Tara Juneau – a fiercely individualistic painter

Let me introduce you to Tara Juneau – an exceptional artist, one very committed to her own ideals, her own journey and her own work.

Oil painting by Tara Juneau

Oil painting by Tara Juneau

I recently purchased this painting by Tara, who lives on Vancouver Island. The accomplished painter has won many awards at local art shows and was the youngest artist ever represented by Morris Gallery in Victoria. She studied with Dutch artist Johannes Landman, with the famous Anthony Ryder in Santa Fe, as well as Jeremy Lipking in California.

Tara has been described as fiercely individualistic – and “that is not always easy because the world of Art can be a very critical community and too often ruled by the superficiality of fashion”, says Christine Clark, creator and curator of the Balcony Gallery at XChanges in Victoria.

“Juneau is such a perfectionist that she burns what she describes as her ‘unsuccessful paintings’ in a remote location in Cowichan Bay,” says Christine Clark. “Artists are generally encouraged, and many of us are probably just naturally hardwired, to save (or at least document) every scrap of work, right down to the crumpled life drawing sketches from first-year art class.”

Burning art would be considered by most of us as a rather radical thing to do.

I remember an article in the Guardian about a Naples museum director burning art to protest at lack of funding last year. Himself an artist, he had set fire to one of his own works and then sent photocopies the chair of the European parliament’s culture and education commission, the culture minister in Rome and the regional governor in Naples, warning them of what he intended to do. But none had replied.

Tara Juneau burns her paintings for personal reasons. “Burning them is a very spiritual act for me. I am releasing them, detaching myself from all the time and energy put into them. I paint my feelings and experiences, so it is also like releasing those as well. I think people become too attached to their own ideas and preconceptions of what and how things are and it stops them from growing.”