Monday, October 23, 2023

w h a t . h o m e coming to Nex̱wlélex̱wem/Bowen Island November 10

I'm SO excited to finally be installing this immersive show in the community where it began. The first person to volunteer was my father. The next was my brother, and from there my video documentation of people talking about their experiences of home, belonging, and community spread into the wider community, and eventually to the mainland and Vancouver Island. What a massive learning process this was for me!! Not only the technical side of developing ways to intersect stories and landscapes by film, projection, and fabric, but learning to ask questions that promote the sharing of stories we don't often tell. I made many friends while interviewing for this work. And in an extreme stroke of luck I got to develop and exhibit the first iteration of it in Amsterdam! Which was odd, since all of the protagonists of the work are living in Western Canada. But the Dutch audience responded with passion, causing me to realize that it doesn't really matter where we live; feelings of belonging and community are essential to humanness. 

So here comes  w h a t . h o m e  to Nex̱wlélex̱wem/Bowen Island!! It's opening on my birthday, so I'm making some wild (local) needle teas and cookies to share. I hope you'll come. 

Lots of further links and info about this show are on the  w h a t . h o m e  page, but here's the essential info:

w h a t . h o m e

The importance of place, community and belonging in our increasingly globalized world

The Hearth Gallery
430 Bowen Island Trunk Rd.
Bowen Island, BC
(a 20-minute ferry ride from West Vancouver, and a 1- to 2-minute walk from the dock)

Nov 10 – Nov 25, 2023
Wednesdays – Mondays, 11am-5pm

Evenings for this show only:
5-8pm, Nov. 11, 17, 18, 24 and 25th

Opening event: November 10, 6-8pm
Oh yeah... and those forest paintings from the next post below will be on display during this show, as well. 😊

What's for Sale this Holiday Season!

It's holiday shopping time, which for me means it's almost my birthday... and that is when I finally get to discover what my partner bought for me at the Gibson's Public Art Gallery a few months ago!!! Woohooooo!!! I love supporting other artists, and I love when people support them in my honour. 🧡 So increasingly I'm realizing that my art is also a commodity, and of course I love to be supported in what I do! 

People ask me what's for sale. Well... pretty much everything's "for sale", except my soul -- hahaha! But maybe you'd like a list of what's popular. I happily oblige. Here's a selection of things of various prices, to hopefully inspire your gift-giving, or just to fill your own home with some love and thought-provoking interest.

To Purchase: Please contact me at emilyvanartist at gmail dot com to arrange for e-transfer (or cash) and pick up or shipping! Of course, if you'd like to visit the studio and see these works in person before purchasing, that's always an option. Email me to arrange!

Forests - these are so fresh that you can't pick up until late November, when the paint's cured, and they're finished their residence at the Hearth Gallery, on Nex̱wlélex̱wem/Bowen Island. They're also so popular that one of them sold before I finished it (yikes--scary for me as an artist, but also super exciting, as I finished it specifically for the person who bought it!)

Left: "Cedars Dancing in the Autumn", 12x36 inches, $632 CAD
Right: Licorice Ferns Embracing Cooler Weather", 12x36 inches, $632 CAD

"Late September Catching Wind off the Sea"
18x72 inches, $1496 CAD

Each of these is 4x12 inches; $248 CAD
Titles, left to right: "Cedars in September", "Licorice Ferns in September", "Dancing Trees", "Licorice Ferns on Fallen Maple".

Change/Able - these are rearrangeable paintings. The concept is that you can change the art on your walls whenever you like; rearrange, reconfigure, or just turn a piece. Make your own art from a set of hand-painted unique tiles. It's like psychological growth: nobody else is working with the exact set of experiences we are as individuals, and we can experiment and direct our own growth, every day. The smallest ones come on a panel so they're very easy to hang (like a regular wired painting), but the larger ones come with hanging instructions, so you can blend them gorgeously with your own wall. 

"Wash Away the Rain", 7 canvases 4x12 inches each, $760 CAD

"Devil's Dream", 13 canvases, 3x3 inches each, $317 CAD

"Fingal's Cave", 13 canvases, 3x3 inches each, $317 CAD

"Invasive Family Tree", 24 canvases, 6x6 inches each, $1640 CAD

"Mayflies", 9 canvases, 4x4 inches each, $488 CAD

"The Instability of Memory", 16 canvases, 10x10 inches each, $2440 CAD

"A Universe Inside Me", 18 canvases, 4x4 inches each, mounted on panel 30x24 inches, $776 CAD

Abstracts - some of these are painted to a particular song, the lyrics of which inform the title. These are my visual/emotional interpretation of the stories in the songs. Others are my interpretation of a feeling.

"Tree of Life 2", 15x30 inches, $650 CAD

"Blue 1: A Meditation on Phosphorescence", 30x24 inches, $920 CAD

"Do You See Me? (Does Anyone Care?)", 16x40 inches, $952 CAD

"Green 1: A Meditation on Phosphorescence", 36x24 inches, $1064 CAD

"Keep Your Eyes Open, Mama; We're Almost Home", 16x20 inches, $520 CAD

"Sit With Me and Watch the Sun Yellow Behind the Smoke", 4x12 inches, $248 CAD

"Drink Before the War", 20x24 inches, $680 CAD

"Sun Setting on the Avenue 2", three canvases, 4x12 inches each, $344 CAD

"Up Behind and Away Again", 3 canvases, 12x24 inches each, $1280 CAD

Vegetation - all oil on canvas. I don't paint these much anymore, but sometimes I just need a little joy!

"Thank You for Sheltering Me 3", 36x48 inches, $1928 CAD

"Spring Came Early and Surprised the Bluebells 4", 36x24 inches, $1064 CAD

"Cherry Blossoms 1, 2, 3", 3 canvases, 15x30 inches each, $1550 CAD

"You Opened Your Eyes Like the Morning", 20x24 inches, $680 CAD
"It Was in the Time of Dancing Leaves that You Were Born", 24x24 inches, $776 CAD

Portrait Commissions - hire me to create a graphite, oil or acrylic portrait of you or your loved one. Having a portrait painted is an experience as much as an outcome. Price includes a photo-shoot with me: You get some photos, and I get to know the subjects I'm working with, which makes the portrait much more accurate and meaningful. Pricing ranges from about $500 to $1000, depending on size and photoshoot.

All of the following images are privately owned. None are for sale!


Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Disinformation and meanness. What is going on?!

"Escaping the Nest" (detail)  E. van Lidth de Jeude

It just hit me that maybe ten years ago I was worried about the rise of misinformation on social media. I saw it once in a while; people posting things from known biased sources, or just stating information they assumed was correct but wasn’t. Extensive fact-checking became more necessary than I had felt it was, before, since even trusted sources seemed infiltrated with presumption and error. Or maybe I was just becoming more aware. 

Recently, though, it feels like disinformation is the norm, and complicated with some serious cruelty. On the bigger social media groups I’m a part of (chicken-keeping, canning, foraging, mushrooms, birds, education, etc.) it’s just absolutely normal for somebody to post a question and receive 30–70% wrong answers. It seems people have just become accustomed to stating an uneducated guess as fact. (And seriously — for canning, foraging, mushrooms, chickens, and schooling, this can lead to disaster, for example when someone asks for ID on a poisonous mushroom, and half the responses say it’s edible, and most of the other half are phallus jokes.) And then there are the people berating each other, not just for being wrong, but for correcting the mistakes, as well. Or for totally unrelated things. Like when said phallus jokes become linked to anti-trans attacks. It gets awful out there.

THEN there’s the morality war. There is a propensity for people (mostly white men, I’m sorry to say), to stick their uneducated opinions into posts about LGBTQ2IA+, indigenous, children’s rights, women’s rights, and BIPOC issues… again, as facts. Many of these “facts” are colonial constructs held by our society because they keep white men in power (and because the rest of us think they ensure our continued prosperity). But many are now also just lies made up by conspiracy theorists (like all the supposed chemical, psychological and media conspiracies to make our kids gay or trans or supportive of minority rights…) Sure, there are many sides to every story, but some things are actually not happening. I’m not even getting into the massive quagmire of people in power (often leaders of large corporate enterprises, politicians and religious leaders) using minorities as stepping-stones to more power. Some of us use these crimes as security for our privilege, without ever questioning ourselves.

In my art life this takes shape as criticism and fear: Am I appropriating symbols that are proprietary to a marginalized group that I’m not a member of? Rainbow spectra and feathers were important in my work before I became aware of appropriation, and it’s been hard to sideline them, even though I know how important it is. Even harder was the bickering between artists and members of the LGBTQ2IA+ and BIPOC communities. Oh yeah, and the outright hate-filled rhetoric between some feminists of different stripes. These issues make communicating online really fraught, even without the added question of misinformation or disinformation.

What is going on?! Why is our culture disintegrating into this kind of nastiness and ignorance? As a long-time unschooling parent who notices the lack of this behaviour in the unschooling groups, it’s easy to feel like it might have some kind of relationship with our education system. Especially since unschooling mindset is one of curiosity, acceptance and learning, and unfortunately the compulsory, competitive nature of our school system can provoke a rebellion against curiosity and learning, as well as a propensity for bullying tactics. The rebellion against understanding and the bullying are apparent in a lot of the online attacks I’ve seen. But I think that, in the bigger picture, there’s a deeper reason. We’re experiencing a massive cultural shift. Our minds are opening. And that’s just messy.

We’re threatened from all angles as climate change changes every single foundation our cultures were built on (predictability of seasons, harvests, weather, migration, and therefore employment, finances, housing, healthcare, and even cultural norms). So in this state of growing societal panic, some people are trying to keep things as they were (ignoring the fact that the great majority of underprivileged people have already been suffering these unpredictabilities forever). Some are taking opportunities to fight for rights long-denied to them. Some, like me, are gleefully running headlong into the change, wanting to create a new and better world out of the chaos, and ALL of us are rather ungrounded in the process. There’s so much change, so much fear and threat, that we’re all just kind of scrabbling for understanding all the time. I guess it’s not surprising that a lot of people are confused about the facts, in this kind of chaos! I am too. Everything seems to take so much research now! And patience, tact, and caution! And in the rush of this change, and the feeling of urgency everywhere, it’s not surprising we don’t feel we have time to fact-check or to come to an understanding of the issues we’re talking about before making assumptions and proclamations. 

So it’s frustrating, and sometimes even extremely upsetting, when people resort to cruelty because they feel threatened or inadequate in the face of such big unfathomable change. But it’s necessary that we remain patient and kind, reminding ourselves that these actions are a part of our societal growth. And I’m choosing to see it as a great sign that big change is happening. As a woman with many friends and family in marginalized communities, I’m glad to see my own and other people’s rights have a chance to be respected. As a person living on earth, I’m glad we are making changes that might make our future survivable! Maybe we can all take deep breaths and remind ourselves that everybody is confused and frightened. And maybe saying lots of wrong things is part of our process. We’re learning to learn and communicate! Real learning with an open heart and mind is how we will adapt to our new civilization. It’s how we will all grow to meet the challenge of a world none of us have lived in, before.