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The Art of Loss, inspiring experiences of grief & loss

The Art of Loss, inspiring experiences of grief & loss

November 6, 2018 | ART, end of life | No Comments

It was my privilege and honour to curate this very meaningful art exhibition for the Sunshine Coast Hospice Society and Gibsons Public Art Gallery. The opportunity arose shortly after the passing of my own wonderful husband in early 2017 when the Hospice Society brought the idea for an exhibition dealing with loss to GPAG who had an unexpected exhibition calendar opening for 2018. Gallery manager Michael suggested we might work together. Thirty artists were invited to partake. I am very proud of the fine works presented and the very professional staging we were able to achieve. The exhibition received very high praise and very meaningful comments in the guest book. Nearly 1500 visitors saw the show, a very good number for our community.

THE ART OF LOSS

Loss is woven into the tapestry of our lives. The repeated experience of loss becomes a template for managing the loss of those we love and, ultimately, our own demise. GPAG and the Hospice Society invited a number of local artists to consider how experiences of grief and loss can inspire us to live more fully. These works in painting, sculpture, mixed media and videography will inspire reflection and discussion on this intimate, and frequently avoided, topic. A portion of the proceeds from art sales will benefit the work of both GPAG and the Hospice Society.

The Hospice Society

Loss

Loss comes to all of us if we are fortunate enough to spend time here on Earth,
in this world full of wonder and potential.

Loss of many things, of anything once valued and cherished…
Loss of identity, loss of freedom, loss of childhood dreams…
Loss of income, health, mobility…
Loss of environment…

Loss of loved ones.
Loss of a child, a parent, a cherished lover, a life partner…
Loss of a young person, gone too soon and before their time…
Loss of an old life, of a life well lived, a skin well lived in, creased with the many lines of adventures taken along the way.

Is the glass half full or half empty?
A sense of grief can surround those who have lost those beloved but also a sense of joy for having loved or having been loved.
Surely that is the most wondrous gift of all.

Paula O’Brien, Curator

SELECTED ARTISTS

Donna Balma

ARTIST STATEMENT
ONE

My vision is stronger than my eyesight; and because my physical strength is lessened, I now make art that takes into account my limitations. Throughout my life I have re-invented themes, shapes, patterns, colours, and deeply felt impressions and obsessions that manifest my personal vision. I rely on instinct, insight and intuition to stay true to my originality.

BIOGRAPHY
Donna Balma is an innovative and prolific Canadian artist currently living in the Pacific Northwest Rainforest of B.C., Canada and is a member of the West Coast Surrealist Group. Her work is profoundly affected by nature and her internal visions. She has established herself as an imaginative artist whose work has been variously described as fantasy, naïve, outsider, visionary, classical, folk, cosmic pop, and surreal amongst others.

Paul Clancy

www.flickr.com/photos/paulclancy

ARTIST STATEMENT

QUANTUM – A ZEN IMAGE

THE CUP IS HALF FULL AND HALF EMPTY THEREFORE BOTH.

SCHRODINGERS CAT IS BOTH ALIVE AND DEAD UNTIL THE LID IS LIFTED,

ENERGY CAN BE WAVE OR PARTICLE,

NEUTRINOS CAN BE IN ANY POSSIBLE STATE UNTIL OBSERVED.

MAYBE ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.

PAUL CLANCY
PHOTOGRAPHER

Pat Crucil

ARTIST STATEMENT
Memorial to My Garden

In 2013 we sold our house that we had lived in for over 40 years. During that time, I had spent many hours building a beautiful garden. The garden was like a symphony with things coming up in all the season. It heralded the spring, a blaze of colour in the summer and rust colour in the fall. We built a new house and the new owners come to live in the old house in the summer and long week-ends. Gardening was not their love. Slowly the gardens began to die and become overgrown with weeds. As a textile artist, I had to mourn my old garden with a wall hanging.

EDUCATION
Painting and Drawing- Manitoba School of Art
Extension program- Emily Carr School of Art and Design
Textile program- Capilano College

Liz De Beer

lizdebeer.com

ARTIST STATEMENT
Pitcher

As a cancer survivor, I have spent most of 2017 fighting this disease on both a physical and an emotional level. I met some wonderful people on this journey and quickly learned that I was not alone as many others were on a similar path. Sadly, the journey was also paved with grief as some of the wonderful people I met has since past away.

The jug represents a container that holds water which is the key to life itself.

BIOGRAPHY
As a potter, Liz de Beer has always been intrigued by natural products and processes. Growing up in Africa she was surrounded by a rich resource of wonderful design elements in nature from which she draws inspiration.

Liz is the Studio Manager of a pottery studio at a community center in North Vancouver, Canada. This studio came into being in September 1999 and has been developed under her guidance into one of the best community studios available to the public.

“My passion for pottery has no limit, so when I am not at the community studio you will find me potting at my home studio on the Sunshine Coast where I also have a small gallery”.

Liz has a preference for vessels that are simple in shape and uses a combination of oxides and glazes to produce surface coloration on the raw clay surface that is striking but not distracting. She also has an interest in surface manipulation through carving and use a variety of different techniques such as sgraffito to create graphic imagery reminiscent of African woodcarving.

EDUCATION
Formal Arts Education:
Graphic Design – East London Technical College (South Africa)

Jen Drysdale

website      jendrysdale.com
facebook   JenDrysdaleArt
Instagram jendrysdaleart

ARTIST STATEMENT
Nine, Ten, Begin Again

“He judged the instant and let go; he flung himself loose into the stars.” Annie Dillard

While working on my painting “Nine, Ten, Begin Again”, I contemplated my own experience of grief and loss. What struck me at the time was the intense lack of control I felt about what was happening. I understood intellectually that we never really, truly have control over our circumstances but I’d never felt the reality of it so intensely before. I realized the only thing I could do was give myself over to the experience and let go, that’s all.

For me, the process of working with oil and cold wax is about striking a balance between controlled and random mark making. I have an idea, I build a surface, layering and scraping with little planning, then attempt to pull the elements together into a cohesive form based on my idea. Sometimes all falls into place or I must release my grip and throw caution to the wind.

BIOGRAPHY
Jennifer Drysdale was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec in the 1960’s surrounded by artistic opportunity and support. Her greatest artistic influences were her parents who were illustrators and painters also working in the commercial art industry. Some recent artistic influences are contemporary artists Henry Jackson, Jules De Balincourt and Balcomb Greene. Other artists that have inspired Drysdale’s artistic growth throughout the years have been J. M. W. Turner, Käthe Kollwitz and Betty Goodwin.

Drysdale has taught art classes and workshops for nonprofit organizations in Toronto and most recently at the Arts Building in Gibsons. Other classes include private and semi-private workshops held in her own studio on Stewart Rd. and an upcoming painting workshop for the Gibsons School of Art in 2019. She studied visual arts at Dawson College in Montreal, H.B, Beal Tech. in London, Ontario, the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto, and the University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario.

Working almost daily in her studio on Stewart Rd. in Gibsons, BC, Jennifer draws significant influence from her local environment and enjoys the abundantly creative community in which she lives.

Mary Lou Guest

guestmosaics.com

ARTIST STATEMENT
Little Altars

On the death of my daughter, at the age of 25. Our only child.
I see little altars everywhere.

To A Daughter Leaving Home

When I taught you
at eight to ride
a bicycle, loping along
beside you
as you wobbled away
on two round wheels,
my own mouth rounding
in surprise when you pulled
ahead down the curved
path of the park,
I kept waiting
for the thud
of your crash as I
sprinted to catch up,
while you grew
smaller, more breakable
with distance,
pumping, pumping
for your life, screaming
with laughter,
the hair flapping
behind you like a
handkerchief waving
goodbye.

Author Linda Pastan

Kristjana Gunnars

kristjanagunnars.com

ARTIST STATEMENT
The Stoneworker

Memory boxes are traditionally boxes that mark life’s major events. They contain symbolic objects to remember the occasion by. They are not always sad; they sometimes are boxes of memory regarding someone’s passing, but they also are made to remember life’s happiest times.

This box was a long time in gestation. It is a general box marking a lifetime of losing people, even opportunities, or a shift in the road where something is left behind. It is not about a specific event or person. The box itself is an old wall cabinet that has been stained. The glass is vintage as well as the box.

Inside are placed stones and pebbles I picked up over the years on the Oregon coast. My family had a Beach house in Depoe Bay on the Oregon coast and we spent many years walking along the big white sands with the huge waves roaring in. I often picked up stones, pebbles, sand dollars and other beach objects on these walks and I have kept them all these years.

When my parents passed, the house was sold and our connection to that beautiful coastline ended, but I have the stones and pebbles to remember it all by. When it came to creating a memory box for this exhibit, I took out some of these pebbles and placed them around in a circle. In the middle I put a carved wooden Asian hand and in the upper right corner another smaller carved hand going in the opposite direction, which I painted black. They give the sense of an embrace when you look down on them.

In the wooden hands I have put the beach stones. The big hand holds two desert roses, which are formed in the desert when the wind blows the sand and it gets encrusted into these roselike forms. Into the smaller hand I have placed one pebble from the Oregon coastline. There are also three pebbles from the Sechelt beach to signal a connection between where we are now and where we were then.

When you look at the box from above you will see your own reflection in the glass. That is designed to make the viewer part of the experience of the box itself.

BIOGRAPHY
Kristjana Gunnars studied studio art at Oregon State University with artist and teacher Shep Levine, and later art theory at the University of Regina with teacher Eugene Dawson, before turning to literary studies.  She has been a practicing literary writer since 1980, and studied aesthetic and literary theory with writer and teacher Robert Kroetsch at the University of Manitoba. She taught writing and English in various universities before joining the University of Alberta as Professor of English and Creative Writing.

Her work with writing in the context of literary theory expanded into art theory and aesthetics, which became a full time art practice upon leaving the university. More lately she has been learning cutting edge acrylic techniques from various artists and teachers in workshops. She paints from both a position of poesis and from an intellectual perspective, but her choice of color and method have a direct relation to the sensibilities of the present moment–the colors of nature and the interplay of forces around.  The landscape, the weather, the mood and tone of the day or night are as present in her paintings as they are in her poetry, and for her there is a direct relation between writing and painting.

Her work has been shown in galleries on the Sunshine Coast, B.C., at Gallery 5, LaCabana Gallery; the Doris Crowston Gallery in Sechelt; Gibsons Public Art Gallery, Gibsons, BC.; as well as at the Silk Purse Gallery, West Vancouver; the Centennial Theatre, North Vancouver; and the East Vancouver Cultural Centre (The Cultch) in East Vancouver.   Her work has been on view at the Rockwater Resort in Secret Cove, B.C. and at the Sundowner Gallery in the Sundowner Inn, Garden Bay, B.C. Her paintings are in private collections in Canada, the United States, and Europe. Originally from Iceland, she now makes her home in Canada.

Gordon Halloran

gordonhalloran.com
lotusinmotionproject.blogspot.com

ARTIST STATEMENT
Judgement Day

Judgement Day is a video work that explores human sensations resulting from peer judgement;
how the internalization of criticism and the isolating grief it tends to create affect our ability to understand the value of a life?

BIOGRAPHY
Gordon Halloran is well known to world audiences as the creator of Paintings Below Zero. In 2006, the international artist was Canada’s official representative to the Cultural Olympiad for the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Turin with these monumental paintings in ice.  These were followed by enormous installations at Chicago’s (Millennium Park 2008), Toronto City Hall (2007), Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games and other international locations.

Mr. Halloran’s work deals with the ephemeral nature of existence and how it intersects with contemporary issues of Climate Change.

In 2015, Halloran embarked on a theatrical/filmic exploration of healing and wellness called Body of Light and presented the multi-media work at the Sechelt Arts Festival. It was followed by a feature-length documentary also called Body of Light, premiering in Sechelt and Calgary, February 2016.

Halloran has worked in theatre for many years directing original touring shows with Third Coast Theatre. He adapted for the screen, directed and edited Singing the Bones, a feature length motion picture that premiered at the Montreal World Film Festival and screened around the world since 2001. Halloran is also known internationally for his lifelike portraits; in 2012 he won the Jury Prize for three panels of a series of paintings called Hung Jury, and the Municipality of Sechelt purchased the artwork for their permanent collection.

Roger Handling

ARTIST STATEMENT

The Sari Dress

Every one hundred years or so the whole human population of our planet turns over to a new set of people—between now and 2118 that will amount to 7 billion departed souls in that time alone. Meanwhile the Population Reference Bureau estimates that from the emergence of our species about 107 billion people have ever lived.

That’s a lot of loss.

It’s next to impossible to relate to those sort of numbers in a collective way. But on a personal level it is entirely different. I have known those who have passed out of my life in a way no one else has or ever could have, we are such subjective beings that it could be no other way. Hence for me loss is an entirely personal phenomenon.

“The Sari Dress” is an expression of how I assimilate the living with the departed—parts of past lives intermingle with present ones in a way that I find very satisfying and rewarding. The past is forever embellishing my present life in a manner that is never sad but inevitably uplifting.

Jane Hennessy

janehennessystudio.com

ARTIST STATEMENT

Night Bird in the Forest with Mist and Moonlight

The raven, one bird, so many mythological associations. The brilliant lively trickster or the harbinger of death and despair.

Beautiful bird, perhaps innocent of the weight it carries between those powerful black wings.

Maybe not.

There are two who live in the cedars across the street. They play to a reward of peanuts, chattering and posturing and vocally mimicking neighbourhood cats.

They appear to know something that I would like to know. So I paint them along with thousands of other artists. Trying to define their fascination.

The raven seemed a fitting subject for a painting associated with grief and loss.

The painting started dark with despair but the bird would not allow it.

Mystery is fine it said. Paint me in the moonlight and mist but make me hopeful.

Because

Along with my association with death.

Let us not forget, I also returned the sun to its rightful place.

EDUCATION
Vancouver School of Art (Now Emily Carr), Commercial Design
Emily Carr Certificate Program (2004 – 2007)
Ongoing work with senior level artists including: Robert Liberace, David Kassan, Jay Senetchko, Justin Ogilvie.

Shain Jackson

authenticindigenous.com/artists/shain-jackson

ARTIST STATEMENT

Transcendence and Beauty

Butterflies are a beautiful reminder of the constant transition and development life takes within our realms of existence. We are in never-ending evolution. To this world we come from seemingly nothing; we develop in our mother’s womb all the things needed to take our place among our fellow beings here on Earth. We can take these developments (arms, legs, senses, consciousness….) and master this new domain, and if we are lucky we will soar.

But it is here in this worldly womb that we are meant to continue the development process and embody further things that will benefit us in our new and upcoming domain. Whether one considers the next journey to be the Spirit World, or Heaven we will need to master the immaterial. The saying “You can’t take it with you”, takes on special meaning in this context.

It is this artist’s belief that as we leave our physical shrouds behind our souls transcend. Our only tools to begin our next journey are the teachings we have embodied here. When we are born into the next life we must ask ourselves what tools will benefit us best. Love, compassion, empathy, justice, and other virtues can be described as virtues that will assist us in navigating through a spiritual space and like the butterfly, spreading our wings to fly.

BIOGRAPHY
Shain Jackson (Niniwum Selapem) is Coast Salish from the community of Sechelt.  He is an artist and also a lawyer who has represented the interests of Indigenous communities and organizations throughout British Columbia in relation to a broad array of issues.  After years devoted to the legal profession Shain decided to leave his practice to focus his attention on the many facets of BC’s Indigenous art. He is currently the president of Spirit Works Limited, a company focused on the design creation and distribution on authentic Indigenous art products.  He is heavily involved in the movement to protect Indigenous intellectual property and the rights of Indigenous artists.

Artistically, Shain works in Coast Salish design using a wide range of mediums such as Cedar, copper, glass, aluminum, acrylic with work ranging from small carved pieces of jewelry to large scale sculpted public art pieces.  As he has continued to develop his own artwork to a higher level, he has had the privilege of collaborating with many amazing local artists. On his own, and in partnership with these artists Shain has garnered numerous awards and acclaim both locally and internationally.

The theme existing almost invariably in Shain’s work is that of unity – bringing together diverse groups and working toward a common vision.  Revisiting old Coast Salish stories and teachings, he not only incorporates these messages into his artwork but also into all areas of his life.  Aside from being an accomplished artist Shain has taken very seriously his responsibilities to his own community of Sechelt and the urban Indigenous community at large.

Further to this, through his company Spirit Works, Shain: has developed programs aimed at providing employment and training to Indigenous youth; donates space, equipment and expertise to Indigenous artists in need; consistently donates time and artwork to numerous charitable organizations; has designed and facilitated workshops aimed at providing cultural teachings for at-risk Indigenous youth; and much more.

RoseAnn Janzen

rajanzen.com

ARTIST STATEMENT
La La Land

LA LA LAND is the image that came to me when I was asked to participate in ‘The Art of Loss’ show.  The painting depicts someone (maybe me) departing this world and being surrounded by all the wonderful things and pets & people that are loved and important to us when we leave this life and venture into the unknown.  A fantasy.

BIOGRAPHY

“Too erotic!” “Too exotic!” That’s how Vancouver City officials viewed Rose Ann Janzen’s work in 1984. They ordered the painting in question removed from a City Hall Public Exhibition of British Columbia Artists. Art critic Max Wyman, among others, rallied in support of Rose Ann but to no avail. The painting remained “banned from City Hall.” RA Janzen Studio in Roberts Creek

Although mainly self-taught, RoseAnn has studied art in the Netherlands, at the Banff School of Fine Arts and at the University of British Columbia. Whether exploring the medinas of Morocco, trekking through the jungles of Costa Rica or sailing the South Pacific, she is the irrepressible traveler, never without sketch book in hand. View opposite is of her Studio/Gallery in Roberts Creek on the beautiful Sunshine Coast of British Columbia.

RoseAnn’s paintings can be viewed at the Dr. Vigari Gallery on Commercial Drive in Vancouver, The Gibsons Public Art Gallery in Lower Gibsons, Eco Freako in Roberts Creek, at the Coastal Art Gallery in Sechelt and at her studio by appointment.

Trisha Joel

trishajoel.ca

ARTIST STATEMENT
Gratitude

My work has recently brought together a love of exploring calligraphic marks and natural dyed textiles. Here I have chosen the phrase “And my life is blessed” as a way to respond to the experience of loss. There is gratitude for the life of the friend/relative as we mourn them and thoughts naturally arise as to the preciousness of this one life we each have- with all its challenges but also its simple and tender blessings. “And my life is blessed” has become a wonderful way to find balance at times of struggle & lack.

BIOGRAPHY
Trisha Joel has been working in fibre art for over 20 years and has had work exhibited on the Sunshine Coast and in the Lower Mainland. Her work is currently available through FibreWorks Gallery in Pender Harbour and the Craft Connection in Nelson, BC. She is a member of the Sunshine Coast Artists’ Coop and the local chapter of the Surface Design Association.

Carol La Fave

carollafave.ca

ARTIST STATEMENT
After all this time

After all this time…. I still miss you every day.
I believe that love lives on forever.

BIOGRAPHY
Carol La Fave is a contemporary collage artist, inspired by nature, cityscapes, colour, pattern, texture and shape. Driven by exploration, her quirky and spontaneous works offer a kaleidoscope of playful surprises, spirited expression and oddball symbolism. Similar to puzzle solving, each piece alludes to a magnified meditative process designed to draw the eye deeper and delve beyond the obvious, creating multi-dimensional compositions of wit, wonder and delight.
Carol formerly held a practice in Toronto as a professional artist and illustrator, and studied at the Alberta College of Art. Today she works from her home studio, near forest and sea in beautiful Roberts Creek, BC.

Kim La Fave

kimlafavepaintings.com

ARTIST STATEMENT
Blackberry

“Loss is nothing more than change, and change is Nature’s delight.”  Marcus Aurelius

Kim LaFave is moved to understand the world through ideas and conversations in drawing and painting, capturing and abstracting key moments in time, landscapes and themes via dynamic, gestural imagery. Constantly evolving his vision and expression, Kim’s artistic process is one of discovery, reflection, deconstruction and re-assembly. By questioning each subject, through investigations in material, texture, line and colour, he distills essential meaning, value and power. The end result is at once grounded and complete, evocative and expansive.

BIOGRAPHY

As well as his painting practice, Kim La Fave has had a prolific career illustrating children’s books such as Amos’s Sweater (by Janet Lunn), which won the Governor General’s Award for Illustration, the Ruth Swartz Children’s Book Award, and the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator’s Award. He also illustrated Shin-chi’s Canoe (by Nicola I. Campbell), which won the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award; Fishing with Gubby (by Gary Kent), shortlisted for several awards; and dozens of other beloved children’s books.

Kim grew up in North Vancouver. He studied Graphic Design and Illustration at Capilano College (1973-4) the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary (1975-6) and the Illustrators Workshop in New York (1976) before moving in Toronto to start his career as a freelance artist.  As well as book illustration, he also had a successful advertising and editorial career, with clients like American Express, IBM, and Bell Mobility. He’s won many design awards from the Vancouver Art Director’s Club and the Advertising and Design Club of Canada, CA Magazine, Studio Magazine Awards and the Marketing Awards.

He now lives in Robert’s Creek, BC, dividing his time between illustrating children’s books, and painting. He is represented by Kurbatoff Gallery in Vancouver.

Ian MacLeod

ianmacleodpaintings.blogspot.ca

ARTIST STATEMENT
My Epiphany (Loss of Self)

I have come to realize, or see in some abstracted manner, my new series “Epiphany” – paintings and works on paper are a reflection of my life.

I was given up at birth and adopted by loving parents (my parents). Even after their deaths I never wanted to search out my birth parents because it felt like a betrayal.

This conflict shows up in my art in the fragmented and broken patterns that are sometimes incomplete and unresolved.

Now in my 70’s, I see that not only my current work, but all my art has undertones of this somewhat separated life and loss of self.

Everything I’ve done, the way I connect or don’t connect with people, places and things are all there to keep me safe and from being lost.

The art shows me this – I don’t believe I saw it until I read something written by an artist friend about himself for an exhibition I curated in 2017.
His words, filled with emotion and honesty opened something in me and I will be forever grateful.

And here I thought I was just throwing paint.

BIOGRAPHY

I take painting seriously and am committed to my growth as an artist and therefore disciplined – it’s all I do.

My abstract painting utilizes a mix of materials and mediums.

I seek unintentional results, never over-thinking the process, my sense of placement and form dispel accidental configuration.

The work occurs through the energy and act of doing.

I studied fine arts at the University of Manitoba and graphic design at Red River College in Winnipeg.

Before moving to the Sunshine Coast (where I paint full time) I worked as an illustrator, graphic designer, exhibit designer and art director in Winnipeg, Ottawa, and Vancouver for over 30 years.

During this time, I was fortunate to have been part of some extremely interesting and fulfilling design projects for a vast range of clients including Canadian Government, Carleton University, National Arts Centre, Manitoba Theatre Centre, Habitat (UN Conference on Human Settlements), Canada Post, Expo 86, Equity Magazine, 7-11 Canada, Vancouver Magazine, Bing Thom Architects, Simon Fraser University, BC Business Magazine, the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre and the Vancouver East Cultural Centre.

Marilyn Marshall

ARTIST STATEMENT
Song Above Shadow

My paintings have mainly to do with figurative and other organic ideas in compositions that speak clearly to my dwindling vision. I try to push the meaning of ideas to an edge that clarifies their significance.

The elements of Song Above Shadow reflect my love for the shapes of musical instruments and my inclination to combine figurative with other shapes in a surreal way. The painting refers to the straining effort to find hope and light against a background of darkness and despair.

BIOGRAPHY
I began drawing and painting seriously after I retired from a career in teaching and research, mainly at Carleton University in Ottawa. My training was in experimental psychology.

I began drawing with the Life Drawing group in Sechelt around 1998 and continued that practice for 18 years. Early on, the artist Thomas Anfield offered a workshop on drawing the human figure and I was inspired by him to work harder to develop my drawing skill. When Anfield returned to give a short course on figure painting I signed up and began my painting career. Later, I also benefited from workshops and short courses offered by Dick Phillips, Maurice Spira, David Langevin, Suzanne Northcott, Jason Ogilvie and others.

I am a lifetime lover of nature and of the forms and colours which are casually tossed off for us to see around the year. My partner, Vera Wall, is an avid gardener, and the plant forms she finds and nourishes have played a large role in my development as an artist. I see the human figure as one more natural form among many others, vegetables included, and I am inclined to combine these forms in ways that emphasize their kinship.

Sheryl McDougald

website sherylmcdougald.wordpress.com
instagram sherylmcdougald

ARTIST STATEMENT
The Beauty of Damage

I have become adept at changing my methods of creative output. I have also become good at accepting accumulating inability. Luckily, there is always some new and interesting technique, some different way of interpreting a creative thought, and an endless choice of new possibilities for art-making… isn’t there?

So I thought – until this June, when I hung many of my older, large scale paintings in a show at SCAC. I can no longer work at that monumental scale, and I had just accepted that. Except that obviously, I hadn’t because every single painting brought back how much I had loved the work, from beginning to end. Loss caught up with me, and it was so much harsher for my avoidance. Honestly, I still don’t know how to think about it.

But, if I am to continue, I have to find a way past Loss, which is really Change, and ultimately Life… and it will happen again, and probably again. No more shoving it in a cupboard and pretending it doesn’t exist.

Damage is beautiful, and whether I use a 3” paintbrush on a 6 foot canvas, or a humble ballpoint pen on paper, I will keep seeking beauty.

BIOGRAPHY

Sheryl McDougald lives in Roberts Creek on the beautiful Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. She sketches, paints, photoshops, collages and collects bones and feathers, always fascinated with the natural world that surrounds her. She has had MS for over 20 years, which creates challenges and constantly changes her methods of art-making.

Sheryl’s enduring love for the Italian Renaissance body was the focus of her painting for many years.

Janice McFegan

ARTIST STATEMENT
Colour My World

This song performed by Chicago with the lyrics and music written by member James Kankow thrilled me and went to my heart. It expresses the love, the loss and then the memories that never fade. A date, a piece of clothing, a day of rain all bring back the memories of loss. My etching reveals the long ago memories that are always with me and my joy of turning to music.


EDUCATION

Emily Carr College of Art & Design, Vancouver, BC Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree
The Art Institute, Capilano College, North Vancouver BC Graduate Studies Diploma of Printmaking

Tim McLaughlin

ampersand-and-company.com

ARTIST STATEMENT
The Day is Infinite

There is a magnetism in photographs. My hope is to elucidate the lines of force radiating from the image with text. I have found the best way to do this is through making my own ink and writing with a traditional dip pen. Often this writing is done on the photograph itself.

Charly Mithrush

charlymithrushart.com

ARTIST STATEMENT

A Wish In The Wind

What Does the Dandelion Flower Mean?
The common and humble Dandelion has a surprising amount of different meanings. The Dandelion means:
• Healing from emotional pain and physical injury alike
• Intelligence, especially in an emotional and spiritual sense
• The warmth and power of the rising sun
• Surviving through all challenges and difficulties
• Long lasting happiness and youthful joy
• Getting your wish fulfilled
Since the Dandelion can thrive in difficult conditions, it is no wonder that people say the flower symbolizes the ability to rise above life’s challenges.

BIOGRAPHY
Acrylic, mixed media, & encaustic artist.
Charly Mithrush is a contemporary artist working predominantly in acrylic, mixed media and encaustics. She has attended Emily Carr as well as a variety of college level programs, and continues to hone and learn new skills through attending and giving private workshops. Her works consist of bold colours, objects and textures on various surfaces and she is presently exploring encaustics.

Charly primarily works in her home studio on the Sunshine Coast in B.C., Canada. Her artwork has been featured in over 20 group and solo shows, and in Artists of British Columbia Volume 3.

Paula O’Brien

website paulaobrien.com
facebook PaulaOBrienArt
Instagram paulaartist6

ARTIST STATEMENT
Countdown to Goodbye

It was my privilege to have the most wonderful partner and husband for 39 years. It was my duty and pleasure to have been able to offer him the smoothest possible final year of life after his diagnosis of pulmonary fibrosis. This piece depicts parts of his final journey – from portable oxygen tanks to enable him to get around as comfortably as possible to little furry stuffed friends who cuddled with him at every opportunity in his last year.

The main center image captures all the friends and family who stopped by in his very final days. The Canadian Legion women came to his bedside to induct him as a member to the Legion and they had the most wonderful chatty time as the rest of us cheered him on as a very proud new member, even though he had an appointment for his own exit from this world 4 days later.

The final images reveals his hand in mine after the gift of Medical Assistance in Dying MAiD was granted to him to pass peacefully and lovingly at home. He had requested a simple cedar coffin and we delivered him lovingly back to the Earth in that.

Above the piece are images from his long, adventurous and very full life. Below is the Little Suitcase of Happiness, bursting with memories and love that we were so fortunate to have built up in our life together. What a gift we shared to have found and built our loving life together. The oxygen tubing drips with bejeweled drops… of tears or life-giving water….

BIOGRAPHY
Originally from Montreal, travel, adventure and love lead me to Europe, the Caribbean and England where I continued my Fine Arts education at Goldsmiths College. We planted ourselves with our growing family in Gibsons, BC in 1989.

Family and business life with Kidzsmart took precedence but I always approached my artwork seriously and continued to find ways to exhibit by myself and with others. I established a reputation and following as a textile artist with my wearable art, art textiles and sewing pattern line Pavelka Design.

I returned to life drawing in 2007 and my paintings shifted from works from imagination to figurative works from direct observation. My current body of work has shifted to the West Coast World with images of fishing boats and landscapes coming into view. Eleven years of life drawing and four years of plein air painting have built my sturdy foundation and anchor my artwork.
I mainly work in oils on canvas. I use a lot palette knife, working very fast in a loose alla prima style. My mark making is very deliberate and individual. My favorite mark making tools are cold wax, silicone tip and wooden skewers to squiggle through lines.

Digital painting with Adobe Sketch and Procreate on iPad now allows me to take my full painting kit into even the most hallowed locations where splashy paints are not welcomed.

Dionne Paul

ARTIST STATEMENT
Mend the Stinging Within

I was taught the protocol of harvesting plants and this includes a prayer ceremony thanking the plant for sharing its gifts and/or giving up its life. Gathering natural materials in the forest is a very special time and I have been harvesting plant medicines since I was a child.

This particular season I was going through a very painful transition. I was transitioning from being a married woman to being a single woman. I woke up very heartbroken one morning and went for a walk in the forest. I wasn’t planning on harvesting any plants. I just needed to be alone in the forest. Along my walk I noticed a cedar tree that was healing from being stripped of its outer bark the year before.

Instead of offering a prayer to the tree, as I was not the one who had taken the strip from this tree, I walked up to the tree, placed my hand on the exposed inner bark and offered an empathetic prayer of understanding. I felt I could relate to the healing process of this tree – the outer bark being stripped away leaving a raw exposed inner bark. My inner bark was also raw and exposed from my marriage stripped away from me. This inspired me to create “Mend the Stinging Within”.

I went home and gathered my harvesting kit, some red thread and my camera. I spent the rest of the day co-creating healing art with this cedar tree and stinging nettle plants. Stinging nettle leaves have stinging hairs that inject histamines and other chemicals into the skin cause an itching, stinging sensation. First Nations people have long used stinging nettle plants topically as a pain reliever. I find it interesting that pain can be used to treat pain. I touched the stinging nettle leaf and wanted to feel the physical effect of the itching, throbbing pain and my mind equated this pain to the emotional hurt in my heart.

I started a prayer ceremony by offering tobacco and then talked to the stinging nettle plant sharing my pain and asking for some relief. I carefully tore the stinging nettle leaf then I mended it with red thread. I photographed what I had created. I harvested select stinging nettle leaves and went home to make some fresh stinging nettle tea and consume the medicine and completed the ceremony.

I intended this piece to be visual representation of my request from the stinging nettle to mend the stinging within me.

BIOGRAPHY

Dionne Paul (Ximiq) is a proud member of the Nuxalk Nation and Sechelt Nation. She is a member of the Eagle Clan and her ancestral name is Ximiq and translates to the first eyelash of sunlight that comes over the mountain to greet everyone in the morning.

She has a Masters of Applied Arts at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. Her thesis research focused on traditional special effects in potlatch performances. Through intense investigation she has created a unique lens to view Northwest Coast art and thereby opening a window to new possibilities of art objects and the relationship to performance with her research on the mechanisms behind ceremonial performances.

Her artworks are an investigation into representations of First Nations narratives and situations as well as depictions and ideas that can only be realized in art. She makes work that deals with the documentation of events and the question of how they can be presented. Her works feature connections between traditional ways of knowing and the condition of the contemporary First Nations state of being. She has found successful ways of expressing her love of Northwest Coast form, cultural art object functions and weaves them together to create multilayered pieces that reflect a feminist sensibility with hints of humour to explore erotica, addiction, residential school, and gender roles in ceremony and time.

Cindy Riach

cindyriach.com

ARTIST STATEMENT
Those were the days

I’ve painted people for years and they still fascinate me. Everyone is unique …. everyone has a story.
I keep looking ….

EDUCATION
1971–78 BA-BPHE, BEd, MSc. Queens University, Kingston, ON
1985 PhD University of Waterloo, Waterloo ON
Dundas Valley School of Art (DVSA), Hamilton, ON
International School of Painting, Drawing and Sculpture, Umbria, Italy

Miyuki Shinkai

website facebook.com/MellonGlassStudio

ARTIST STATEMENT
Soul Rising

Blown glass and new year’s greeting cards drawn by my father in Japan. He passed away peacefully in Nov 28, 2017, age of 74. He was a hyper active, heavy smoker, drinker, and hard-working contractor. He loved outdoor experience, temples pilgrim tours, fishing, hiking, pottery making (shigarakiyaki), and building structures in nature. His creativity continues to live inside myself and our children here in Canada.

The environmental sustainability and the growth in local economy has become a mainstream concern to the general public.  It seems to be the industrial age is coming to the end after we have gone through the saturation of materialism and consumerism.  I feel strongly we are going through the transition period before the new era to come.  As the artisan who works in traditional medium, it has been a challenge up against mass production economy, but I also see it as the opportunity to work in natural resource and emphasize on truthfulness on slow process of creation.

Through my visual art practice, I have been searching for unity.  I believe that we are all together as one, while respecting many diverse cultural traditions and the uniqueness of individuality.  Freedom of thoughts and creativity promotes innovation.  I am interested in evolving flow.  Art expression allows me to overcome the differences in language and in our foundation of human beliefs.  It has always been an ultimate communication method for me to feel closer to my higher self and interact with the rest of society.  The presentation of the creation has been an important event for my personal development, integration and participation in the community.

BIOGRAPHY

I was born and raised in Shiga, Japan in 1969. After earning a BA in English and Comparative Culture in Osaka in 1991, I relocated to the United States where I studied in Hawaii, California and Vermont, earning an MA in Social Administration at Georgia Southwestern State University in 1994. While there, I developed an interest in glass and earned a minor in glassblowing. This interest led me to the Pilchuck Glass School, Washington and a career in the art of glassblowing.

I moved to Gibsons on the Sunshine Coast in 2003 after having a studio in Vancouver’s Strathcona area for a number of years, looking for a place that was closer to nature to raise our young family. I have had numerous exhibitions of my work at galleries and public spaces around the world.

Donna Stewart

website donnastewart-art.com
Instagram donnastewartart

ARTIST STATEMENT
PUZ – ZLE

Life is like a jigsaw puzzle wrapped in a drawn string bag…. There is no box or picture to guide you. You simply set the edges in place and build the picture yourself. Sometimes that picture changes pieces get lost or go missing. It might take some time to rearrange or shift pieces to rebuild.

That is what the Art of Loss is to me….

This piece represents the strength, harmony and unity to make your picture whole again.

BIOGRAPHY
Donna Stewart is a self-taught artist born and raised in Moose Jaw Saskatchewan. Donna currently resides on the Sunshine Coast BC and works from her home studio. She chose the laidback lifestyle of the Sunshine Coast not only for its dynamics, the endless inspiration in her surrounding environment and its great artistic vibe. As a self-taught artist, she has explored all mediums, but has found her niche working in concrete and stains. Rules are not her idea of capturing the creative spirit. Experimentation is her favorite form of expression. Each painting begins with no particular plan, she works from instinct, using texture, staining techniques and processes. She lets the painting evolve until it achieves its final destiny…..

Donna has recently attended a one on one advanced concrete technique training course at the Decorative Concrete Institute in Atlanta, Georgia. This course has expanded her creative avenues and now the sky is the limit.

Donna is a bit of a socialite who enjoys the outdoors and staying active. Her favorite days include creating art with friends in a nearby studio, enjoying the creative atmosphere, music and the imagery she creates. Every day she continues to pursue her painting opportunities in the art world and embracing the encouragement that her fellow artist friends provide.

Robert Studer

thisisit.ca

ARTIST STATEMENT

Decorated Soldier

What are the costs for disrespecting our relationship with nature? Humanity and our entire species are irrevocably dependent upon its graces. From Medieval Latin soldarius “a soldier”, literally means “one having pay”. Will the systems we create enhance our connections to nature or ultimately be our downfall? What is the price to pay?

PROFESSIONAL HISTORY
this is it design. inc.
Established 1996 / Principal

Broad based art and design service with an emphasis on creative explorations of glass and light that bridge the gap between art and design. The studio accepts commissions to design, build and install works of art, sculpture and environmental design. Other services include industrial and graphic design. Scope of activities include; Commissioned works of art for public, private and cultural projects, both interior and exterior applications; Design, production and marketing of handcrafted products sold in finer retail stores internationally; Exhibition design and content development for temporary and traveling exhibitions.

Marleen & Dolf Vermeulen

marleenart.com
Marleen is represented by the Kurbatoff Gallery www.kurbatoffgallery.com in Vancouver.

ARTIST STATEMENT
Focus

My reality is altered,
it is not so beautified any more,
it is minimized.
I feel the rawness,
Making the board on which I paint
Visible.

My reality?
It used to be lush and textured.
Supported by an underlying knowledge of abundance,
It is still there.
Focus, I say to myself.

The trunk is solid,
It belongs,
grounded deep in its existence.

The witness-
eternally creating.
I am.

BIOGRAPHY
Marleen Vermeulen received most of her art education in the Netherlands where she was born. She is a graduate of the Design Academy in Eindhoven and the Academy of Fine Arts in Utrecht.
In the 80’s and early 90’s Marleen enjoyed an extensive international and award-winning career in graphic design; she was based in The Netherlands and United Kingdom until 1994, at which point she moved with her family to Canada and settled on the Sunshine Coast.

Inspired by the natural beauty of the Pacific West Coast she began to focus her talent towards creating large oil paint canvases. The sheer scale of the canvases and the texture of the oil paint interpret the expanse and rawness of nature. Over time she has developed her own signature style; up close her work feels impressionistic, sometimes almost abstract, while from a distance it takes on a realistic perspective.

Dolf Vermeulen

dolfvermeulen.com

ARTIST STATEMENT
Focus

Quite simply, getting outside makes me happy. It gives me a fresh perspective, makes my problems feel insignificant, and it energizes me in a way nothing else can.

Using my camera I try to capture these feelings and pass them on in the form of a photograph. I hope that my work will remind people to slow down, reconnect with nature, and let the little things go. To enjoy the moment, protect our wilderness, and look forward to the unknown.

BIOGRAPHY
Dolf is self-taught photographer residing on the beautiful Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. He has been lucky to call this place home ever since his family moved to Canada just a year after he was born in England, in 1992.

After completing high school on the Sunshine Coast, he quickly transitioned to attending UBC Okanagan’s business management program, specializing his degree in marketing and project management. It was during this time that he discovered photography and not until his third year that he purchased his first DSLR. Dolf quickly found that the majority of his free time was spent taking photos and watching YouTube tutorials. After graduating with honours in 2015 he worked for the provincial government battling BC’s largest forest fires in order to fund a full frame DSLR and a winter of travelling. Since then he has been lucky enough to visit and photograph 20 countries, all of which have left him with valuable insights and incredible memories!

During the summer of 2016 Dolf had his first opportunity as a professional photographer, working at Peregrine Lodge Fishing Adventures in Northern Haida Gwaii. Once that season came to an end he returned to the Sunshine Coast and started Dolf Vermeulen Photography which would grow into Dolf Vermeulen Creative as his services expanded to offer video as well. He is delighted to be back on the Sunshine Coast! Travels have given him a whole new appreciation for this slice of paradise and he is incredibly thankful to be working in such a supportive and scenic community.

Alanna Wood

ARTIST STATEMENT
Saying Goodbye

Saying Goodbye” was created as a response to a friend who committed suicide.  I was compelled to express my feelings in a letter to my departed friend. I wanted the letter to be private, so I obscured the words with visual symbols, a language my friend understood. I imagined a stream of particles, soft with a vibrant core moving through a neutral space; a dust to dust reference.

BIOGRAPHY
I graduated from Emily Carr College of Art and Design, where I studied film, video and photography. I exhibited a body of photomontage work in private and public galleries across Canada while at school and after graduation.

The Sunshine Coast has been my home since 1989. I have maintained my art making practice while working at various jobs and have managed to exhibit and participate in other artistic endeavors. I was a Curator at the Sunshine Coast Arts Centre in Sechelt for 10 years, where I had the opportunity to meet and work with many artists from the Sunshine Coast, other regions of BC and Alberta.

I have always been visually sensitive, it is the sense I have relied on to express my ideas. I have a visceral response to the world I see, a keen awareness of light and shadow, repeating patterns and the energy in colours. I enjoy learning new techniques and have explored many different media. My repertoire includes: photography, digital image manipulation, collage, assemblage sculpture, drawing & painting, handmade paper and fiber arts. The idea will determine the medium used to depict it.

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