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Arlene Wasylynchuk’s exhibition, Saltus Illuminati, has been created specifically for the space of the AGA’s RBC New Works Gallery. In this new installation, Wasylynchuk, most often recognized as a landscape painter, has effectively extended the shape of painting, by rolling paintings into long tubes and standing them vertically, diagonally and laying them across the gallery floor. By altering the form of the 2-diimensional painted surface, and grouping these paintings together, Wasylynchuk has created what appears to be a stand of trees, a small grove held within the space of the gallery. Lit from within, each tree emanates a soft glow from its heart wood.
While Wasylynchuk’s forest has the luminous otherworldliness that seems to evoke the enchanted forests of fairy-tales, the work also speaks directly to the history of painting, to both the tradition of the landscape and to abstraction. The fluidity of her brush work, with its linear drips, splashes and washes, resembles the tracks of the devastating pine beetle as much as it does the gestural quality of abstract expressionism. This work can be read as both a new configuration of abstract painting or as a representational image of the Alberta woodland.