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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. They hold a degree in Critical and Cultural Practices from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, as well as a certificate in Technical Writing from BCIT. Dallas has a passion for speaking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In their studio practice they are an illustrator and budding tattoo artist, but they consider themselves a writer foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises or their art on Instagram.

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