Sun Over Swamp
Rebecca Brewer, Flood Lights, 2023, oil on aluminum. Photo: Rachel Topham Photography. Courtesy Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver.

Sun Over Swamp

Nanaimo Art Gallery, Nanaimo, BC - April 27 – June 23

by Christine Clark

Named for a 1964 Takao Tanabe painting, the exhibition Sun Over Swamp features variations on abstract painting by five highly accomplished Canadian artists, including Tanabe (b. 1926) as well as Toronto-based Azadeh Elmizadeh (b. 1987), winner of the 2020 Joseph Plaskett Award in Painting; Rebecca Brewer (b. 1983), winner of the 2011 RBC Canadian Painting Competition; Gailan Ngan (b. 1971), ceramicist and daughter of the late Wayne Ngan; and Rita Letendre (1928–2021), who began her career painting with the Montreal abstractionists the Automatists in the 1950s.

These artists, working on canvas, linen, wood and ceramic, variously explore the environmental footprint of their materials, storytelling, mythology, artificial intelligence and embodied learning. Intertwined with abstract painting is a careful consideration of the life systems that exist together here on Earth.

Curator Jesse Birch writes: “Many artists who work with abstraction do so to process experiences that are not easy to understand or represent. Artists have also long used abstraction as a means to negotiate with the immensity of our connections with global ecology.… Artists in Sun Over Swamp process their lived experiences as beings living in interconnected ecosystems of unfathomable scope, through very specific points of view. While all of the artists work with abstract painting, the paths they follow and their approaches to the medium are very different.”

Opening reception April 26, 7pm

Panel talk April 27, 3pm

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