Joanne Gullachsen was born and raised in Gimli Manitoba from Icelandic origins, as was typical of many farm families in central Manitoba.
The memories born from these beginnings make up the body of her artwork, recalling the times spent in the milk house, watching her grandmother churn butter or enjoying a picnic under her father’s hay rack. Each painting depicts a moment which is historically specific to Manitoba’s pioneer beginnings, but also speaks of a time when family was the cornerstone of the farming community.
At the country school where Joanne attended, she recalls a teacher who placed special emphasis on drawing and painting, which instilled in Joanne an early interest in art. Joanne’s father shared her love of art as well, and she would often watch him sculpt small animals he would then gift to his children.
Joanne began painting her recollections of farm life in the late 1970’s while she was living in British Columbia, but it wasn’t until 1984 that she began to paint in earnest while teaching in the Far North, the long cold winters affording her plenty of time to reflect and paint. During this time, one of her artworks entered into a Juried Art Show in Arborg, MB was chosen to represent Central Manitoba at the National Gallery in Ottawa.
Joanne insists that her paintings be as close to her memory as possible, right down to the colour palette. This results in paintings that are set in bright vivid colours, while others take on a more ethereal atmosphere, giving the viewer insight into the cognitive and emotional responses to memory, personal to the artist, yet sympathetic to our basic human process.
Joanne Gulachsen’s show will open at the Mayberry Fine Art Gallery in Winnipeg on September 24.
Reprinted with permission from the Mayberry Fine Art Gallery