A few years back, when things were “normal”, I had the pleasure of promoting DONNA WISE‘s fabulous contemporary abstract art as part of a group show at Urban Gallery which has sadly closed its doors due to Covid. Fortunately Propeller Art Gallery has survived and they are presenting their first in-person show (with limited capacity) April 7 through 25 featuring Donna’s latest works titled MAPPING THE INFINITE. (signature canvas pictured below)ABOUT THE ARTIST: Donna Wise is a Toronto-based artist who has exhibited in Canada and the United States. Her versatile acrylic paintings are large, bold, fluid and full of energetic confidence. For a number of years, Donna was a Docent at both The Art Gallery of Ontario and The Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. By invitation, she has participated in art auctions for The Canadian Opera Company, The National Ballet, The Royal Ontario Museum and Baycrest Hospital. Her work can be found in the Boardroom of the Parliament Buildings at Queen’s Park Toronto, and the lobby of the famed Elgin Theatre, Toronto. Her paintings can be found in many corporate collections including the Four Seasons Hotel, Baycrest Hospital and Equitable Trust, among others, and are also in private collections in Toronto, Montreal, Miami and Tel Aviv.ARTIST’S STATEMENT: For me, painting is a visual language that ignites both my curiosity and imagination; I am determined to live my life full of wonder. This perspective at the moment has shifted because the world feels broken and so many of us are searching for a beacon, but I believe wonder is the way. Art is something that makes you breathe with a different kind of happiness. These large abstract paintings with bold colour-saturated strokes fuse together both geometric forms and textures. The paintings are my voice and a reflection of my inner world – they allow me to map the infinity of my surroundings and enhance the environment with feelings of pleasure, beauty and optimism, providing an element of drama for the viewer.
I’m pleased to welcome Donna to the Fordham PR client family, and I recently spoke with her during a visit to her studio where she is often kept company by her two gorgeous standard poodles (see photo above).
Donna, as a professional artist, how has the Covid quarantine affected your productivity? Actually, Covid was a blessing in disguise as I had unlimited, uninterrupted time in studio. As far as exhibitions in galleries, everything was in lockdown which meant galleries had to scramble to make on-line virtual shows accessible to both artists and collectors.
Your latest collection of paintings going on show at Propeller Gallery (“Mapping the Infinite” April 7-25) feature so many beautiful colours – soft pastels, vibrant reds and strong blacks. What was your inspiration for this series of large canvases? I felt that this project needed to be hopeful. There is no political or social statement in my artwork. Strong, bold colours full of confidence and energy are what you see. These colours had to create an emotional, personal response unique to the viewer.
You also have smaller works in the upcoming Colour & Form Society’s show in Niagara Falls (March 30-Apr. 24) – being so used to large format works, how was it scaling down your work for this 2’x2’ show? It took me a while to adjust my methodology and rhythm to create such small canvases; in the end I was successful with the challenge. Old dogs can learn new tricks – all part of the journey.Many of the galleries that survived this past year by presenting online “virtual” exhibitions, are now opening up for live in-person shows (granted, with limited access) – are you looking forward to getting back in front of potential collectors and fans? I’m very excited about being able to actually hang the art work in the gallery setting. It’s extremely hard to get the full exposure and feel of the work on-line. There is still some uncertainty about what “open” means – how many people can come in at one time, can artists host catered receptions, etc.You use a very specific acrylic paint brand for your work, Golden Acrylics, and apparently you use one that is very old indeed. Can you tell us about your preferred paint supplies and just how old that red one is? I have found Golden’s heavy acrylic paints to be my product of choice. I actually have several jars that are over 30 years old (see 2nd picture below).
Any advice for young artists looking to carve out a long-term career such as yours? Any specific strategies or marketing thoughts? Hang in there. There are going to be a lot of disappointments & rejections but that is all part of the journey. Learn how to challenge yourself through these tough times. Most of all, stop doubting yourself, work at what you do best. Maybe you will have to deviate for a short time, learn a new technique… but stay true to yourself. And most of all, keep doing what you love doing. Creativity is magic so don’t examine it too closely.
Donna, if there’s anything else you’d like to share about the art market or the need for beauty in our current dark times?This has been a very trying time for everyone, some more than others. The world seems to be very unsettled at the moment so we’re all looking for a beacon of hope. I choose to live my life in a world of wonder – I believe that art is the way. Art, I believe, is something that makes you breathe with a different kind of happiness and everyday we need a little magic! Who better to say this then Italian physicist Carlo Rovelli: “Here on the edge of what we know, in contrast with the ocean of the unknown, shines the mystery and the beauty of the world and it is BREATHTAKING!!”
You can view Donna’s “Mapping the Infinite” solo show online at www.propellerartgallery.ca from April 7 thru 25th, or in-person at the gallery located at 30 Abell Street (off Queen West, just a few blocks east of Dufferin). Call ahead or email for gallery hours and capacity restrictions: 416-504-7142 | firstname.lastname@example.org And to learn more about Donna, visit her at: www.DonnaWiseArt.com