Montclair Virtual Art Gallery: Janette MacKinlay

Montclarions are a creative bunch, and we like to display local talents like Janette MacKinlay.  She had been studying Japanese flower arranging for years, following the tenets of the Sogetsu School.  Somewhere along the way, she decided her sculptural works would look even better without flowers and fresh materials at all.

MacKinlay calls her work “organic assemblage,” because she uses dried materials that reflect nature and the universe.  When we saw some of her sculptures, they seemed nicely calming and needed to be shared with a wider audience.

So we asked MacKinlay to select pieces that communicated her experiences living here.  “I’ve picked out four pieces that reflect the mood of living in Montclair’s serene environment,” explained the artist.  “All of my work was created here in my Montclair studio and I believe being here has allowed me to capture the spiritual nature of much of my work.”

For The Love Of Pine

This first piece, above, is entitled For The Love Of Pine, because it’s not all pine (!) and yet represents what we  all see outside anyway.  It’s my favorite due the the simple and sparse elements, and fits that zen-thing well.

From My Garden

Next we have From My Garden, where you see something seasonal growing with the leaf.  I’m not exactly sure what the base element is supposed to reflect…maybe it’s the good earth?

Life In The Clouds; Oakland's New Day Dawning

Finally we have two works reflecting Montclair and Oakland, respectively.  The white vase sculpture is called Life In The Clouds, and that’s definitely true in our hills and dales.  Oakland’s New Day Dawning is the more colorful arrangement on the right.  I’m trying to decide if the sea-fan top reminds me of sunny days, filled with potential energy for the city.

Who is Janette MacKinlay? She’s a  Bay Area local through and through.  After graduating years ago from California College of the Arts, MacKinlay embraced the local art scene as an artist and gallery manager.  Then for a change of pace creatively, the Westerner packed up and headed to the Big Apple where she lived across the street from the World Trade Center on 9-11.  There but for the grace of god, she’s fine…and has returned home.