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Smudged, Fragmented Paintings by Jillian McGillivray

A loosely abstracted painting based off a photographThe Only Three, oil on canvas

Jillian McGillivray makes smudged, fragmented paintings of everyday scenes. The artist’s particular treatment of her subject matter suggests half-forgotten dreams or partial memories.

A painting with warm colours and loose figuresHailley, oil on canvas

I enjoy the bright assortment of colours that appear in each of Jillian’s paintings. While at first glance they seem bright and varied as to be almost gaudy, given a closer look I find that the colours function as an added bit of distortion, like seeing each scene through a window that’s covered in raindrops. In oil, each painting is an exquisite combination of hard lines separating blocks of distinct colour, and soft, blending waves of different hues.


A screen capture of Jillian McGillivray's website

The front page of Jillian's portfolio website


As Jillian says in her artist statement, painting can be a way of slowing down the viewing process, forcing the viewer to take time to contemplate an image. In these works, after looking for a while, the line between figurative work and abstraction seems to blur, giving me the unique experience of looking at an apparently abstract work, but knowing exactly what its subject is. 


A painting of two snowmobiles in a loose, blended style1999, oil on canvas

About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. She is a recent graduate of Emily Carr University of Art and Design, where she studied Critical and Cultural Practices. She is passionate about talking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In her studio practice she is a painter, but she considers herself an art writer and educator foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises

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