Bronwyn McIvor is a Vancouver-based artist whose practice is focused on painting and drawing, with an interest in exploring the intersection of the beautiful and the grotesque.
The core of my artistic practice is the tension between the beautiful and the grotesque, the mundane and the otherworldly, that which attracts and that which repulses. My two main bodies of work both explore this in different ways:
The Undiscovered Kitchen
With my food paintings, I begin by looking at the very everyday detritus of meal preparation, taking pictures from unusual angles along the way and getting closeups of hidden or overlooked aspects of this mundane matter. I use these photos as references for my painting, often compositionally collaging different images into one painting, transforming it through paint into something otherworldly, with its own character, depth, and strange life. I aim to transform the mundane, relishing its detail and its drama, and in the process animating it with unexpected vitality. Commonplace foodstuffs become landscape, portrait, or strangely unrecognizable presences. I hope that these depictions give the viewer pause to appreciate the surreal qualities hidden in everyday life.
My monstrous Townsfolk are an evolution of my long love of the eerie and unusual. A Townsfolk character might originate from a mental image or feeling, or take inspiration from the found imagery that I collect: historical costume, artwork, vintage photography, documentation of plants and animals. These all merge into new chimeras of my own making, and while some of them may be disquieting or monstrous, it is essential to me that they all have a sense of individuality and character to ground them, no matter how strange they may appear. Beginning as ink drawings, over time these drawings have coalesced into a growing body of work that developed its own interconnected narratives and mythology as I collaborated with local authors and was in turn inspired to create new artworks. In recent years I have expanded the scope of this project again, this time painting in oils to create new characters and revisit existing ones. The Townsfolk are each a surprising combination of friendly and fearsome, handsome and hideous, funny and unfathomable. The characters' individual quirks invite the viewer to look closely and imagine these folks' strange stories, finding common ground with the monstrous and otherworldly.