June Selznick Drutz

The idea of home invokes conflicting feelings: we’re drawn to comfort, but wary of being confined. When I started to paint interiors, I wanted to suggest those paradoxes by playing with the elements of an architectural space–sometimes confusing the boundaries between the outside and the inside. For instance, I would substitute an accordion fold for a wall and thereby create an array of interior shadows. I’d often put doors, windows and mirrors in unreasonable places–wherever I wanted patches of light.

In the past, artists have painted interiors to celebrate the order of middle class life. In Dutch interiors of the 17th century (for example, the works of Vermeer) everything is still. Without consciously deciding to, I woke up the flowers, fruits and other elements of the conventional still life. My interiors sometimes look as if a gust of wind has blown in. They show the comforts of home, but contain, too, a suggestion of whimsical disorder. Indeed the surfeit of patterns on the walls, sofas, cushions, rugs and dressers is anything but static.

“Because I respond to what I’m seeing and feeling in the moment, it’s hard for me to explain how I got a certain effect. I couldn’t paint a painting over even if I tried,” says June Selznick Drutz. Born in Toronto, Ontario, where she still makes her home, Drutz is a graduate of Ontario College of Art where the program demanded that apprentice artists take everything–drawing, printmaking, design, painting in watercolor and oil. “If you failed one course, you failed the program–a drastic policy, but the training was a good introduction to every aspect of making art,” says Drutz. A signature member of The Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour, she recently won the top award at the 1998 show (see article, “The Best and the Brightest” in our Winter 1999 issue).

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