ABOUT THE ARTIST

 


Photography by: Joey Armstrong

 

 ARTIST STATEMENT

Vanessa Lam investigates the dynamics of form, space and the unconscious through collage and mixed media painting. She refers to Abstract Expressionism in her work through the use of gesture and automatic painting. It is an action-oriented process that involves a balance between chance and control. Although her mark-making may appear incidental, Lam loosely directs paint through the immediacy of brushwork and use of non-traditional painting tools. This spontaneity translates into her collage process. It provokes her to instinctively respond to materials for shape, texture, line and colour. Reciprocally, the element of juxtaposition in collage informs her creation of contrast through the placement of paint and the variance in mark-making in her painting process. It is this fluid movement between chance and control that influences her to examine both disciplines.

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THERE IS ANOTHER SKY

Lam’s works explore the tension between urban and organic environments through mixed media, painting and collage. She uses mark-making and gestures to express a strong sense of movement, and her works are in dialogue with the history of abstract art, while also considering contemporary industry and urban renewal projects. Lam’s gestures are intentionally contrasting, combining hard-edged geometry with organic forms, splatters and elements of chance. Her works evolve out of conscious observations, shaped by the atmosphere around her.

The title of the exhibition draws on an Emily Dickinson poem of the same name and, according to Lam, it suggests “the existence of another mysterious place where the sky, forest and leaves behave differently from the physical universe that we know and see.” In Lam’s work, the sky is a recurring theme and suggests the pictorial space as another realm where viewers can enter her work and experience their everyday environment anew.

 

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SCRAPYARD CHRONICLES

“In Scrapyard Chronicles Vanessa Lam utilizes mixed media assemblage to explore urban environments and everyday objects. Vanessa Lams use of a traditional color palettes (ochres and siennas), burlap, found papers and newspaper clippings visually echoes the collage work of Pablo Picasso and Georges Braques whose collage works had an incredible influence on western modern art. However unlike Picasso and Braque, Lam includes color digital photography, and expressionist gestural painting to her mixed media works.  Refuse under Lam’s care becomes the precious subject of her mixed media collages, when she takes her camera down to the local scrapyard gleefully documenting what society would rather not see, the excesses of western culture fueled by its gratuitous waste. Lam demonstrating the well-known cliché that “one persons trash is another persons treasure” juxtaposes degraded materials with the heroic tradition of painting. Playing with the signs of western art history and the local scrapyard, Lam is able to create inventive tableaus, which confound those two very different value systems. Working with societal residue Lam’s work defies the assumption that art should explore only heroic themes like life, death, state and religion.  In treating everyday mundane objects preciously the viewer is asked to reconsider the significance of everyday rituals and the forgettable things that surround us.”

Written by K. Leigh Tennant

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Mixed media painter Vanessa Lam creates dialogue between collage and expressive gestural painting. While pursuing a career in health care, she maintained an interest in art that began with studies at the University of British Columbia. Progressing this interest, Lam entered into Continuing Studies at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. For the past five years, Vanessa has sold and exhibited her work at artist-run and public galleries both locally and internationally.  She was awarded the Vancouver Regional Award and Grand Prize Award for the 2017 Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series. As part of her award, she collaborated with Artsy for her first solo exhibition in New York. Her work was also featured in Create! Magazine and Uppercase Magazine. Vanessa Lam was recently an artist-in-residence at Takt Projektraum in Berlin, Germany. She currently lives and works in Vancouver, British Columbia.

 

 

 

STUDIO SCENES

 

 

Photography by: Joey Armstrong