Kristy Blackwell uses figurative realism to depict her perception of grief, anxiety and loneliness. The void surrounding her subjects carefully rendered in oil or graphite can seem ominous in its emptiness. Her figures, sometimes rendered in duplicate to suggest strength alongside vulnerability create a psychological barrier, in some of her new work rendered in gold leaf rings, between the inner mind and the infinite unknown. There is common understanding in these personal images: beauty in sadness and in strength, beauty in vulnerability and in protection.
Trained in fine art at the University of Guelph and, thereafter, in computer animation at the University of Toronto, Kristy has had an accomplished career as a digital matte painter and compositor on over 50 feature films. But Kristy’s passion remains rooted in fine art and her experience creating photo-real digital images has inspired her to experiment with various traditional techniques and materials to both create and deconstruct reality on canvas or other supports.
Kristy was raised in small town Manitoba and Ontario and has spent the last eighteen years living and working in Toronto with her husband and two daughters.
Kristy’s work was recently awarded the Best in Show at the 144th OSA Juried Exhibition as well as the Best of Painting prize at the 55th Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition.
“I strive to provide an easy entry into my work with the accessible familiarity of the realistically rendered human form while portraying what I find to be the unnerving tension created between a woman’s strength and vulnerability. I think it can be found in the simplest moment – a glance, a turn of the head, a hand clasping a familiar object.
I try not to overthink a pose or composition because it can quickly lose its authenticity or vitality. I want to capture fleeting moments so I am learning to trust my instincts. Each piece is ultimately carefully executed but where my work has its greatest success, it comes from trusting that flash of a thought.”