I had been visiting student exhibitions and galleries because
I wanted to find out how young artists feel about their new
experiences as well as their thoughts on the careers they have
Scanlon is a dynamic young artist who is already launching what
promises to be a very successful art career. She’s only
23 -- in her last year at Concordia University in Montreal --
and not wasting any time making her mark on the ‘scene.’
When I first came across her work (2004), she was exhibiting
very large, passionate portraits. Her most recent work features
photographs, and although they are not as technically accomplished
as her painting, they demonstrate a willingness of the artist
to explore different aspects of art making.
very graciously agreed to answer some questions about being
new to the art scene. I first asked her to tell me more about
SCANLON: In the series of photographs entitled Absolution,
I explore our urban landscape. Cities of concrete and glass
are built on the ideals of modernism: purity of light, form
and space. Constructions of glass and concrete, while built
to deliver feelings of purity and transcendence to the city’s
inhabitants, often leave the individual feeling remote and isolated.
photographs explore the melding of sky and concrete and the
beauty found in it. I also make use of light as a metaphor for
transcendence and enlightenment. Filtering in through windows
and flooding open spaces, it can be seen as means to escape
but also of illumination. I explore constructions of form onto
form and negations of space into space: windows, corridors and
openings are reoccurring in my work as they map an endless sense
of time and space. Of whiteness, nothingness. In my cropping
and specific choice of subject matter I try to negate the complexions
of our milieu, to recreate an endlessness that cities often
pays homage to modernism with photographs based on formalism
and its quiet austere beauty, silenced moments of contemplation.
SCHRUFER: Have you always wanted to be an artist ? Did your
need to make art manifest early?
SCANLON: There were a few early indications, but when it came
down to it, I just knew.
SCHRUFER: You are a representational artist, did you ever feel
pressured towards abstraction?
SCANLON: No, I never felt inclined toward abstraction and no
one questioned my choices. I think my teachers could see that
I had a clear direction and gave me the freedom to find my own
expression. I am grateful for that because I know that art schools
weren’t always like that, especially in the 60s and 70s.
LYDIA SCHRUFER: You are represented by the
Hollinger Collins Gallery whose website
features your photography. How does someone as young as yourself
manage to get such good gallery representation, and are your
peers as fortunate?
SCANLON: I think it is important to be part of an artistic community.
I participate in any and all events that come my way: fund raisers,
auctions, school exhibitions, I’ve even curated. I would
advise all aspiring artists to apply for everything that comes
their way and to take advantage of all opportunities. Among
my peers, I notice that those who went out there every day and
got involved are the ones exhibiting. But for sure, I am incredibly
lucky and have been in the right place at the right time.
SCHRUFER: Do you, in the future, see yourself as primarily a
painter or would you prefer to continue as a multi disciplinary
artist exploring different mediums?
SCANLON: I don’t know. I am doing photography now because
it’s conducive to my lifestyle and present mindset, but
I know I will always paint. I would also like to try video.
SCHRUFER: Have you been disappointed with any aspect of the
SCANLON: As mentioned earlier, I have been very fortunate so
SCHRUFER: Do you mostly work in the school studios or are you
set up somewhere else?
SCANLON: I have a studio for painting and I use the school darkrooms
for my photographic work.
SCHRUFER: Are you confident you’ll be able to make a living
as an artist or will you augment your income in other way?
SCANLON: Right now I’m working full time, going to school
and juggling my art career. I like to work, I like to be an
active participant in life and in my community. I don’t
want to be an artist shut away in a studio. I think if you are
going to make art about the world, you have to participate in
it and then step back. It is a juggling act but art is always
in your mind, you are always taking mental notes and then hurrying
home or to the studio to paint it, photograph it or film it
. . . whatever is called for.
no doubt that Rosemary Scanlon will indeed do whatever is called
for to succeed at her art career. If you would like to know
more about the artist, visit the Hollinger Collins web site