It was an invitation to tea that started it. The creative collaboration between Donna May Balma and Nadina Tandy began in the fall of 2016 as a whimsical thing, an amusement. Over cookies and tea and talk of art and life they began playing the surrealist parlour game, ‘Exquisite Corpse’. Originally based on a collaborative poetry game, ‘Exquisite Corpse’ was adapted by members of the Parisian surrealist movement in an attempt to ‘draw a poem’ of unexpected ideas and imagery.
In the days and weeks that followed, illustrated heads, torsos and feet began flying back and forth between the two artists in decorated Mail Art envelopes, dutifully delivered by Canada Post.
Once each received the other’s contribution, the receiver would add to the previously drawn, scratched or collaged, but hidden image. This addition was then folded and concealed and mailed back to the previous contributor for them to add to. And so it went.
The result was a series of images of unexpected, but connected expression of colour and form. Now, this collection of ‘Corpses’ has grown into a village of surreal imagery and an unusual, unedited and beautiful body of work created by two artists of imagination and talent.
Donna Balma is an innovative and prolific Canadian artist and is a member of the West Coast Surrealist Group. Her work is profoundly affected by nature and her internal vision. Donna has established herself as an imaginative artist who’s work has been variously described as fantasy, singular, outsider, visionary, naive, classical, folk, cosmic pop and surreal while she considers it simply painting the reality of her dreams and fantasies.
As a young child, Nadina Tandy used to draw on every surface she could find: inside book jackets, on door jambs, the underside of tables.“I had this constant impulse to make my internal world visible.” Currently living on the Wild West Coast of B.C. Nadina continues to make her internal world visible. The essential nature of Tandy’s work in various media might be summed up as forceful sensitivity, a combination of elements that leads to her vibrant and moving art.