Artist's Statement: Liz Charsley-Jory on her Canadian residency at Dulwich Picture Gallery

By Ben Miller | 19 April 2013

Artist's Statement: Liz Charsley-Jory, the Canadian Artist-in-Residence at Dulwich Picture Gallery, on taking North America to South London...

A photo of a female artist smiling in a gallery
© Courtesy Dulwich Picture Gallery
"The Canadian Friends of Dulwich Picture Gallery decided they wanted to extend the impact of the Painting Canada exhibition. So they interviewed for a Canadian artist with teaching experience to ‘celebrate and promote Canadian art and culture’.

I heard about it by chance and applied. I spent the year giving landscape-focused workshops to a wide range of students – aged from three to 90 – representing the full range of programmes the gallery caters to.

I come from the west coast of Canada, an area dominated by dense forests with a backdrop of mountains, surrounded on all sides by the sea.

I have always made landscape drawings of some sort, influenced by the effect of living in an area of such raw natural beauty.

Moving to London and away from the sea, I turned to the Thames, my surrogate ocean, for subject material.

Paddling my kayak along the less-tidal stretches of the river gives me access to a quiet world of boats and trees and their reflections on the river’s surface.

My drawings reflect a need to escape the hectic pace of city life and to make time for contemplation of the natural world.

I work from photographs taken from this water-level perspective. I endeavour to capture the shifting patterns of light and shadow on the undulating surface of the river, freezing a moment in time for closer scutiny.

I chose charcoal to depict the river in order to heighten the contrast of its reflections, and to remove the muddy unsightliness of its usual colour.

My drawings of the fields and forests on the islands of western British Columbia, and of areas of the west country of England, are mementos of my personal history.

They reference the work of 19th century romantic painters with undercurrents of the sublime.

They are purposely devoid of intrusive figures, allowing the viewer complete privacy of contemplation.

They entice the viewer in: into the forest, the water, the field, offering escape, detachment from the mundane world, and suspension from the passage of time."

More pictures:

An image of a painting of long thin white trees within a lush green forest
Alders, Anderson Drive. Hornby Island, British Columbia© Liz Charsley-Jory
An image of a painting of brown trees in a green forest
Along the trail, Helliwell. Helliwell Park, Hornby Island, British Columbia© Liz Charsley-Jory
An image of blue water reflecting
Early Evening, August. Anderson beach, Hornby Island, British Columbia© Liz Charsley-Jory
An image of trees in a green forest
Windfall, China Beach. Vancouver Island, British Columbia© Liz Charsley-Jory
An image of green trees beyond a gravel path
Near Denman Island Ferry. Denman Island, British Columbia© Liz Charsley-Jory
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