Sheila Kernan is an Alberta based artist who was born and raised in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. She grew up in a family who fostered the arts and encouraged creativity at every opportunity. She is known for her unique, sophisticated, and tactile aesthetic.
Her work oscillates between realism and abstraction, referencing memory and imagination. Her compositions are meticulously crafted, cultivated through her use of referential collages made from multiple photographs and sketches. Ethereal softness, hard edges and thick painterly strokes collide in multiple layers, alluding to a feeling rather than a specific location.
Kernan aims to translate an experience onto the canvas that stimulates others to interact with the work. She chooses to leave out information aiming not to include too much detail so that the viewer can bring his or her own experiences into the narrative. “How much information do you have to provide in order to still tell the story?” Kernan loves that the viewers’ emotions play into the narrative.
Over a decade as a full time artist her work can be found in numerous private, corporate, and public art collections across North America, and the world. Sheila Kernan’s paintings are avidly collected. She earned her B.F.A from the Alberta University of the arts in 2006. And since then has gone on to showcase her work nationally in more than 40 exhibitions. In 2017, she was awarded a lifetime achievement award as the recipient of the Alberta University of the Arts Alumni Legacy Award. Most recently she was awarded a major corporate commission wrapping the exterior of a building downtown Calgary (Stephen Avenue Place) with her designs.
With an endless array of fascinating subjects and my camera on hand I am eager to experience, explore, and document my surroundings. Observing each unique environment. I pay close attention to the many different characteristics and subtleties. Absorbing the ambiance. Feeling compelled to reflect my love for such moments. I draw upon sketches, memories and photographic references. Taking a moment to reflect upon many whimsical visions. Reacting with a sense of urgency to describe them. It’s pure delight. Stories spill over onto the canvas with simplicity. Nothing is better than paint gliding across the canvas. A multitude of patterns and reflections form from the paint squishing, oozing and blending together. Surfaces become filled with thick impasto marks, brilliant colours, and flat shapes that fuse and meld together to create conversations. Transcending into a mystical realism that inspires us to see the world in a new and exciting way. My work celebrates a connectedness to our physical and spiritual environments. I believe paintings should be alive. Filled with energy and excitement. They should bring a sense of joy and allow you to reflect upon them. I paint to share with you my understandings of the world. I paint to develop a connection to the world. I paint to emulate the calmness of nature. I paint to create a world where you can choose to let your imagination fill in the gaps. I paint to experience life. The world is breathtaking and I just have to capture it. The possibilities are endless!