September 10 – October 10, 2021
(Large Gallery)

Vicky Marshall

Aftermath

Known for her distinctive expressionistic technique and subjects drawn from everyday life, Vicky Marshall is one of Vancouver’s most recognized painters. In this new series of oil paintings on canvas and multi-media works on paper, Marshall revisits a theme that has held her interest at various points throughout her artistic career: the British Columbia landscape. Produced over the course of one year, the new works in Forest broken down analyze the coastal forest floor, translating its seasonal forms into structured compositions at the border between attentive representation and expressive abstraction.

Marshall notes of these works that they are concerned most with “the effects of filtered light coming down through the forest canopy.” Taking as their subject the logs, stumps, boulders and living tree growth that typify BC’s forest interiors, Marshall’s images engage with modernist painting traditions, turning the classic Canadian landscape idiom into a vehicle for contemporary formal exploration. At the same time, Marshall’s imagery offers a reflection on the impact that humans have on the landscape, acknowledging nature’s fragility in the face of destructive practices while simultaneously celebrating its extraordinary resilience. 

Since addressing landscape as part of my art practice, my emotional response to the forces of nature have merged with aesthetic consideration and a visceral, intuitive use of materials to best convey the primal essence of the natural world. 

In the Artist’s Words: 

My current work analyzes landscapes altered by both natural disaster and human interference and is the result of several trips to areas of B.C which have been most profoundly changed, notably by forest fire. Of particular interest to me was the stark contrast between the emerging new growth and the surrounding bleakness. 

These observations are not new to me having explored this theme while living and working in B.C’s Kootenay region for much of the 1980’s. I became aware in those surroundings, that there has always existed violent upheaval in nature from either man made or natural causes, however the imbalance resulting from human impact seems to loom larger and with greater frequency in what has been called the Anthropocene Era in which we currently exist. 

On graduating from art school in 1975, Vicky moved to Vancouver’s Gastown area which then had warehouse studio space available for artists. She continued to live and work there for many years and that experience, which included dynamic interaction with other artists, greatly benefitted her formative working years. For the first years of her career, her work addressed the figure and her imagination was fed by the colourful local inhabitants of the area. During the mid 80’s, her parents moved to BC’s Kootenay region where she discovered a love of nature and began to paint landscape, both plein air and on a larger scale in the various shacks and cabins I could find to inhabit. In 2002 during a visit her my parents who had moved to Gibsons, she and her husband fell in love with the Sunshine Coast and in 2004 moved here permanently to live and work.