Winter 2012/13


The painting Change: Break the Cycle by Jane Isakson

Change: Break the Chain is part of Jane Isakson's migration series.

A former Olympic biathlete turns to her paintbrush to find new connections with the outer world

The Canadian North provides dramatic displays of movement that coincide with extreme shifts of season, says Whitehorse-based artist Jane Isakson, ’89 BA, ’98 BFA. Within these seasonal rhythms, there is evidence of evolution and interconnections, says Isakson.

Change: Break the Chain is a winter aerial view of caribou and the patterns their tracks make in the snow. In the lower panel those tracks seemingly form a series of chain links. For Isakson, the break in the chain is that moment in time when something changes — when there is a potential point of evolution or some shift that moves toward that process. In this painting, the two caribou separated from the herd and who cast red shadows are Isakson’s imagined point of a break in the chain.

“Of particular interest to me are the migrations of many species such as caribou, salmon and swans. I am interested in these seasonal rhythms, ideas of movement, adaptation and evolution, of smaller cycles within larger ones and the interconnections between all things,” says Isakson. “The natural world offers up knowledge and wisdom in so many ways; the possibility of gaining insight from different perspectives seems endless.”

Isakson has long had an interest in both creative and outdoor pursuits. During her 20s she focused on sports, competing twice in the Olympic biathlon. Then, in her 30s, she focused with equal vigour on her creative side. After completing her fine arts degree at the University of Alberta, she moved to the Yukon and has been painting ever since. Over time, a balance has evolved. Now, the outdoor activity she enjoys takes her into the environment she paints. See more at

Story by Wanda Vivequin