by: Deanna Musgrave
“For visual artist Deanna Musgrave, art and healing are interwoven. This is why transformation is the crux of her work and the reason she found home in Saint John, [New Brunswick], a historic working-class city on the Bay of Fundy. This place possesses energy she describes as having “an ancient quality that brings together polarity.” It is polarities that inhabit Deanna’s vision. Her work is an interaction that seeks unity, exuding energy in the process, much like the current transformative renaissance happening here in the old port city.” (1)
“[Her] work has been a fixture in the Saint John and New Brunswick art community for over a decade. Her paintings are immediately recognizable; ethereal and vibrant, they encapsulate traits that many artists struggle to balance. They are objectively beautiful yet wrought with complex symbolism and capture a narrative while remaining vehemently abstract.” (2)
"Often working on the studio floor, using liquid paints to surround, unify and pool around areas of information, Musgrave succeeds in defying a traditional concept of perspective. Her compositions unfold almost three-dimensionally, enveloping the viewer with information from above, straight on and below." (3)
“Water is the starting point for each of Musgrave’s works. With a blank canvas placed on the floor of her studio, she selects objects of significance: of sentimental, aesthetic, or symbolic meaning, to place on top of the canvas. She sprinkles, sprays, or pours water over the object to capture an impression of the form in pigment. The impression made by the water is like a memory of the object on the canvas.
Using water in the process is as important to Deanna as her subject matter. Her world view is closely tied to the power of water and its relationship to experience and memory. Deanna’s work considers and articulates the theories of homeopathy: the ability of water to remember substances once mixed in it; cymatics: the patterns formed when a substance like water or sand is vibrated; and akashic field theory: the theory that information can exist and be transmitted through energy fields.
The result is a highly dynamic and fluid expression of memory, story, and a deep connection to water. Outside of her art, Deanna studies and practices dowsing: practiced since the 15th century to locate underground water systems. More recently dowsing has been adapted to locate areas of stress or trauma on the human body as a means of healing.”
All aspects of Deanna’s connection to water speak to a single idea: that information, knowledge, and experience can exist and be transmitted in many different ways. She believes that revolution can be ignited from person to person and that can happen in many different forms.” (4)
1. ~Shannon Webb-Campbell, “Arts Higher State: The Vision and Practice of Deanna Musgrave, Created Here Magazine: Psyche, Volume 11, 2020.
2. ~Christiana Myers, “Peer Review: The Best Art of 2018,” The East, December 2018
3. ~Stephanie Buhmann, "New Brunswick Studio Conversations," Billie Magazine V.2, Spring 2017
4. ~Donna Wawzonek, "Deanna Musgrave: Stirring Large Conversations with Grande Impressions," National Water Centre Blog