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MEMORIES, studio news
Each year artists from Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and Haida Gwaii have the opportunity to submit their artwork to the Sooke Fine Arts Show, the region’s premier juried art event, hosted by the Sooke Fine Arts Society. For 2018, Nancyanne Cowell was the recipient of the Design Choice Award for artwork that embodies an emphasis on technical and artistic accomplishment by featuring new methods and concepts that are advanced, inventive and display creativity.
What is the artistic approach? "In the silent love that holds life together, I created 'Between Tomorrow' as the birth of a dragon fly. By probing and extending the conventional boundaries of traditional ‘landscape’ painting, the orientation and physical format of the canvas-frame became as important as the brushwork. Conceptually, this stretched my way of thinking. Presenting a ‘landscape’ as a ‘portrait’ asks the viewer to relate to the paintings on a visceral level, thus eliciting an intuitive personal response and connection between body and subject. Compositionally, the painting is made of two assembled canvases, gently presenting a physical, horizontal seam where the canvases meet. This ‘joint’ — this architectural reconstruction —is both physical and subliminal as it references our built environment (two canvas frames combined to make one surface) and the horizon line (a fundamental element of traditional ‘landscape’ painting). Given our changing planet, I wanted to create the Earth’s crust in a more sacred and tangible form. Between Tomorrow is an offering that we may find possibility — towards a fresh understanding of being." - Nancyanne
Recently Nancyanne’s personal interest in British Columbia’s changing landscape led to an ambitious four-year public and academic art project, Edging Forward with Dr. Ann Dale. It included original contemporary paintings that interpreted the Edging Forward research on Canada’s changing climate. The project culminated in an extensive exhibition in the public art gallery at The Robert Bateman Centre in Victoria, British Columbia. Occupying two gallery rooms, this was the 2017 "Edging Forward" exhibit hosted by The Robert Bateman Centre, curated by Jaime Clifton-Ross. This contemporary and multi-disciplinary exhibit was a celebration of art, nature and the future of humanity in a more sustainable world. Producing new knowledge about climate change and how it is affecting the culture of Canadian communities is one of the core values of the curatorial work for this project. Each chapter theme of the Edging Forward book was featured — with writings by author Dr. Ann Dale and nine of Nancyanne's atmospheric landscape paintings, (the Edging Forward Art Collection).
Fernweh Press published a beautiful catalogue of the writings and the atmospheric landscape paintings that were created for the 2017 Edging Forward art collection and exhibit at The Robert Bateman Centre in Victoria. To view, please click on the circle.
Nancyanne's Carbon Thoughts painting was published on the front cover of Focus Magazine, September-October 2017 issue. A 'maple' seed falling through the canvas, sweeping the skies of Canada's Parliamentary Library and Peace Tower — knowledge and compassion. Here, I chose to center the seed itself, for the power of relationships to each other and to other species is the most important pathway for transforming human development.
Achieving Sustainable Community Development
"By responding to themes, legends and fairy tales within each chapter, I draw on relationships and interconnections between our built environment and the natural world. Water — as a symbol of renewal, cleansing and emotional energy; flows throughout the painting series. It is the source of all life. Making up most of the Earth and most of our bodies, water is a conduit between and amongst all species, communities and the biosphere. Painting beyond the conventional boundaries of the traditional 'landscape', my brushes found moments of emotion and wonder expressing these marvelous mysteries. These paintings are an offering that we may find possibility — towards a fresh understanding of being. With our planet deeply seeking care, perhaps this project will stir both our hearts and minds to find meaning and strengthen our connection with the world around us." - Nancyanne Cowell, Edging Forward Art Collection
SEASIDE Magazine, January 2014 issue, published an article Time Suspended: Dust Motes, Dragonflies and Dandelion Clocks by Stephanie Webb, BA, BFA, MA, Contemporary Art Critic. [..."Many speak about the beauty of Cowell's paintings; however, for me, these canvases are more. Something deeper is implied. For example, in Timewriter (pictured), swirling brushstrokes of deep burgundy vibrate with energy yet are held in check by the areas of blush pink and incandescent cinnamon. These quieter spaces, or pauses, encourage contemplation. Also, the inclusion of other elements and motifs, such as dots and dragonfly, is telling. I am reminded of days gone by — when there was time to watch dust motes dance in the sunbeams, when there were opportunities to stare lazily at darting dragonflies and when I really believed you could tell the time by blowing dandelion clocks — and I mourn my loss of innocence. The dragonfly is a gentle reminder that change is inevitable. Like the circle, these ancient beings are often seen as symbols of transformation and connote the cyclical nature of life."...]
This is from the first annual "Skies In Bloom" exhibit held at The Gallery, at Mattick's, a wonderful gallery in Cordova Bay, Saanich. These are a few memories from my first floral show. Amongst other interesting work from the gallery's artists, these are some of my floral paintings. Love the Japanese-inspired raku bell!
SEASIDE Magaine, 2013 Women to Watch, March 2013 Issue; RECYCLED VASES...IN THE GARDEN - Nancyanne Cowell, Artist. This was an extract, [..."I found this most charming vase in the recycle, and took it home with me. And deep inside, where no one could see, several cracks appeared. Most delicately, I washed the curves with soap and water until they shined. Surveying the garden, my inner voice flickered and listened to the tweak of the creative moment. I knew. I stood the vessel into its place, its home — its new passage to be, residing next to the immortal Iris. I put fresh water and flowers in it every day until the cracks in the surface began to heal. Sometimes the vase felt vulnerable when seen inside, but I would place more flowers in, and fill it with my favorite song. It would be transformed again. It knows it is strong enough for anything."...]
Nancyanne's painting Unveiling Your Voice is on the wall for this featured Victoria home in Y.A.M. Magazine, July/August 2011 edition, with the Feature Article: Custom Homes.