Artist Q & A: Cori Creed

Vancouver artist Cori Creed shares her thoughts and intentions behind Sightlines, her new exhibition of West Coast landscapes rendered in her signature dynamic style. Sightlines opens on May 13 and runs through May 27, 2023.

Cori Creed, Time Again. Oil on canvas, 36 x 84 inches, 2023

1. What draws you continually back to the BC landscape as a subject?

It is easy to find inspiration in the dramatically and uniquely varied wild places of our province. I am constantly drawn to our wild places for so many reasons. I derive so much peace and perspective from soaking in the natural world and in doing so, I receive inspiration in the patterns and light and forms that I surround myself with.


2. What or who would you say are the most significant influences in your artistic practice?

Influences change for me. A constant would be the Impressionists’ approach to chasing essence of a subject while at the same time leaving visible the drafting marks and signs of process along the way. When I am looking at a painting, or listening to live music, I like to be able to see the creator as well as the creation and so I covet all the little mistakes or variations or sketch marks that leave hints. I am also increasingly drawn to the tension between realism and abstraction in work that I seek out. 

Cori Creed, Eagle Point. Oil on canvas, 30 x 60 inches, 2023

3. Two recurring elements in your new collection Sightlines are light and sky – both as glimpses through trees and branches, or fully celebrated in wide open vistas. What do these elements signify for you?

My reference is often gathered while I am moving through the landscape. There is always another peak to be explored or a corner to turn on a coastline - treasures to be chased and revealed. It is an homage to the subject, but also to the things that lie beyond.


4. The colour palette of your new works feels especially warm and vibrant - rich with mauves, oranges and contrasting blues. How does colour affect your approach to painting a particular scene, be it of forest, mountain or ocean?

I will often start with a goal of a limited palette, select a subject, and then watch as my intentions all go out the window. The particular scenes are most often just jumping-off points, a reason to begin to express with colour and all the ways it can be delivered to the surface of the canvas in order to tell the story. Of course I employ colour theory in the act of storytelling or creating a “set”, to create light or perspective and a depth for the eye to move through, but I also enjoy breaking the rules for the sake of a particular mark or colour combination. 

Cori Creed, Still. Oil on canvas, 36 x 36 inches, 2023

5. We are seeing an exciting graphic quality developing in your work, with an increasing focus on line work and unexpected forms of mark-making. What do you feel is behind this development?

The vocabulary of mark-making has always been something that I have been conscious of. As we experiment more and more in the digital realm, the physical nature of creation becomes more precious. So many things can be emulated, but I like to think that the quality of a mark (was it made slowly or quickly, which medium, which tool, what was it meant to express etc) has an energy of its own that can’t be matched. There is also a physicality to painting and mark-making that is integral to my work.


6. What are the primary goals that are foremost in your mind when you pick up your brush to begin a painting?

With landscape paintings, my goals change somewhat from piece to piece. It could be the recreation of a feeling gathered from a particular setting, or it could be that I am drawn to a particular colour or mood and then I use landscape as a vehicle to play with that direction. It is a combination of particular challenges for me to explore, layered with unconscious choices that move me. I always think of the process as a communication, to others or just to myself. How much is to be referential, how much abstract? What marks and colour choices create the emotion or tell the story? Is it more about the illusion of space to be created, or more about the two dimensional surface and the work that goes on there? Can I use a particular approach or palette and still communicate my intent clearly? These are the questions I continually ask and that drive my practice.


 The artist in her studio.

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