Thursday, November 1, 2018

Broken / Beautiful -New Works by Michelle SaintOnge

In her latest body of work, "Broken / Beautiful" artist Michelle SaintOnge celebrates breast cancer survivors using a powerful and visually beautiful metaphor: seashells. At a quick glance, the works appear to be just that- a stunning collection of seashell paintings. Beyond the surface, however, they are much, much more than that.

Michelle SaintOnge, "Mothers and Sisters", 9" x 12",  Watercolor on Paper




Upon close inspection, the shells Michelle depicts are not perfect; some are cracked, some are broken or perforated. Nonetheless, each shell is profoundly and uniquely beautiful, and tells a story. Through these works, Michelle hopes to "highlight the beauty of change that comes from a long hard journey." She draws inspiration from the strength of survivors of breast cancer whose bodies bear traces of a battle fought, and are forever changed by treatment. 

Michelle SaintOnge , "Thirteen Rounds of Radiation", 24" x 36", Watercolor on Paper, Mounted



With titles like "Thirteen Rounds of Radiation", "Early Diagnosis", and "Tough and Ambitious", the shells are instantly laden with new meaning. One of the larger pieces, "Lost the Battle, Won the War" features a single shell, instead of a pair. The shell is covered in tiny holes all over, each crevice so vivid it feel as if you could reach your hand out to touch a perforated surface. In addition to the strikingly realistic quality of the painting, this piece is both painful and triumphant, and one that is cause for much reflection.




Michelle SaintOnge, "Lost the Battle, Won the War", 22" x  28" Watercolor on Paper, Mounted


Michelle's work is certainly not meant to be sad, but rather a celebration of the strength and beauty of those affected by breast cancer, and changes that occur to the body as a long term effect. Everyone knows someone who has been affected by breast cancer, and most people would probably agree it's no battle to fight alone. We need to cheer each other on -before, during, and after. We need to talk more about the importance of regular examinations, and we need to practice more empathy in helping those dealing with long term effects. Each one of Michelle's paintings is a reminder of this.



Michelle SaintOnge , "May, June and July", 15" x 30", Watercolor and Gouache on Paper, Mounted
Michelle SaintOnge, "It Takes a Village", 9" x 12", Watercolor on Paper, Mounted.


Broken / Beautiful will be on display until November 10th. Swing by the gallery to see the pieces in person, as there are some subtle details like the sparkly sheen of iridescent paint that Michelle has used on some pieces that cannot be properly captured with a camera! A portion of sales from the pieces in this show will be donated to the Look Good Feel Better Foundation. 

You can view the entire show online HERE.




Michelle SaintOnge , "Ladies Take a Stand", 16" x 20", Watercolor on Paper, Mounted








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