INTERIORS: A show within a show

I’m honoured to be joining Edmonton writers Cathy Hodgson, Kerry Mulholland and Amy Willans for an evening of poetry on Wednesday, Aug. 8 (7 p.m., McMullen Gallery, U of A Hospital) surrounded and inspired by beautiful, haunting new work by artist Gillian Willans.

Interiors is presented by Friends of University Hospitals and also features music by harpist Bev Ross.


Gillian Willans was recently awarded
the $10,000 Eldon & Anne Foote Edmonton Visual Arts Prize.
Her evocative exhibition,
The Well-Tended Garden, opened
on July 5 and continues until Aug. 19.

The exhibit features more than 40 paintings of domestic spaces, empty of people yet exquisitely inhabited: sturdy desks, beds – some gloriously messy, some painfully immaculate; manual typewriters, old phones, vintage furniture and lamps. Pre-digital life meets ethereal, sometimes Hollywood, fairy tale; gadgets from the Mad Men era meet Sleeping Beauty. In this tension, you might conjure the fleeting essence of Marilyn Monroe, or Marion Crane (the character played by Janet Leigh in Hitchcock’s Psycho).

Willans manipulates realism to establish unease within her paintings, creating mood through dramatic use of light and shadow. The work suggests the value systems of gender, family, privacy, intimacy, comfort and luxury. The very geometry of a room is simultaneously full and empty.