to follow the dream. Thankfully I chose to stick with my calling and go after it. I haven’t looked back and now it’s been almost two years as a self employed artist. 

What can you tell us about the life-size moving sculpture?  It must have a story?

Human Spirit Connection | sculpture – acrylic on wood | total size 20×61.5 ( each cube 20×20 / turns 360°)

Yes it does. I knew when I got into BMG and that I was going to have my first solo exhibit that I wanted to do a sculpture but I hadn’t figured out what it would be or how I would do it.  I just knew there would be a sculpture for the show. One day I was watching my son play with this toy I had gotten him and it consisted of three small cubes that where magnetized together. Each side had a different animal and you could change the sides to give it a different head, mid-section or feet. As I looked at it and thought about how neat the concept was I realized that it was exactly what I wanted to do and that it was also something I could manage to create in the time frame I had leading up to the exhibit. I started sketching it out right away and then went straight to the hardware store to buy the wood to build the cubes. Once there, it dawned on me how much bigger of a task it would be to make the cubes and also to have them rotate 360°. I went home empty handed and frustrated but then used my frustration to find a way to get it done.

I then began to think of who I knew that worked with wood and would get my vision. The first person I thought of was my friend Aaron Dietrich who was conveniently working in his wood shop not far from where I live uptown. I contacted him that night and he was more then happy to help me out with my project. After going into his shop and showing he and a friend the plans I drew up, along with my son’s toy, they understood my vision and were stoked to be able to help and make it happen for me. Within a week they built it and actually surprised me with it unexpectedly, free of charge! They truly gifted me with something that meant more to me then anything I had ever created and not only that but it was made with such quality and precision that it just blew me away. They installed a lazy susan in between the cubes allowing them to rotate 360°. I got to work that very night, it took me over two months of working daily to paint the entire sculpture. The piece is titled Human Spirit Connection and the theme for the sculpture is how we are all connected and always moving, allowing us to adapt and change at any moment.

What drew you towards working with BMG?

I have this fond memory of when I was 12 or 13, I went to Peter Buckland’s Gallery when it was on Prince William Street and I remember standing there looking at all the art and envisioning myself and my work on his gallery walls.  So later on in life about six months or so prior to getting into BMG I had decided that I would start a series of paintings and my goal was to get into a gallery and the first gallery on my list was BMG. I really admire the artists they represent and in my opinion it is the best gallery.  Once I showed Peter and Shannon my work and joined BMG it felt really surreal and full circle to have once stood there in Peter’s gallery dreaming of my work on those walls to now having an exhibit and being represented by him and Shannon, its a dream come true. 

What’s it feel like to be on the cusp of your first gallery show and what does that mean?

It’s such an indescribable feeling.  I have moments of adrenaline where I feel like I am in a dream and almost can’t grasp the fact that this is really happening, but then I have low moments of uncertainty and questioning myself and my work.

The whole process of getting ready for the show has been a learning experience for me. I have never created like this before on a time frame so it is definitely making me a better artist. Once I found out that my exhibit is the same night as the Third Shift outdoor art event it really gave me a boost knowing my art will be seen by so many people. It pushed me to make the best work I can.

This exhibit is what I have wanted my whole life so the good always outweighs the bad.  I just am looking forward to it and what is to come after. 

The Fullness of Time | Art by Gabrielle Brown | Buckland Merrifield Gallery – 36 Canterbury Street, Saint John | August 18 – September 2 | View Event

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