untitled 35
“C’est enchanteur, j’aime les contrastes, de couleurs, la texture, la simplicité qui s’en dégage malgrès le travail, tout cela nous amène dans un pays de réve et de serenité ‘le jardin d’Eden.’”

Chantal Ryan does not make life easy for herself as an artist.

It’s a quirk of her process - honed over three years - that to achieve her trademark bright sparks of oil and wax on Mylar plastic, she insists on working in reverse.

“What you see as a strong colour on top is, in fact, the first one I put on, and I finish with the background,” she explains of the abstract work currently on show by appointment at Elan Fine Art on West 5th Avenue.

It is, she readily admits, the exact opposite of normal. However, the West Vancouver resident just likes it that way. “I feel comfortable with it,” she adds.

And reflecting on a childhood spent examining culture in Paris with her father (known in her family as “The Dictionary” for studying more than 10 degrees), she thinks the intellectual process of creating things backwards works well for her. Every Sunday, he would take them all to the Louvre, “so as much as I have studied art, it was probably him that gave me the love of art,” Ryan continues.

Her work is more than a nod, too, to her frequent holidays in the south of France.

“Like most people, I’ve always been attracted by the luminosité,” she says, “and in Vancouver I think we need light, so this is definitely a quest for light.”

The painting process started as a photographic series in which she would snap life through windows that were caked in dust, but through which you could attract different lights. “You could see some beautiful images and this is what led to the painting on Mylar,” she explains, adding the medium is, most importantly, acid-free, so does not react with her paints.

Her Falling Moon, in particular, is her way of evoking “otherness” in the world.

“I think we have forgotten about the extraordinary and the magic,” explains Ryan. “Everything is always sad and catastrophic, so it’s good to reignite the magic in people. Money has become too important and stardom, and people have confused art with stardom.”

Lucy Hyslop (2010, Dec 24) A backwards take on art. The Vancouver Sun. Retrieved from TheVancouverSun.com