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Bow Biennial: Four Perspectives


OCTOBER 20, 2023 – JANUARY 21, 2024

Since the 1970s, the Bow Valley has developed from a small enclave of craft makers and artists to a burgeoning, and successful population of artists. Along with the Whyte Museum, this creative community is supported by other non-profit organizations, studios, and commercial galleries whose encouragement and commitments reinforce the cultural cohesiveness of the region.  Elevation Gallery in Canmore is one such operation by which the exhibiting artists Amy Dryer, Wanda Ellerbeck, Bard Fyvie, and Eileen Murray are represented.

Artist Bios & Statements:

Amy Dryer attended the Alberta College of Art and Design, the Glasgow School of Art (Scotland), and the Fine Art program at Mount Allison University.  She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2006, returning to Calgary to start her professional arts practice. In 2014, she was the among The Top 40 Under 40 Recipients chosen by Avenue Magazine, and in 2008, she was on the cover of Avenue Magazine as ‘Calgary’s Best.’ She has been featured as a ‘Profiled Artist’ in both Essential Magazine and Galleries West Magazine.  She completed an artist residency at Emma Lake Saskatchewan in 2009, and at the Banff Centre in 2013. Amy’s paintings are in a number of collections throughout Canada, and the US, including the Alberta Foundation for the Arts public art collection.

Barb Fyvie was born in Calgary, Alberta. After completing a BFA at the University of Alberta in 1984 she worked in design and education alongside her painting studio practice. In 2015, she was awarded a Public Art Commission by The Town of Canmore. Her work can be found in collections across Canada, and in the U.S. and Europe. Barb also mentors emerging artists and teaches painting classes and her JoyMakers expressive arts program in the Bow Valley.

“Over the course of my career I have worked as a graphic designer, art director, animator, multi-media developer, instructional designer, visual artist and painting instructor. My fascination with exploring possibilities has led me to a diverse painting practice. Painting is my perfect life long endeavour as the learning is virtually endless. The thread that runs through my work is my observation of human interaction with wilderness, here in the Bow Valley and in other wild places I have visited. For me, working non-objectively is like working in a science lab filled with continuous experiments. Wilderness can be a place of self-discovery and the approach I have to my work mirrors those acts of discovery offered up by the natural world.”

Wanda Ellerbeck is presently interested in the juxtaposition of strength and fragility as these thoughts embody the shifting atmosphere of nature and life. Her creative practise moves across many materials and ideas. The colours, textures, and forms reveal themselves through her materials leaving her to search for the core of her work - the unedited version.

Eileen Murray: "My work is an inquiry into domestic space using the language of painting and ceramics. What makes a house a home? How does one evoke a sense of history, memory, legacy, and narrative? My paintings and ceramics flirt with the line between fine art and decoration, using both trending and vintage colours, patterns, and objects that evoke the quotidian, the nostalgic, and the rituals held within domestic space.    


"I am interested in contemporary depictions of the home found in advertising, television, and social media. Consumer culture sells the image of a home as a place of perfect harmony and family life where happy memories and boundless imagination are promised through the designer goods and curated spaces that evoke feelings of nostalgia, vintage simplicity, and nostalgic elegance. My paintings play with the unattainability of these states by moving between representation and abstraction, expressing oppositions such as Beauty and ugliness; disruption and continuity; and finally, through the research of both contemporary and historical paintings. 


"My most recent body of work is a series of large paintings depicting still life floral arrangements. Drawing on the long history of still life, these works continue to explore notions of excess, while also reflecting on the transience of life. Working through the COVID pandemic, these works have moved from reflections of personal loss to a pervasive experience of collective grief, anxiety, and transformation.  


"Throughout my work there is a fascination with representations of domesticity, and how these representations dovetail with notions of gender and femininity. I amplify these connections using a visual language that evokes the ethos of the baroque when theatricality, bravado, and material excess conveyed the emotion and movement of the domestic and the palatial."

Image: Fig 1: Amy Dryer, Woven Together, Oil on canvas, 48x60', Collection of the artist, Courtesy of Elevation Gallery; Fig 2: Wanda Ellerbeck, Nothing Stays in the Same Place, Oil on canvas, 40x60', Collection of the artist, Courtesy of Elevation Gallery; Fig 3: Barb Fyvie, Sojourn, Mixed media, 36x36', Collection of the artist, Courtesy of Elevation Gallery; Fig 4: Eileen Murray, My Heart Beats Here, Oil on canvas, 40x70', Collection of the artist, Courtesy of Elevation Gallery.

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