Chemainus artist Trisha Oldfield is unveiling her new series, Northern Dames, in a virtual opening reception at Nanaimo’s Gallery Merrick. (Photo courtesy Marley Ollett)

Collage artist presents arctic glamour in live-streamed Nanaimo exhibit

Trisha Oldfield of Chemainus to show ‘Northern Dames’ at Gallery Merrick

After living seasonally in Mexico for more than 12 years, Chemainus artist Trisha Oldfield and her family are now living full time in Canada and that geographical change is reflected in her new body of work.

Oldfield, whose work hangs in a Baja peninsula art gallery, said she still loves Mexico and is “obsessed with everything down there,” but in her new collection, Northern Dames, Oldfield sheds the vibrant, flowery designs of her Mexican oeuvre.

“When we decided to make the move, I was like, ‘You know, I really want to create the same type of series that I can really immerse myself in, but it to be about Canada,” she said.

Oldfield was raised in the Yukon and Northwest Territories, and in the mixed-media collages of Northern Dames she draws from memories of her glamourous grandmother and the the stark-white snowscapes of her youth.

“The majority of each piece is white … and as a child growing up there that was so much of our life. Travelling on the roads, just that blanket of snow constantly,” she said. “So a huge difference compared to the Mexico [series] where white was just a pop every once in a while.”

Oldfield said there were no chain stores or traffic lights when she was growing up in the arctic in the ’70s and clothing had to be ordered via catalogue. In defiant contrast to that austerity, her grandmother would “always look like a million bucks” with her sunglasses and fur coat. Oldfield said that got her thinking about combining that sense of style with the imagery and the colours of the North and some recognizable Canadian motifs.

“I just started playing with that and I have about five pieces … so it’s the beginning of this series,” she said. “I’m very excited about it.”

Oldfield will debut Northern Dames at Nanaimo’s Gallery Merrick in a virtual opening reception broadcast live on the gallery’s Facebook and Instagram pages. This is Oldfield’s first time exhibiting her work on Vancouver Island in nearly a decade.

“For the Northern Dames series I have beautiful photography of the northern lights and then I’ve painted old photographs to add more Canadian spin,” she said. “For example, some of their clothing I turned into the Hudson’s Bay stripes and the red mitts just to keep adding to the Canadiana of it.”

After living in the territories, Oldfield moved to northern Alberta, followed by the B.C. Interior before settling in the mid-Island. She said she plans to expand her series to capture each part of Western Canada that she’s called home.

“Every time I do another piece it gets better and better and then I get more and more ideas, which is exciting,” Oldfield said.

WHAT’S ON … Trisha Oldfield virtual reception for Northern Dames streams live on Gallery Merrick’s Facebook and Instagram pages on Friday, April 3 at 7 p.m.



arts@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Art

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cowichan couple won’t self-isolate after returning from overseas

New law requires 14 days of self-isolation when returning to Canada

Volunteer Cowichan encouraging anyone in need to reach out

Programs available for seniors but also others in the community who need support

MacGregor addresses federal response to COVID-19

Cowichan-Malahat-Langford MP spoke to constituents via Facebook

Getting the runaround on reporting quarantine violation

Non-actions speak louder than words during COVID-19 pandemic

Trudeau rejects mandatory stay-at-home order for now; COVID deaths up

The virus has now infected more than 10,000 Canadians and cost 130 their lives

Long list of events disrupted by COVID-19 around the community

Challenging situation affecting fundraisers, entertainment, sports and more

Cowichan couple won’t self-isolate after returning from overseas

New law requires 14 days of self-isolation when returning to Canada

Family uses social media to help truckers find places to eat during pandemic

Restaurants Serving Drivers in Western Canada seeks to provide a list of places open for drivers

Advocates sound alarm over COVID-19 limiting access to contraceptives, abortion

The COVID-19 outbreak has hit sexual-health services from almost every angle

B.C. health officer says homemade masks may prevent spread of COVID-19 to others

Practising physical distancing, frequent hand washing and resisting touching your face are proven methods

B.C.’s senior home staff measures show results in COVID-19 battle

Dr. Bonnie Henry’s order restricts care aides to one facility

Independent investigation praises RCMP actions in Vancouver Island suicide attempt

Man hurt in incident that took place near Nanoose Bay in September of 2019

Most Read