British Columbia

Exhibit at new B.C. art space showcases artist's portrayal of mental health

Behind a nondescript door in downtown Kamloops, the foyer of an office building has been transformed into a new open space art gallery. An exhibit currently being showcased by a local artist takes a deep dive into mental health and what it looks like on the inside.

'These paintings are showing the inner distress of a person who's suffering,' says artist

'If you've ever had your computer glitch out, there's multiple images on the screen. So I thought, because mental health is considered a glitch, I use the eyes to represent that,' said artist Darcy Turnquist. (Shelley Joyce/CBC)

Behind a nondescript door, sandwiched between a massage clinic and St. John's Ambulance in downtown Kamloops, the foyer of an office building has been transformed into a new open space art gallery.

Artist Darci Turnquist's work is being featured at Gallery 635, and she is using the opportunity to showcase pieces that take a deep dive into mental health.

"I think of my pieces as this is what mental health looks like, like I have pieces that are distorted, I have pieces that are hidden and meshed in with the background.

"I just want people to think that this is what someone's feeling on the inside," said Turnquist, 24, who completed the fine arts program at Thompson Rivers University in 2018. 

"There is a stigma toward mental health that you can't show it, you can't you can't talk about it, but these paintings are showing the inner distress of a person who's suffering."

Turnquist describes her portraits as having a renaissance-era style, but with the added twist of expressionistic brush strokes and many eyeballs. (Jenifer Norwell/CBC)

The artist describes most of her work as being "not photo realistic portraits" done in a renaissance-era style with a twist. She uses lots of expressionistic brush strokes and there are lots of eyeballs, she told Daybreak Kamloops host Shelley Joyce.

"When I thought about making my pieces I thought about glitches like in computers," said Turnquist.

Turnquist's art is featured in the foyer of a downtown building in Kamloops, which has been transformed into a new open art space. (Jenifer Norwell/CBC)

"If you've ever had your computer glitch out there's multiple images on the screen. So I thought, because mental health is considered a glitch, I use the eyes to represent that."

'Darker side'

Throughout her career, Turnquist has focused on the "darker side of life," she said.

As she developed her style as a student at the university in the southern Interior city, she began to focus on mental health.

"I've known people who have suffered from mental health and some of my own experiences," said Turnquist.

Turnquist hopes people who struggle with mental health can relate to her paintings. (Jenifer Norwell/CBC)

While many of her paintings are based on herself, she tries to make her work androgynous so that others can relate to what the person in the painting is feeling.

"I'd love for my art to reach other people who are dealing with... mental health and don't know how to show it," said Turnquist.

"They can look at my paintings like, 'Oh that's really what's going on.'"

24-year-old Darcy Turnquist is the first artist to have her work featured at Gallery 635, and she is using the opportunity to showcase pieces that take a deep dive into mental health. 3:23

With files from Shelley Joyce, Jenifer Norwell and Daybreak Kamloops

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