This series emerged from Marlene Lowden’s captivation with female Canadian artists, many of whom are significantly under-recognized in the Canadian art canon. Their contributions deserve to be celebrated as singular expressions of dedication, endurance, and rebelliousness. With a desire to educate herself about the lives of female artists in Canada’s history, Lowden studied the lives and practices of skilled female artists from several regions, each with diverse cultural heritages. She was awed by the challenges they faced and the sacrifices they made to pursue art as their life’s purpose.
Lowden’s encounters with this work transformed her understanding of Canadian art history. Thus this series operates as an homage to those artists whose work was overlooked and turned aside, even as it helped to shape the Canadian aesthetic landscape we know today.
The series is titled “A Blind Contour Homage” because this style of drawing provides the base for each piece. It allows Lowden to study each of the historical works closely, giving her the freedom to recreate them with her own marks and gestures. Lowden then imbues her own stylized process upon each piece, balancing the original features of the painting with her own in an almost collaborative process.
“I hope my audience comes away invigorated by new knowledge about Canada’s female artists; I want the names of Odjig, Clark, Pootoogook, and Heward to become as familiar to them as Harris, Varley, Bush, and Town,” says Lowden.
Due to the types of conversations these pieces are designed to spark, Lowden hopes to inspire a new generation of youth interested in art history, compelling adults and children alike to investigate what still lies within the shadows of Canada’s artistic cultural fabric.
We are rightly conscious to address various groups’ and individuals’ under-representation in our present and future. We can only do this meaningfully by addressing the same in our history.
These images are works in the series that is still in progress.
The series will be exhibited at the Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre, Nov 1-22, 2019 and Place des Arts in Coquitlam, Feb 14 – March 12 2020.