Victoria Wonnacott describes art as her “life’s calling.”
But if painting is her first passion, water must surely be her second.
The Montreal-based artist is showing her most recent collection — Coming To The Surface — at Cube Gallery through Sunday. The paintings of serene, detailed and evocative works all depict various aspects of water, and humans’ interaction with water.
Swimmers, close-up representations of the intricacies of waves and images of a hazy male figure behind a wet shower curtain — her “everyman” — are all part of the show.
“I’m a pretty happy camper when I’m in the water,” says Wonnacott when asked about why water is so important to her work. “There is a quietude and timelessness in it that brings everything together for me.”
Wonnacott is an accomplished artist and no stranger to Ottawa. She has had other exhibitions at Cube, as well as showings at SAW Gallery and Gallery 101.
She says this current exhibition developed from an early series she did depicting the four aspects of human need: air, food, water and love.
She’s been painting swimmers and underwater scenarios for the past four years, but says this exhibition “has brought the players to land.”
There’s a sense when viewing her work that it has evolved in layers, both figuratively and literally. There is an emotional depth to the work that goes beyond the surface, but her technique in many of the pieces also involves layering.
Different mediums are used, including Plexiglas, stained wood panels, Mactac film, acrylic and epoxy resin drops on canvas to give a droplet effect.
The result is something both mysterious and familiar. Accessible art that evokes feeling. And Wonnacott hopes hers are the kind of paintings that can speak to anyone.
“I hope people will relate to the work and feel engaged on some level,” she says.
“Maybe something tweaks a memory, place, and time or maybe the surface satisfies that curiosity.”
Wonnacott’s work, as well as an exhibit by Antoni Romaszewski, shows until Sunday at Cube Gallery, 7 Hamilton Ave. N.