Jordan Bulgis combines his interest in both drawing and painting in order to create something tangible from his abstract ideas and thoughts.
Bulgis is a fine arts student at the University of Saskatchewan who will be unveiling his graduating exhibition at the Gordon Snelgrove Gallery on March 30. His show Complex Elements deals with the experiences that shape a person’s identity.
“I also deal with the interaction between how we affect our environment and how our environment affects us,” Bulgis said. “The show is all portraiture. It’s a figure that is painted into an abstract, ambiguous environment and the reason I did that is to kind of suggest to the idea that you are part of your environment and experiences [and] you affect those same environments in return.”
Bulgis’ show consists of eight pieces of art, both paintings and drawings, which add a level of depth to his show that truly sets him apart.
“All of these pieces are of people that I am friends with or have some sort of a relationship with. We meet up and do a photo shoot, but I don’t direct them in it at all. They just come and I set up chairs so they can stand or sit or do whatever they want. We just sit and talk about whatever they want to talk about, to sort of create an environment,” said Bulgis. “Your environment has shaped who you are and how you represent yourself so it was important not to direct them, to let it be as natural as possible.”
Bulgis is consistent in keeping his paintings large as a means to draw the audience in and create an environment where they can interact with the pieces.
“I think it was important in this show to make the pieces large so when you set it up and you have a large figure, it creates a sense of power in the piece and forces the viewer to work with it,” said Bulgis.
The people featured in Bulgis’ paintings face outward towards the viewer in order to make the viewer feel as though they are interacting personally with the piece.
The process Bulgis takes in creating all of these pieces has taken many months, with each individual piece created over a few weeks. In creating the art for the show, his methods change as he tries new ways to bring life to his vision.
“The paintings and drawings kind of influence each other, so the paintings have gone into the same direction where I work on the figure and the abstract at the same time,” he said. “It’s a lot of adding things and removing things and erasing certain areas. Hopefully it will kind of create that connection between that ambiguous environment and the figure represented in it.”
While his inspiration for the pieces is easier for him to interpret, Bulgis is very open to how others want to perceive his show.
“When looking more into this idea, you get into how your brain works because you are taking in all this sensory information from your world and interpreting it in your own way,” he said. “A lot of what you see visually is your brain just filling in things from memory. There is a strong tie between what you take in and what you create in your own mind.”
Bulgis provokes the viewer’s mind with his abstract ideas and causes them to pause and think about what they are seeing.
“If you are dealing with the individual, then who are you as an individual? Are you a brain? Some people believe in a soul. There is more and more to think about, and that is what I really want people to confront when they come see my show,” said Bulgis.
Bulgis’ exhibition Complex Elements runs March 30 to April 2 at the Gordon Snelgrove Gallery.
Photo: Katherine Fedoroff