October 13 – October 28, 2017

Making Faces

Upon graduating from the Alberta College of Art (and Design) with a 4 year diploma in Applied Arts, in 1974, Janice Sich worked over 30 years as a graphic, glass, and furniture artist.  It wasn’t until 2009 that she started oil painting. “I had been carrying around art supplies for years, and my oils were still intact, so I started with some oils that I had for 35 years.”  She started painting landscapes reflecting the grand sights in the Okanagan. “The painting process relies on honing my observation skills, drawing me closer to nature, colour, light, shadow; it affirms my individuality while reflecting on the past through memories of a place, memories of emotions and tactile experiences; it anchors me to the present and at the same time it connects me to life through immediate and reflective study.”

“Making Faces started out simply as a lone painting laughing at myself.” After painting a grumpy, “Bah! Humbug” selfie last year, Janice was delighted with the response, so she decided to paint silly portraits of people and display them so that viewers could all have a good laugh together.

Bertha, Janice’s 99 year old mother, who passed away Sept. 19th, volunteered to be her first sitting. “Most people would want a lovely portrait painted, but Mom saw the joy of making fun of oneself and resulting hilarity. Good on you, Mom!  This show is dedicated to you.”

“I have never had so much fun painting!  I find myself actually laughing while I’m painting. I also learn so much with each painting I do.” Janice has also had fun approaching strangers and showing them what she is working on. “Their faces light up and they become so keen to take part. Very few people decline the offer of having their picture taken to later be painted.”

There are many various styles of portraits available to view online. Some are funny and goofy. But very few depict the sitter “making a face” for the painter. The ones that are silly are mainly caricatures. Janice recently discovered Franz Xaver Messerschmidt, an 18th century sculptor who did “character heads” when painting at that time was typically “classical” style and very serious.  Her new series, Making Faces portraits are not caricatures, but likenesses painted from photos Janice took of the subjects. These loony likenesses have not been exaggerated.  The sitters have controlled their images of themselves. The paintings do not mock the sitter, but tend to animate them.

“I think we all take ourselves too seriously and lose the playfulness we were born with. This exhibition is all about making fun of ourselves and bringing out our silliness. So have a good laugh.”

20% of all sales from this series will be donated to the Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art who is hosting this show October 13, 2017, or The Kelowna Women’s Shelter. Your choice.