Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue

Dawson teacher Kristi Ropeleski explores the symbols of happiness through her Blue Skies exposition

By Alexandra Giubelli

In a world where suffering and negative feelings dominate, and where happiness is the North American dream that everyone attempts to pursuit, faith and hope are the only experiences which are able to keep this dubious forecast alive in peoples minds.

Last Sunday, Montreal painter Kristi Ropeleski was present at the Articule gallery for people who wanted to hear what she had to say,  addressing them personally or in groups of up to 20 people, and to give tours.

Ropeleski, who is also a part-time Dawson College Fine Arts teacher, explore that idea in her new exhibition titled Blue Skies.

“I didn’t mean this exposition to be serious. I see a theme as a center point and then you make the painting revolve around it. Those paintings are individual ones that I brought together under that same theme,” Ropeleski said.

As she explained it, the illusions described on the surfaces of the paintings speak of contradictory spaces and circumstances. The imagery in the paintings describe the anthropomorphic objects turned into characters.

She would begin with blue skies, a painting of a dark-haired man, wearing a white shirt, holding a small rainbow in his hands on a black background, with a blue halo surrounding him. The thought of the rainbow immediately brought the LGBT flag to my mind, as the man appeared to be offering the rainbow to the viewers, showing that the diversity in love and happiness can be for everyone.

“I never thought about it when I painted that one. But I have nothing against gay and lesbian persons, so the interpretation is perfect with me,” Ropeleski said. “I see it as something reliable, human, but that can stand as a symbol of the supernatural. Are his hands giving or begging? I don’t know.”

The second painting was Hold still, a representation of herself, smiling and wearing a colourful floral shirt with bright red lipstick as she is surround by flowers and leaves.  One feather can be seen in the corner of the canvas. Appearing like a Hindus Goddess, seven arms can be seen, each placed in a different position, on a deep blue background.

“It’s called hold still, for when you are posing for someone who is painting you and you have to hold a pose for a long period of time. I love that idea of time in it and the fact that it pushes the limits of what is too much. I wanted to see what would happen when you pushed all that too much together,” said Ropeleski.

Another painting that was interesting was untitled, representing, again, herself on a diamond shaped canvas with only her face on a black background, looking as if the floating figure was coming out of the shadow. Three pointy horns were coming out of her face as the malicious, yet playful, bright green stare made it hard for the viewers to stare into it because of to the intensity.

“I think the reason why I love it so much is because I don’t know why I did it and what’s going on in it. It’s still a mystery,” Ropeleski said.
The exposition is running until Dec. 5 at the Articule, on 262 West Fairmont Avenue.

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