Humans are entwined with nature — whether we like it or not, says Calgary artist Patricia Lortie.
The Quebec native, who tries to stress this interdependence in her artwork, doesn’t understand those who dismiss the importance of environmental conservation.
“We can’t afford to be separate. We are fooling ourselves,” she added, noting that nature is part of the very air we breathe. “Everything that exists on this planet is interconnected. There’s no real separation, although sometimes we like to think there is.”
Lortie’s colourful abstract exhibit, Entanglement, can be seen at the Harris-Warke Gallery, upstairs at Sunworks.
Her series of patterned paintings feature swirls in bold hues, reminiscent of 1960s psychedelia. A closer look reveals human figures, not only hiding under the design, but becoming part of the pattern.
The avid hiker, who grew up drawing and painting as a way of achieving some privacy in a small house crowded with three other siblings, recalled being taken with this province’s diverse scenery. She moved here in 1995 after falling “in love with an Alberta boy.”
Lortie started out painting pretty realistic-looking trees and rocks after taking some industrial design classes at the University of Montreal and visual art for a year at the Alberta College of Art and Design. But she soon grew tired of this literal approach to nature painting, and now prefers to work on “embedding” her subject matter within abstractions.
Her green, blue and yellow patterned Children of the Forest painting contains falling leaves, with a couple of free-floating people taking similarly organic shapes. In Entanglement and Entanglement 2 , more contorted figures are shown connected to each other. Like an optical illusion, some of these background forms take a while to surface.
Lortie believes her work has also been inspired by movement — particularly the dancers she once saw performing at the Banff Centre. “They were expressing things about life in their dances.”
Lortie, whose works have been exhibited at the Inglewood gallery and Hive Gallery in Canmore, hopes viewers will spend some time gazing at her paintings.
“I hope they discuss the life that’s buried in them,” she said — while contemplating the entwined intricacies.
Entanglement exhibit is on until July 1.