For the past 15 years, I’ve painted opulent European 18th and 19th century interiors. Designed as theatrical displays of status and power by wealthy aristocrats and bourgeoisie, these formerly private sites are now museums, providing entertainment and pleasure for touristic consumption, while also opening up a space for philosophical contemplation.
Although I use photography as a structural device through which I enter the painting process, with each piece I always seem to arrive at a point of crisis where I need to break free from the tyranny of the image. Through partly destroying the image I discover fresh solutions to painterly problems I set for myself.
Throughout my childhood and into my mid-twenties, I was a ballet dancer. That intense training of spatial awareness and interpretive questioning is still deeply stamped in my DNA. A painting to me is a kind of choreography; there’s a haptic dance that takes place from my optical experience of an image, through to the way my nervous system signals to my body how to translate and record it. As painter/dancer I tease out meaning through working and reworking, coming up to speed as I gain understanding, and making the last strikes with absolute commitment.
See paintings, sculptures, and ceramics from our Permanent Collection that “flow” in different ways. (Featured image: Val Nelson, Rush Hour 2 (2014), oil on canvas, 122 cm x 152 cm. Collection of Surrey Art Gallery, gift of the artist.)
Our world is marked by the ever-present movement of peoples, products, and ideas over vast distances and at rapid speeds. These movements and transmissions dictate the limits of life, the energetic potential of nature, the dynamics of economies, and the transformative potential of society and individuals.
Drawing from Surrey Art Gallery’s permanent collection, the over two dozen artworks presented address numerous themes, including transnational migration, the circulation of information and data, the force of waterways and weather systems, the physical movement of human bodies, and the transportation of materials and products to market by rail or by foot.
Some works, like Val Nelson’s painting Rush Hour 2 (2014), draw attention to the flow of people in our cities. In particular, Nelson’s work examines the relationship between the congestion of our roadways with our culture’s enthusiasm for grand detached homes and single-occupancy vehicles. Delving more into the movement of goods, Sara Graham’s Thornton Railyard, Surrey, BC (2015) uses miniature filigreed collage techniques to depict the contours and history of movement of one of British Columbia’s largest rail yards.
Soheila Esfahani’s The Immigrants: Homage to F.H. Varley (2015) reimagines a classic image of new immigrants arriving in Canada as seen in Varley’s c.1922 painting with found blue and white porcelain plates and custom ceramic decals. Brendan Lee Satish Tang’s brightly coloured clay vessel Manga Ormolu Version 4.1-a (2009) combines stylistic elements from Ming Dynasty era ceramics with techno-pop robotic elements reminiscent of Japanese anime, manga, toys, and video games. Out of Tang’s vessel gushes a black pumice-like ectoplasm meant to evoke both nineteenth-century spiritualism and twentieth-century science fiction. The potential for gushing black liquid of another sort is seen in Edward Burtynsky’s large-scale photographs showing shiny steel liquid natural gas pipelines zig-zagging across British Columbian landscapes.
The wide variety of images and objects make visible some of the most central conflicts and issue of our time.
The opening reception is the evening of April 14th.
We hope that you will be able to join us for the opening and post-opening gathering later that same evening.
I’m thrilled to have my work included in a strong roster of artists in support of Arts Umbrella’s excellent art programs for children at the Splash Art Auctionwhich takes place October 13, 2018 at Vancouver’ Fairmont Hotel.
Among the artists donating work are Fiona Ackerman, Douglas Coupland, Andy Dixon, Graham Gillmore, Angela Grossman, Marie Khouri, and Etienne Zack, to name just a few. The donated paintings, photography, and sculpture can be viewed at the beautiful Pendulum Gallery in the Hong Kong bank in downtown Vancouver on Georgia Street, across from the Vancouver Art Gallery. Preview runs through October 2.
Arts Umbrella provides the highest quality dance, theatre, and visual arts programming for young people and, for nearly 40 years, they have helped more than half a million children and youth explore their potential and build community. Each year, they serve more than 20,000 young people, reaching close to 16,000 through free community programs across Metro Vancouver. Arts Umbrella is also about to expand their programming across Canada.
SPLASH ART AUCTION
OCTOBER 13, 2018 Fairmont Hotel Vancouver 900 West Georgia Street
Tickets are sold out, which is great news, but there is a waitlistbeing taken and it’s possible to make absentee bids.
Make a date with your painting practise! This is a great way to get your process moving forward, by committing to six 3-hour once-per-week painting sessions. With Val’s helpful tutelage, tackle technical and conceptual concerns in the company of like-minded painters. You will work on a personal project during the class–bring a project to completion (very empowering!) or begin something new. Each session will begin with a drawing warm-up exercise in your sketchbook. Arrive early to set up (2pm and later) so you can make the most of your time!
I will have room for only 5 students, so don’t delay 🙂 I look forward to seeing you soon!
OPEN STUDIO PAINTING WORKSHOP Feb/March 2018
Six Friday afternoons: 2:30-5:30pm
Dates: Feb 16, 23, March 2, 9, 16, 23
Location: Val Nelson Studio, 1000 Parker Street, #322b
Pre-requisite: This is not a beginners’ class. Some painting experience recommended. Oil or acrylic.
Tuition: $350 includes GST
To Register: $75 deposit secures your spot. E-transfer, cheque, or hand-delivered cash all acceptable. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org
Cancellation policy: Please note that one weeks’ notice is required for cancellation with full refund of deposit. No refund for last-minute cancellations unless I can fill your spot.
Questions?: To determine if this class is for you, send me an email or call me: email@example.com 778-865-2650
Are you thinking that you would like a drawing to brighten your space? Between some of my larger paintings, I like to put my attention towards drawings. Please contact me for a private art viewing, or to put aside a piece for you.
It’s that time of year again! I look forward to sharing with you some recent work in my studio at the Eastside Culture Crawl, where I’ll be showing gestural line drawings and paintings of baroque interiors, as well as intimate Paris portrait drawings and self-portraits.
Six-hour trip on Nov. 8 will be led by Surrey Art Gallery staff
SURREY — A tour bus organized by Surrey Art Gallery is headed to Vancouver to visit studios where “artmaking magic happens,” on Wednesday, Nov. 8.
The six-hour daytime Contemporary Art Bus Tour, led by SAG curator Jordan Strom and curatorial researcher Rhys Edwards, will make stops at six studios on Vancouver’s Eastside, including those operated by artists Lyse Lemieux, Elizabeth McIntosh, Ian Wallace, Tiko Kerr, Val Nelson and Judson Beaumont.
“This is a fabulous, up-close opportunity to talk to several critically acclaimed artists about how they make art and organize their studios to facilitate their creative process,” notes a post on the city’s website.
“On this tour, you’ll experience a real diversity of art mediums, styles, and studios while getting to know some prominent Vancouver artists.”
The fee is $39 for the tour, designed for those aged 16 and up. Tour runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The event is presented by Surrey Art Gallery in partnership with Surrey Art Gallery Association, or SAGA, a non-profit society.
I’ve been researching portraiture, including a series of painted and drawn self-portraits, and also some drawn portrait studies I made in Paris of people I met there this past Spring. All but one of these were painted from life.