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I first met Carolyn Bather when I moved to Uxbridge Ontario in 2007. Carolyn has always been a quiet and friendly neighbour, not someone who bragged or nagged or complained. So you can imagine my surprise and excitement when, in 2012, I discovered that our quiet neighbour is actually an incredibly talented and accomplished abstract painter!
- Interviewed by Lesley Wilkins
Q. WHEN DID YOU FIRST START PAINTING?
Art was always a part of my life. Even as a child, art was how I was best able to express myself. Expression through creation! The commitment to painting came about 15 years ago.
Q. YOU WORK PRIMARILY WITH LARGE CANVASSES. WHY?
You're right. Most of my pieces are large (3’ or more). I think that the way I use strong colours in combination with bold texture really requires space. My goal is to portray emotion and a sense of movement in a way that fills the room with energy and I think that my pieces have to be a certain size to get that result.
Q. DO YOU HAVE FORMAL TRAINING?
I graduated from The Ontario College Of Art And Design, as a graphic designer, more than 30 years ago. I have formal training in painting from my OCAD days. I studied under Graham Coughtry one of Canada's foremost abstract expressionists. Also Francois Thepot who is a great colour theorist.
Q. WHAT DOES THE PROCESS OF MAKING ART DO FOR YOU? OR HOW DOES IT MAKE YOU FEEL?
Painting is almost a meditative experience for me, it’s not always easy or joyful, but it’s always meaningful. I hope some of that comes through for the people who see my work.
Q. ARE THERE ANY RECURRING THEMES IN YOUR WORK?
I love texture and colour and the constantly evolving discovery of interplay between foreground and field, so many of my pieces are an exploration of those two things.
Q. HOW DO YOU GET INSPIRED TO START A NEW PIECE?
My inspiration comes from observing our relationships with nature and the constructed world and the tension created between the two realities. My intention is that my paintings inspire contemplation, observation and imagination. I don't set out to make pretty paintings. There is an unsettledness in my work, creating tension, a question in the viewer’s mind. I want them to ask, 'What is happening there?' I always resist the urge to explain my work, I want people to draw their own conclusions and find their own meaning in each painting.
Q. WHERE CAN WE SEE YOUR WORK?
I've shown my work in Toronto and Uxbridge, Ontario and have been a part of the Uxbridge Studio Tour for a number of years. This year, I'll be at site 24 on the Tour. I'll be there in person each day, and look forward to meeting new art lovers.