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Personal Nostalgia: A Portfolio by Jill McGillivray

A painting of figures climbing up a rock faceTree Lantern, oil on canvas

Jill McGillivray is an artist based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. In her practice, Jill creates paintings that explore moments of personal nostalgia, expressing these moments in a style that walks upon the tension between abstraction and figurative renderings.

A painting of several figures walking through an area of natureChristina, oil and acrylic on canvas


I’m quite enjoying Jill’s recent paintings of outdoor scenes and multiple figures. The artist’s painting style does an excellent job of capturing the slight uncertainty of form, and off-kilter color palette of an old or double-exposed photograph. It’s interesting to see the way the artist varies the level of abstraction from painting to painting – in some cases, the representational figures are almost indiscernible, while in others, figures come to the forefront, with abstraction serving simply to blur the edges or erase details like faces.

A screen capture of Jill McGillivray's art


Technically, the paintings are beautifully gestural but seem built on a foundation of representational skill – Jill understands the rules of painting, and seems to draw a great deal of enjoyment, and fascination, from bending and breaking them.

A painting of a house on a hillAunt Jo, 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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