Feature

Mel Gausden: Freshened Landscapes

Sunday Morning Leftovers, 2019, 48 x 48″

Emerging artist Mel Gausden gives landscape painting a contemporary freshness with bold highlights and markers of Canadiana. The Toronto artist says the neon silhouettes and brightly hued accents in her works “take reference from pre-set Instagram camera filters, fashion and consumer trends.”

Before We Grow Up, Oil on Canvas, 40 x 60″

“In my work, I challenge notions of landscape as scenery,” she says (here). “Just as the subjects are interacting with the landscape, the landscape is in turn interacting with the subject.”

Peach Beach, 2019, 36 x 60”

“Gausden’s manipulation of oil paint varies from sculptural—bending and piling thick layers of paint into matchsticks of textured impasto—to painterly— diluting paint until it drips with controlled precision,” from a review, here.

Smoke, 2018, 36 x 36″

Citation, 2017

Gausden, a BFA graduate of OCAD U, cites international megastar artist Peter Doig as a source of inspiration and “perhaps my favourite artist of all,” in a Q & A profile on Creators Vancouver, here.  Certainly there are elements of the magic realism Doig is known for. But Gausden’s style is uniquely her own.

Border Crossings, 2017, 36 x 48″

I am a particular fan of works in Gausden’s 2018 inaugural exhibition at Bau-Xi Gallery. She put a timely twist on Canadian landscape painting in that series, Girls Gone Wild. Women are shown for what they are: active participants who build fires, climb fences, and carry canoes.

Starry-Eyed, 2017, 36 x 36″

“Canadian landscape painting has mythologized the great outdoors through the work of Tom Thomson, A.Y. Jackson and David Milne,” as the gallery put it (in notes for that exhibition). “Mel Gausden marks a departure from the Canadian landscape tradition—a genre historically dominated by male painters—by centralizing the experience of women in nature, and her own in Girls Gone Wild.” 

Blue Lights and Late Nights, 2018, 36″ x 48″

Mel Gausden’s website, here.

Mel Gausden’s Instagram, here.

Represented by Bau-Xi Gallery, here.

More on Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven, here and here.

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