The city inspires the omnipresent grey in Jasmine Wallace’s paintings. This colour recalled in Charles Baudelaire’s poems describes sinuous streets, low heavy skies, and the sad charm of clouds swollen with water. This threatening grey, from a time past that is gloomy and cold, is entirely different from the shade used in Jasmine Wallace’s paintings. In her work this colour is dynamic, enveloping and inspiring; it is the colour of the city. Taking the tone of concrete, it allows the towers to rise above the roofs and recalls the intensity of entangled road networks. It reminds us of a city of pipes that cuts through houses and the city of electric wires that bring light. Slowly other colours emerge in the painting; they could represent a patch of blue sky, a poster washed out by the rain or the rainbow colour of a diluted drop of gas on asphalt. On the canvas, grey is mixed with white, black, green and blue, creating a palette of new colours which contrast each other in a geometric mesh. The lines cross and face at each other, they overlap, converge and repel each other. This urban maze could be a map or even the view of a mortar detail under a microscope. Colors play with lines, and we see in them, the footprints of a builder’s boot on scaffolding. The mud mixed with cement leaves the shadow of its passage.
Jasmine Wallace, a Canadian artist, finds her inspiration in the city, in its colours and its lines. The underground spaces dug by the people to shelter from the cold (metro, underground galleries) and the way they have been adapting their infrastructure fascinates her. This impulse of life we get from concrete, and the constructions and deconstructions appearing and disappearing inspire the motivations of the artist. The relatively new urban history of Canada influences her fascination. Unlike the vast heritage of the Western metropolis, the speed of modulation of Canadian cities allows one to witness enormous changes. Through the echoing of jackhammers and cranes stretching across the sky, buildings come out of the ground. But sometimes these manifestations end before they are aware realized, building plans are interrupted and then abandoned. In these empty spaces, one can read the contemporary writing of ruins. These places testify a time that is bygone or has never existed, and yet, a new life appears in these other spaces. Squatters and graffiti fill the rooms – like an ecosystem that doesn’t accept emptiness, entity life invests itself into every part of the city.
This idea of adaptability, of a cycle, is found on Wallace’s canvas. Each sign of life, each step, participate in the construction. The evolution of a city is part of a loop that wraps to infinity. To point out these actions, Wallace leaves all signs of work visible on the canvas. As one builds a city with embossed patterns and shadowed passageways, with both simple and intricate meshes, similarly the artist weaves her work. The process is established by the accumulation of the repetitive stratification of forms and structures. What underlies these paintings is that we can build with anything. The freedom of construction is limitless, it allows one to consider enormous possibilities, and that is what has informed Jasmine Wallace’s particular method of abstraction.