Exhibitions

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Spring Cleaning

Once again, I’m sitting here looking outside my window at a street full of magnolia blooms and a sunny blue sky. It’s already spring. The sun is out, and Vancouverites are already in their shorts and sandals. This quick turn of seasons was a good reminder to myself that I need to update my blog with all the goings on from the past few months. And it’s been a good busy time with different projects and a move!

Frank Stella at the Whitney

Late last fall, I made a quick trip to New York and was lucky enough to visit the new Whitney Museum and catch Frank Stella’s retrospective. I’ve only seen some of his paintings in group shows, but this was a retrospective of his work and I was awestruck by the scale of some of his sculptural works.

Frank Stella’s large sculptural works

Here was an artist that I never really gave too much thought to in relation to my own work, but at this show, it suddenly hit me that our paintings share visual and conceptual similarities. And while I liked seeing his paintings, it was the 3D works that really caught my imagination. It was just the creative boost I needed, and I rushed back into the studio to work out new ideas. Which was perfect timing, as I moved into a new studio in December. I am now in the Mount Pleasant area of East Vancouver working amongst a talented group of women artists including Sunshine Frere, Rebecca Chaperon, Biliana Velkova and Mira Song.

Bright & shiny new studio
Bright & shiny new studio

Meanwhile, over in Calgary, Mary Porter and my collaborative project, A Conversation, was getting its second showing of the year. Shown in a new format on two opposing monitors, A Conversation was displayed in TRUCK Gallery’s +15 Windows in December and January.

A Conversation, with Mary Porter, at TRUCK Gallery +15 Windows
A Conversation, with Mary Porter, at TRUCK Gallery +15 Windows
truck-setup1
Monitors in conversation

My limited edition screen print, The Drought, that was created for The New Gallery in Calgary also sold during their fundraiser. I have a limited number of prints available for sale, so if you are interested please contact me.

The Drought, Silkscreen on paper, 11×14 inches, Limited edition of 30, 2015
The Drought, Silkscreen on paper, 11×14 inches, Limited edition of 30, 2015

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I’ve been busy in the studio, quietly working away on new paintings. I thought it would be fun to show some work-in-progress shots alongside the final works. I often post photos of the painting process on Instagram but some of the rougher early stuff I like to keep to myself as a record of what I’ve done. I’ve mostly been in the studio working on new ideas, trying not to repeat myself in my painting and seeing where I can go with my art.

Little test studies in colour and textures
Little test studies in colour and textures
Close up of flowers in progress
Close up of flowers in progress in Beyond the Realm of Failure

Beyond the Realm of Failure was originally intended for a large scale mural in downtown Vancouver at the L’Occitane flagship store, but it didn’t work out and they ended up going a different route. I wrote about this on my blog a couple of years ago – you can read about it here.

My initial sketch for the mural project
My initial sketch for the mural project
Beyond the Realm of Failure, Oil & linen on wood panel, 48 x 36 inches, 2015
Beyond the Realm of Failure, Oil & linen on wood panel, 48 x 36 inches, 2015

I really liked my original sketch and idea and didn’t want to see it forgotten on my computer somewhere, so I reworked the image to incorporate more of my own ideas, textures and patterns. I also wanted to experiment with actual collage of shapes cut from linen. My paintings are often mistaken for collage, but it’s all hand painted.

Rhapsody, in the early stages
Rhapsody, in the early stages

Along with using different textures and materials, I’ve also been playing with looser inky areas of paint. I worked and re-worked this painting, on and off for about a year, and I finally reached the point where I believe it’s finished. I still feel a bit iffy about it sometimes. When I look at it for too long I feel like I can pick out problems with it. But then when I’ve put it away for a while and take it back out to look at it with refreshed eyes, I can also appreciate those same “problem” areas.

rhapsody
Rhapsody, Oil & ink on wood panel, 24 x 36 inches, 2016

February was also the start of the Chinese New Year. 2016 is the Year of the Monkey, which also happens to be my zodiac sign. I’ve been working on ideas around horoscopes and zodiacs for a while now, but no big project has come of this yet. This idea came to me suddenly one day and I had to draw it out. I feverishly finished it in two days, just before my self-imposed deadline of Chinese New Year.

From princess to monkey...
From princess to monkey…
Salome (Year of the Monkey), Coloured pencil on paper, 14 x 17 inches, 2016
Salome (Year of the Monkey), Coloured pencil on paper, 14 x 17 inches, 2016

And lastly, I just finished a new painting that I feel brings together many of my past ideas and is also evolving in a new direction. I’ll have to let it sit on the wall and breathe a little before I look at it again and think about where to go next.

The underpainting and early stages
The underpainting and early stages
Painting the gnarled hands was a challenge

I’ll be taking part in ROVE, an art walk through Mount Pleasant, and my studio will be open to the public the evening of May 27th. I’ll post more details in the upcoming weeks. I haven’t had an open studio for a few years, since I took part in the Eastside Culture Crawl. This will be a good opportunity to come see my work space and my new drawings and paintings, and I will also have prints for sale. I’ll post when I have more information on that soon. In the meantime, if you’d like to receive news and updates from me in your inbox, you can sign up for my mailing list.

The Nested Babushka, Oil on wood panel, 16 x 20 inches, 2016
The Nested Babushka, Oil on wood panel, 16 x 20 inches, 2016

Summer Review

The famous pink Ojai sunset
The famous pink Ojai sunset

It’s been a quiet few months on my blog, but things have been busy this summer. Between exhibitions in Vancouver and Edmonton, there have been travels as well as dressmaking and a wedding! I’ve just recently started a new painting in the studio, and with the sudden change in weather here in Vancouver, I’m reminded of that back to school feeling. So I guess you can kind of think of this blog post as my first day back to school, and here’s what I did this summer.

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Now & Then – Pendulum Gallery, Vancouver

The new Pendulum Gallery set up
The new Pendulum Gallery set up

The group exhibition, Now & Then, at Pendulum Gallery was well received, with their new gallery walls and light system in place. It’s a great place to show work as I think it receives more foot traffic than many galleries I’ve shown at, and the more eyes, the better.

My wall of drawings and paintings
My wall of drawings and paintings
Pendulum4
A different view
My Rejected Memories drawings shown in a new more sculptural configuration
My Rejected Memories drawings shown in a new more sculptural configuration

You can read more about the exhibition and gallery space in Vancouver is Awesome here.

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A Conversation: With Mary Porter – Latitude 53, Edmonton

A Conversation at Latitude 53
A Conversation at Latitude 53 (Photo courtesy of Latitude 53)

For the last year and a half, Mary Porter and I have been collaborating on a project. We’ve known each other for almost 15 years now, meeting when we were both on exchange in Paris. Over those 15 years we have perhaps only lived in the same city for 12 months total. But we’ve managed to keep in touch and stay good friends, as well as collaborate on smaller projects on and off over the years. This culminated in our project, A Conversation, which we showed this summer at Latitude 53’s ProjEx Room.

A Conversation - with Mary Porter
A Conversation – with Mary Porter (Photo courtesy of Latitude 53)

Working from images found through Google Image Search, Mary and I made digital collages based on our text conversation using the first 20 images for each search. The results were convoluted but patterns emerged through common images and text. We showed the images as a video projection on opposite walls in the space, where viewers sat in the middle as we “spoke” to each other from either side of the room.

Twinned projections in the ProjEx Room
Twinned projections in the ProjEx Room (Photo courtesy of Latitude 53)
A still from A Conversation
A still from A Conversation (Photo courtesy of Latitude 53)

A Conversation will be showing in December at Truck Gallery’s Window Space in Calgary, Alberta.

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A Wedding & A Honeymoon

Last but not least, my fiancé and I got married this summer. Early on in the planning stages, I saw a dress I loved but it was from a few years back and impossible to get a hold of, not to mention way out of my budget. Against my better judgment (or despite it!), I decided I was going to make my own wedding gown, even though the last time I sewed a dress was when I was 14 and in Home Ec class. I figured…how hard can it be? It was just another art project to tackle! The thing is, I wanted a simple shaped dress, which I had a hard time finding in shops, but I also wanted flowers on it. So I got down to painting with watercolours, practicing roses in a painting medium that I wasn’t used to. After many botched attempts, I finally worked it out and scanned the image and had it printed onto satin.

The watercolour roses printed onto satin
The watercolour roses printed onto satin

From there, I made a mock up dress in a cheap fabric using my own pattern that I created by looking at photos online of the original dress I liked and, no joke, Gwyneth Paltrow’s pink dress that she won her Oscar in. I think all my problem solving skills for creating art, from the planning stages to the end results, helped me a lot in trying to figure out my dress.

The skirt section half sewn
The skirt section half sewn
Awkward selfies
Awkward selfies

Working on my kitchen table at home while trying to keep the dress a secret was hard, and it also meant doing fittings and trying to see what the dress looked like on and from behind meant many awkward selfies in the mirror. In the end, after a couple of fitting hiccups, I finished the dress and even made it convertible into a shorter party dress for the reception.

Photos by Brianne Adams Photography
Photos by Brianne Adams Photography
Photo by Brianne Adams Photography
Photo by Brianne Adams Photography

The wedding couldn’t have been more perfect. And after a happily stress-free wedding, my husband and I left for a quick honeymoon in California. We spent a few days in Ojai, and all the cacti we saw inspired my new work, which has been commissioned by The New Gallery in Calgary for their fundraiser later this fall. The drawing will be made into a silkscreen print. I will post more details in upcoming months.

In the meantime, a little sneak peek:

Work in progress
Work in progress
Work in progress
Work in progress

For My Grandmother

Pinky, Coloured pencil on paper, 11 x 14 in, 2013
Pinky, Coloured pencil on paper, 11 x 14 in, 2013

I’ve been waiting to show these drawings for about a year now. I first began this series of piggy drawings in late 2013 and continued into last year. I was originally going to exhibit them last year at Pendulum Gallery, but due to construction, the exhibition dates kept getting pushed back. I’m very happy to say that the show Now & Then will be opening next week.

These little piggy drawings are very special to me, as they’ve helped me deal with my grandmother’s dementia. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in late 2011, and it has been very difficult watching her illness progress. I wanted to do something that both honored my grandmother and also touched on the situation.

These Little Piggies, Coloured pencil on paper, 14 x 17 in, 2014
These Little Piggies, Coloured pencil on paper, 14 x 17 in, 2014

Growing up, I was always very close to my grandparents, and I was especially close to my grandmother. She always had an eclectic mix of knick knacks that she’d pick up from garage sales, flea markets and her little adventures she would take around the city. She was and still is a fiercely independent woman. But it wasn’t until she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s that I looked at all the figurines collected on the shelves of her wall and only then did I realize she had a huge collection of pig figurines. And she told me that over the years, she was always searching carefully to add to her collection. She displayed them neatly, grouped together on shelves and in display cases.

Piggyback, Coloured pencil on paper, 14 x 17 in, 2014
Piggyback, Coloured pencil on paper, 14 x 17 in, 2014

With the onset of her dementia, my grandmother felt a need to collect things and had begun to hoard. She had become obsessive. And it was at this time that I began working with my grandmother’s carefully curated collection of ceramic pigs and piggy banks. Her collection of pigs was assembled when collecting was still for pleasure. Through this drawing project, I now appreciate my grandmother’s selectiveness and curation of these trinkets. Something I didn’t realize or pay attention to when I was younger and wrote off as my kooky grandmother doing what grandmothers do. But she had her own purpose.

Piggies, Coloured pencil on paper, 18.25 x 24.25 in, 2014
Piggies, Coloured pencil on paper, 18.25 x 24.25 in, 2014

This work follows my on-going examination of memory and personal histories. Aside from their decorative purposes, the ceramic pigs, which included piggy banks and other piggy containers, also serve a practical means of collecting and storing things. Stacking the pigs up on each other, they precariously teeter and are on the edge of falling and breaking, rendered useless.

We collect memories throughout our lives, only to slowly lose them in the end.

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I’ll be exhibiting these piggy drawings along with some paintings from my recent series Of Myth and Men, as well as never shown before drawings from my Rejected Memories series. The exhibition, Now & Then, will open next week at Pendulum Gallery in Vancouver. More details can be found here.

Now & Then revisits some of the highlights of Pendulum Gallery exhibitions from the past decade, marking a point at which then becomes the now and acknowledging the intersection between the gallery and a select number of artists. The show is structured as a series of five small overviews, and through the presentation of both newer and older works, it attempts to give a sense of each artists’ practice, allowing the viewer to appreciate developing themes and methodologies.

I will be exhibiting alongside Ross Kelly, Ewan McNeil, David Marshall and Bettina Matzkuhn.

Pretty Boys, You Owe Me

We decided to forgo vinyl lettering this time.
We decided to forgo vinyl lettering this time around.

It was a short but eventful trip to Calgary, between setting up for the Pretty Boys, You Owe Me exhibition at The New Gallery and an artist talk and studio visits at the University of Calgary. The exhibition was a successful collaborative effort between the gallery, the other artist, Stacy Lundeen, and myself. We were chosen to be in a two-person exhibition by the curatorial committee of The New Gallery. I think it worked out pretty well since people at the opening were asking how long we have been collaborating for. The opening was on a Friday night, so it had been 2 days since we started working together, to hang the show. Both of our works had been finished independently so it was fun to see it play off each other in the space.

Here are some photos from the exhibition:

Pretty Boys, You Owe Me at The New Gallery, Calgary
Pretty Boys, You Owe Me at The New Gallery, Calgary
Pretty Boys, You Owe Me at The New Gallery, Calgary
Pretty Boys, You Owe Me at The New Gallery, Calgary
Pretty Boys, You Owe Me at The New Gallery, Calgary
Pretty Boys, You Owe Me at The New Gallery, Calgary
PrettyBoysYouOweMe2
Pretty Boys, You Owe Me at The New Gallery, Calgary
Pretty Boys, You Owe Me at The New Gallery, Calgary
Pretty Boys, You Owe Me at The New Gallery, Calgary
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