“I believe art can be spiritually healing.” – Jane Ash Poitras
In a recent article of the NGC’s Magazine Becky Rynor, an Ottawa based journalist, sits down with the artist to speak about her work and how it “continues to be deeply political, spiritual, scientific and outspoken.”
Poitras reflects on her artistic influences like Robert Rauschenberg and Cy Twombly stating:
I like Twombly’s scribbles and messages. Same with Rauschenberg. He writes on his work and he was inspired by his mother who was a seamstress. That’s why he has patchwork on his work, collaging it and patching it. These artists were transformers. They put pieces together that others said shouldn’t go together. But they said to hell with it, let’s see what comes out of this. What usually came out of it was a big statement because of their genius and their intuitiveness and intelligence. They were saying: “Wake up world. We need to talk about climate change. We need to talk about the opiate crisis.”
The conversation also touches on Poitras’ interesting career trajectory. With a degree in microbology from Columbia University, for her art and science are not mutually exclusive, pointing to the great Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci as proof that creative minds express in diverse ways. As Poitras puts it: “Science is art. Every artist is a scientist and every scientist is an artist.”
Speaking on the Indigenous artists she has admired for paving the way for others to follow – Fritz Sholder, Joan Cardinal Schubert and Carl Beam – she states “[t]hese were the artists, who were really crashing the gallery doors open.”
To read more on how Poitras’ Catholic upbringing, science education, and Cree heritage underpin the themes in her work visit the National Gallery of Canada’s website to read An Interview with Jane Ash Poitras: serendipity and art.
Visit Jane Ash Poitras artist page to view current available work.
IN NGC COLLECTION
A Sacred Prayer for Sacred Island (1991)
Prayer Ties for my People (2000)