March 17 – April 15, 2023

Jean Bradbury

Stewards and Defenders

Artist Talk + Reception: Friday March 17th at 5pm

Jean Bradbury’s portraits are life-sized paintings on cut plywood depicting the sitter’s relationship to the land, and the land’s significance to the sitter. From the land defenders at Fairy Creek logging blockade to the arborists cutting trees, Jean is interested in honouring the environments that these subjects find themselves within. Working with a scale to life, these works are simultaneously portraits and landscapes.

Jean Bradbury has been a painter of nature and landscape for many years. Her work celebrates the wonder of our natural world and highlights native species in the hope in learning to love something we will seek to protect it. But in the past couple of years this has seemed inadequate to her urgent concerns about our relationships to the land. She has begun to paint people in relationship to the environment – and specifically people who take strong stances about protecting the environment. She began with a self-portrait depicting a piece of land she had just purchased on Bowen Island.

What does it mean to own land?

I bought a wooded lot on Bowen Island. I plan to build a small house and studio. I have begun painting my thoughts about what it means to “own” land. It is unceded First Nations territory. I will try to steward the plants and animals that have fallen into my care. I will try to think about the privilege that allowed me to “own” a piece of this planet. I feel excited. Conflicted. Joyful. Lucky. I will eventually find housing security here. I will paint my feelings and my experiences. I hope you follow along and help me figure out what it all means.

Jean was born in the Shetland Islands of Scotland, grew up in New Brunswick, and lived in Seattle for 25 years. She now lives on Bowen Island.