An EXPERIENCE BY VIRGINIA MACDONALD & HEATHER HAYNES
An art collaboration inspired by the spirit of Frida Kahlo...
THURSDAY - SUNDAY
11am - 4pm
OTHER TIMES BY APPOINTMENT
145 Charles St. North
Free + all welcome
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
HEATHER HAYNES & VIRGINIA MACDONALD
Virginia Macdonald's Frida journey began in earnest in 2013, after receiving a book about Kahlo's life, art and resilience. Inspired, she conceived a photographic series of women styled in the likeness of Frida to capture their "Inner Frida" and pay homage to Kahlo's powerful legacy. The photos in this series were captured in various countries from Mexico, Chile, China and Canada.
In the autumn of 2022, Macdonald entered into a collaboration project with Heather Haynes, who set out to create a series of paintings featuring Macdonald's photographs. “Finding Frida” showcases both Macdonald’s arresting photography and Haynes’ ethereal paintings.
From the artists
Artist Statement: Heather Haynes
Frida Kahlo has always been there… in her beauty in the millions of reproductions around the world. A phenomenon in this sense… no other female artist is known by her image instantly, like my new friend Frida.
My journey began in late July, 2022 when some collector/friends brought their “photographer” friend, Virginia Macdonald, to see my new gallery space in Gananoque.
Virginia and I became fast friends. She visited me a few weeks later and she shared her incredible body of work inspired by Frida Kahlo. I mentioned that I would love to collaborate and she instantly said yes. It was more a knowing then anything else… I actually can’t remember exactly how it happened, but it was clear that it was right and we would move forward. Virginia shared her images with me…and I began cleaning my studio to set the stage for inviting Virginia and Frida into my space.
When you invite Frida into your energy field and creative space… she doesn’t come knocking… she literally bowled me over. I in turn, gave my soul over to her. I spent many months in relationship with Frida and Virginia, but in January, 2023 I asked Virginia if she would release any expectation she may have on the outcome of the paintings (this was for me, not for Virginia - she had clearly let this happen already!) Once I felt I could let loose, I gave myself over to Frida. I literally invited her into collaboration. Days would pass and I would be in my studio until late at night…. I couldn’t pull away, and why would I? I finally cracked the code of creating time and space to allow spirit to fully transform into my work. I was the vessel. No one else was there, not even my critical mind. I was in a flow state for 6 straight weeks. Eventually, I had to pull myself away. Another show/commitment needed to be hung/ hosted and infused with my focus and energy. Those 6 weeks brought forth in me something I hadn’t allowed to fully take place before… I had met this spirit before and called upon it many times, but with boundaries and timelines (I am a mother, wife, daughter, friend and founder of a non-profit). I know how to find it now; all I need to do is set my intention, create space around it, and boom!
So Frida...I can’t say I know her, but I felt her inside me. I often wonder, who was Frida channelling? It’s clear to me that we all have access to energy friends, gods, spirit, quantum fields, vortexes… many realms I am not familiar with or need to understand… because, to understand it would be to not know it at all. Trying to figure it out would be the stalling space… when I am creating, I don’t need to know, I need only surrender and allow…
Let us all find our inner Frida!
Artist Statement: Virginia Macdonald
Power of the Heart
I did not want to shoot this. I did not want to do a project on Frida Kahlo.
Her iconography as a woman, almost sainted, was everywhere. From coffee mugs, pillow cases to halloween costumes I felt like her personhood was too commodified to be of serious interest.
I didn’t have a choice. I was, I am, compelled.
She does not disappoint.
This show is about the strength of the human heart.
What I’ve discovered is that her work, her art on canvas or tin or whatever medium she could use was so much more than just a painting. Her work is in story telling, her thoughts, opinions, her life that was as honest as to be uncomfortable.
She channelled the very deepest thoughts and desires of her soul and laid them bare.
As I was photographing these people, I’ve discovered that they all felt the same thing.
The peculiar challenges it is to be a woman in this day.
The love, the heartbreak, the folly of being of this world but also not agreeing with its’ violence, war, greed and hatred.
The ability to create new life and the heartbreak that comes with bearing or not bearing children.
By dressing up, by pretending, they found their own authenticity in Frida’s bravery to be simply and authentically themselves. You can see it in their eyes.
At best, you will feel this. At worst, they are pretty photographs.
Global News Morning Chats
We chatted with our friend Bill Welychka at Global News about the show, our inspiration and all things Frida!