Biography - Yvonne Vander Kooi - Painter & Muralist
My art practice of over 30 years has embraced community, collaboration, education, public art and studio work. My paintings and murals represent my best effort to capture honest portrayals of the human experience and the world around us.
My recent body of work has been a series of loose, painterly semi-abstract portraits that focus on experimentation, the materiality of the paint and evocative expressions of children. This has expanded into more narrative and larger scale work placing the figure in resonant environments to tell stories that are specific yet open-ended.
I have tried to create something both specific and universal about the experience of being a child; lost in play, reverie, emotion and imaginings and in doing so have inevitably drawn upon my own childhood. Old black and white photos serve as a starting point to the work; these images fire my imagination and illicit wonder about the stories they tell. I find myself thinking about shifting perceptions of the past and how new stories emerge as they are shared in the present.
My palette shifts and changes from turquoise, to pastel or fluorescent pink and saturated Indian yellow. The surfaces are worked, layered and scuffed, scraped or stained adding complexity and visual interest.
My work also explores the elegant detail of mosses and lichens found on the forest floor and in the canopy of our majestic forests here on Vancouver Island. Forest walks, selecting and photographing various specimens and researching indigenous plants are important elements in my artistic practice. In my studio, these microscopic elements are reworked in larger scale, becoming abstracted paintings that draw upon the intricacies of plant life in our local rain forests and engage the visceral properties of paint.