Artist’s Notebook – Jennifer Carvalho

Chris Erskine, Urban Landscape Artist
Chris Erskine, Urban Landscape Artist

Sometimes resumes can work.

It is the painting on the wall that gets my attention, only then do I explore the artist. However, for every rule there is an exception.

Back in November 2014, I attended the opening of “Painting Hamilton” at the Art Gallery of Hamilton. The main reason I attended the show was to see works of artist Christina Sealey.

I didn’t know the other artists in the show, but I was very impressed by several of them; including Charles Meanwell.

One artist that didn’t make that much of an impression was Jennifer Carvalho, she had two middle sized paintings of overgrown parking lots, if I recall correctly.

So much for Jennifer, who’s next!

A year later, I am scanning websites and I come across her work at the Toronto art gallery called “The Georgia Scherman Projects”.

Oh yes, I remember her from the Art Gallery of Hamilton show. So, I decided to glance at her Curriculm Vitae.
This is something I rarely do.

The first thing I notice is that Jennifer was a finalist in the RBC Painting competition for two years in a row (2013 and 2014). Furthermore, Jennifer won the Kingston Prize for portraiture painting in 2009.

How does someone go from portraiture to landscapes?

I don’t yet know the answer, but she has caught my interest.

Born in Hamilton, Jennifer first studied Art History from 1999 to 2003, but then decided to go back to school and get a second degree in Fine Arts (essentially the studio program).

Graduating in 2006, Jennifer flies out to BC and takes some courses at Emily Carr University which has a fairly impressive arts reputation. I assume she is strengthening her already strong painting skills.

With a strengthen skill set, Jennifer sets off to Guelph and gets her MFA (2011-2013).

It is at this point, Jennifer enter the RBC Canadian Painting Competition. Two years in a row she becomes a finalist and takes home the $5,000 award. Given the level of competition, this is an amazing achievement.

This recognition is followed by a short article in the August 2015 Border Crossing magazine. Jennifer also participates in three public gallery shows:

Orillia Museum of Art and History (2013)

The Art Gallery of Hamilton (2014)

The Art Gallery of Mississauga (2015)

No disrespect to her current gallery, but you wonder why she is not represented by one of the big Vancouver, Toronto, or Montreal art galleries.

Beyond a single group show at the Olga Korper Gallery in Toronto back in 2013, she still seems to be on the fringe.

I am not an art critic, but given this level of recognition, you wonder what is holding her back. Maybe her work is too low key and demands a second or third look? Whatever the case, I am going to look out for next show and make every effort to attend.

It is unfortunate that Jennifer doesn’t have more of a social media presence, so that one could develop deeper understanding of her art.

In my opinion, Jennifer Carvalho is a landscape artist you should watch out for.

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