Written by: Sabrina Doyle

New museum exhibition to showcase artwork inspired by dark skies

“Portal to Imagination” by Destanne Norris

Destanne Norris

The stars have long inspired the human race. From early navigators who told stories anchored by constellations to modern artists like Destanne Norris who commit stunning nebulas to canvas, the cosmos has served as a boundless muse.

Norris is primarily a landscape-based oil painter, but for the exhibition entitled Stellar, she focused her gaze upwards. “When we see bright, twinkling dots of lights that shine bright through the darkness over unfathomable distances we are actually witnessing the past meeting the present,” the artist wrote in her statement about the series of paintings.

The exhibition will be at the Jasper-Yellowhead Museum & Archives from Oct. 5 - Nov. 4, 2018, and is presented in partnership by Mountain Galleries at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. There will be an opening reception on Oct. 19 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. as part of the Jasper Dark Sky Festival, and the artist will deliver a talk on Oct. 20 in Jasper, where she lived when her professional art career was first established.

In researching her paintings Norris compiled photos captured by the Hubble Telescope, among other science sources. Still, fellow Canadian artist Katie Brennan reflected in an essay on Stellar that “Norris’ paintings look nothing like how space is rendered in popular culture today: clean, precise, illustrative renderings of the heavens. Norris’ rendering of the night sky is softer, more nurturing.”

Indeed, the paintings are a departure from Norris’ usual representational approach to painting; Stellar marks a shift into abstraction, where science meets art in deep space, where it’s ok sometimes to simply not know.

“I use the outside, I suppose, to access what is inside,” writes Norris. After all, “What do we miss when we don’t look up?”

Join Destanne Norris in looking up at the Jasper Dark Sky Festival, happening Oct. 12 - 21, 2018. See full festival schedule here.

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