Jamie Oosterhuis

Artist’s Statement

winterreise (2023) marks jamie’s first solo show since graduation from the Visual Arts Honours program at the University of Victoria in 2021. Using sculptural woven works, large- and small-scale photographs, and object and sound installations, jamie works to create a space that ties together our internal experiences and the external environment. winterreise presents reflections on grief; grief of isolation, grief of pain, grief of love, and grief in all ways it latches on to human experience. 

Often dreamlike, the photographic pieces throughout the show capture conditions that display the artist’s inner turmoil: jamie uses herself as the isolated subject in a decaying environment in one large image, while smaller instant-photographs capture moments of natural subject matter isolated and seemingly stuck in time. This offers viewers space to reflect upon an array of feelings: solitude, beauty, isolation, hunger, memories, cravings, lostness, languish, something burnt out and exhausted, something that can’t quite be found. 

Further attempting to embody grief within the viewer, a woven work cradles a heavy stone. With the cloth representing the body of the artist, this sculpture mimics how grief, at times, is carried within our beings. The loom and the spinning wheel are an extension of the physical body, while thoughts pondered, audio listened to, or conversations had during the creation of the objects are stored into the spun thread and woven cloth, becoming an extension of the mental or spiritual body. 

A comfortable space inviting introspection is set up with headphones and a cd player with decaying songs from Franz Schubert’s Winterreise. These songs are also intermittently played out loud within the room. This introspective space, littered with scrap paper of writings on grief, allows viewers to be voyeuristic into the artist’s life, and is made to facilitate a moment of quiet inward reflection for the viewer themselves. Winterreise, or, Winter’s Journey, is a reflection on “…grief over lost love [which] progressively gives way to a more general existential despair and resignation… Wintry images of cold, darkness, and barrenness consistently serve to mirror the feelings of the isolated wanderer.” To the artist, these sound-created images are connected to paintings such as: Hendrick Avercamp’s Winter Scene on a Canal, 1615; Pieter Bruegel The Elder’s The Hunters in the Snow, 1565 and The Tower of Babel, 1563; and Ludvig Munthe’s Winter Landscape at Sunset from the 1800’s. The colourways of these artworks are repetitive and directly mirrored in the pieces of winterreise. These connections of emotion and colour that float between outer world and inner world are the threads that weave together jamie’s work, bringing the viewer into a comfortable yet barren world of anguish and grief felt throughout human experience.

“With a heart filled with endless love for those who scorned me, I … wandered far away. For many and many a year I sang songs. Whenever I tried to sing of love, it turned to pain. And again, when I tried to sing of pain, it turned to love.” 

Franz Schubert, “My Dream,” manuscript, July 3, 1822

Editor’s Statement

This is the digital adaptation of a gallery exhibit of the same name, which lived at The Vault Gallery in Victoria, BC from February 10 – 12, 2023. This digital exhibit is based off of the arrangement of that physical studio space. For the full experience, press play on the soundscape below and listen as you scroll. You will find everything presented as though you are walking through the gallery space.

Three weavings in a bare room.
something else here before, 2023
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