Art Exhibit January 5 - 29: Stephanie Boisvert & Melanie Gailunas
January 05, 2014 10:00 am - January 29, 2014 8:00 pm
Keyes Gallery at WWML
Stephanie Boisvert -
Painting found me as a lost soul, and has quickly led me upward on a healing and transformative path.
As a self-taught artist, I initially grappled with what I was producing versus what I wanted to produce. What I wanted to produce - "traditional" art in the vein of sailboats and still life's - wasn't to be. Ultimately I realized this and have settled comfortably into my own content and style.
What I paint is my life in adversity and my life in bliss. There is a child-like quality to my paintings that permeates throughout. It is the simplicty of the idea finding peace in a purposeful, unrestrained, yet coherent structure.
For me, painting has never been a hobby or dalliance - for me painting is a very intimate and spiritual interchange. What it provides is clarity, focus, strength, support and growth.
Kinship: An Exhibition
Artist Statement: What If
My name is Melanie Gailunas. I am a photographer. And I am fascinating. This is a revelation many years in the making, yet only a month in the realization as I was imprisoned by so many fears. A fear of success that gripped every molecule of my being. A fear of rejection that took hold of my throat strangling the life out of me. A fear that my minimal photographic education would render me inferior to my peers.
Then, on the first day of the 2013 What If Conference (an event for creative entrepreneurs) in the Dominican Republic, my fears were written down, acknowledged, and made into the most festive confetti. My fellow artists (now lifelong friends) joined me in dancing with glee upon them. By the last day, I had discovered my Golden Buddha, and free to pursue my love of photography, I formulated a plan of action to attain my goals. It is only now that I feel this photographic authenticity in my bones.
The children in this body of work before you attend La Escuela Basica Los Manatiales in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, and number 900 strong. They were photographed on Friday, February 8th, 2013. On this Humanitarian Day of the What If Conference, attendees presented the students with school supplies, art supplies, and sports equipment to enrich their lives. They are schooled behind a 10-foot wall upon which barbed wire glares down at them in the hot sun. They try to listen to their teachers crammed 60 to a room with the blaring noise of jetliners taking off and landing just outside their window. They beg for water behind an ominous gate. Most horrifying to learn was that some of the older girls are most likely selling their bodies in prostitution to support their families. Yet knowing that a pencil, a crayon, a jump rope, some paint, a blank canvas (one bald head included), a hand print, and a game of hopscotch brought them baby steps closer to joy, happiness, and tenderness across cultural boundaries, barbed wire, and fear to ask,
"When are you coming back?"
It was with tears in my eyes that I could not answer that question as we drove away in our air-conditioned bus. It was only two hours of respect, kindness, beauty, love, art, and play, but I am forever a changed woman.
It is with purpose that I share my love of this world through photography. It is with intent to change the world for the better no matter how big the mountain is that I must move or how small the grain of sand beneath my feet that I cherish. My creativity comes from the heart. My joy I give to you. The essence of my work is love. Love of the human race. I am an optimist.
I am a photographer.
Every parent, sister, aunt, uncle, cousin, niece, brother-in-law and friend has faced the lens of my camera and lived to tell about it. I thank them from the bottom of my heart for their love and support of me, and my calling as an artist.