A Megan Dietrich painting is hydropowered.
Vancouver, where Dietrich hangs up her hat (or should we say, raincoat?), is famously rainy. Consequently, complaining about the rain has become somewhat of a community sport among Vancouver dwellers. As umbrellas flare, so do grievances.
But Dietrich is different. As she puts it, “I happen to adore the rain.”
Our piece of the week, Umbrelluhs (48”x36”), is a luminous and textural abstract painting that evokes the oft-unseen beauty of Vancouver’s rain.
Storms electrify Dietrich’s creative energy. As fat raindrops fall from Vancouver’s chronically moody clouds, Dietrich works in her studio, industriously milling her beautiful textures and electric colors.
She even borrows the vocabulary of watermills and hydropower, saying that, on those rainy days she finds herself “churning out some of [her] richest textures and colours.”
This “churning” evokes images of a giant creative wheel that channels a wild and hurrying flow into a beautiful and productive artistic energy.
The work is made from acrylic, fabric, paper, charcoal, and wood stain – as if these materials had accumulated overhead, heavily waiting for Dietrich’s mixed media cloudburst.
But there is nothing run-of-the-mill about Umbrelluhs.
“The piece is joyful, but quiet and reflective, and the title refers to the duality of that,” she says.
Like many an abstract painting, Umbrelluhs is bursting with interpretive potential: perhaps you see a flock of umbrellas or a storm’s-eye view or a formal meditation on color.
The painting combines textural sweeps of white brushstrokes with a slickened of bright and popping colors.
“The colours themselves are in contrast to the sedated, matte texture surrounding them - they’re glossy and alive.”