Marney Ward presents: The Tangible Presence of Light
April 26 - May 25, 2019. Photos of Opening & Artist's Talk on April 26 now on webpage.
The Chapel Gallery at St Matthias Church, 600 Richmond Ave, Victoria. V8S 3Y7
Gallery Hours: Saturday, Tuesday and Thursday 10am-2pm. Artist in Attendance on Saturdays.
Marney Ward enjoyed her Artist Talk on April 26 at the Chapel Gallery. “Researching my opening comments,” says Ward, “I saw how all the threads of my life are bound together.” She views her successful career as part of a tapestry woven by life experiences. Ward’s literary education, eastern studies, meditation practice and family history all combine in the making of her exquisite light infused paintings. Ward’s love of flowers bloomed early in her life. Her mother designed three glorious gardens while raising her children in North Vancouver. As a child Ward luxuriated in these verdant sanctuaries and recalls her mother’s words: “I feel closer to god in a garden than anywhere else, I guess that makes me a pagan.” While a practicing Anglican, her mother was keenly aware of her connection to the natural world.
From her father, a medical doctor, she drew a deep respect for the sciences, including the study of consciousness. The source of consciousness is an ongoing philosophical and medical enigma. Ward’s investigative mind wanted to understand the interconnectivity of consciousness, perception and creativity. So much so that she entered the sciences hoping to become a brain surgeon. Determined to use a scalpel to plumb the mysteries of the human mind.
Fortunately for us, Ward became enamoured with the arts and went on to complete her PhD on the poetry and art of William Blake. “Songs of Innocence and Experience” first printed in 1789, is a collection of 19 poems by Blake engraved with artwork. “Blake spent a lifetime studying states of consciousness and the human imagination,” she says. Within the biblical myth of creation, Blake saw the loss of innocence and gaining of experience as the quintessential human journey through divisiveness and strife. For Blake, Christ becomes the redemptive force that returns us to a state of innocence, newly grounded by experiential wisdom.
Ward is also well-educated in Eastern philosophies. While completing her PHD in the seventies, she studied with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in Europe. “Meditation allows both sides of the brain to work together,” she says, “and has many long term health benefits.” She taught the skills of Transcendental Meditation for ten years. Ward has meditated twice a day for close to fifty years, a practice that infuses her life with inner bliss. She believes that connecting with our divine essence brings peace and joy into our lives. It is this inner light that Ward strives to communicate in her floral paintings.
The radiance of Ward’s floral paintings came to the attention of the Chapel Gallery. Co-curators Nicky Rendell and Jill Ehlert approached Ward to exhibit. They saw her jubilant paintings as a perfect spring tonic after the sombre season of Lent. Ward happily accepted and applauds the inclusive mandate of the Chapel Gallery. All faiths and belief systems are welcome. “The world needs more understanding between different religions,” she says, “there are many paths to the divine.” The artist believes her paintings offer a spiritual dimension sometimes lacking in contemporary society. They offer a positive focus for our fast paced and troubled world.
Ward’s dynamic career includes an international following. Her facebook page has over 20,000 likes. Many local and international print publications have profiled her inspirational artworks. The May/June 2019 issue of Watercolour Artist, profiles Ward in an eight-page cover story called A Meditation in Light. She’s received more that 20 awards in juried exhibitions. Ward is a honoured member of the Federation of Canadian Artists and Society of Canadian artists. In 2014 she launched an on-line course with demonstrations and critiques. Locally, Winchester Galleries represented Ward, and she participates in the Art Rental program and annual paint-in at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. Butchart Gardens sells her cards and originals.
Making a painting is a multi-step process that can take several months Each artwork evolves from a photo taken by the artist with a macro lens. She tries to backlight the flower with horizontal sunlight whenever possible. Her own garden, local parks, and Butchart Gardens are favourite haunts. After the photo and watercolour paper are gridded, she draws details on to the paper. “I like to work late at night when there are no distractions,” she says. “Once the paper is wet, you can’t leave it.” The artist uses wet on wet for background settings and flowers. For detailed work on blossoms she works wet on dry. The unpainted white areas of the watercolour produce the illusion of light, so it's important to leave these areas untouched.
Ward finds the multiple layering of transparent colour perfect for rendering blossoms. Their delicate beauty emerges from subtle gradations of hue and value. Flowers combine the fragility and strength of nature’s bountiful variety. “Each type of bloom emits a unique presence I try to capture,” she says. The artist uses her painting skills and emotional acuity to focus the viewer’s attention. Like buzzing bees, we are invited to perceive, and perhaps sip, the mystical nectar at the heart of creation.
For more information about the Chapel Gallery
at St Matthias visit: Chapel Gallery
Marney Ward welcomes your interest in her artwork:
Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit her website here: Marney's website
Below are photos of the Opening & Artist's Talk on April 26 at The Chapel Gallery at St Matthias Church
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