With roots in the salty Maritimes, and feet planted firmly in Ottawa’s contemporary art scene, multi-media artist Jeannie Polisuk, uses her work to explore memory and the formation of identity.
Inspired by the work of Dorothea Tanning, George Condo and Peter Doig, among others, Polisuk’s art invites its audience into personal and observed mental landscapes. While her work reflects journeys she took as a young woman, Polisuk’s art is not exclusively self-referential. Instead, she keenly studies those around her, voicing narratives that speak to a collective past, while navigating contemporary psychological terrain.
Though raised in Ottawa, the resonance of Polisuk’s Maritimes heritage carries through into her paintings. The feeling of being surrounded by water is evident in her palette, which tends toward undulating blues and briny greens. She hails from a lineage of artists and musicians and her bittersweet relationship with east coast folk music can be felt in the stories of her characters.
Polisuk attended the Ottawa School of Art before returning to the University of Ottawa to complete a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, where she immersed herself in studio training and psychoanalytic theory. Though she had been painting since childhood, her return to university marked a search for the language and theory needed to support her artistic investigations.
Polisuk has been exhibited in both solo and group exhibitions. Her work is held in private and corporate collections across Canada and in the United States. Currently, Jeannie creates in her studio at Ottawa’s Rectory Art House, a part of St. Brigid’s Centre for the Arts.