Artist Q & A: Cori Creed

For her anticipated upcoming solo exhibition The Story and The Telling, West Vancouver-based artist Cori Creed talks about the act of letting go in order to flow, the pull towards revisiting elements of her earlier works, and the fact that the cyclical aspect of her practice can mirror that of life. The Story and The Telling opens at Bau-Xi Vancouver on June 8 and runs through June 22, 2024.

Cori Creed, To Rise. Oil on canvas. 60 x 48 inches.

1. For this new collection you have said that you often found yourself drawn to seeking and drawing out finer details rather than focusing solely on abstracting the overall forms – can you share more about how that evolved? 

In allowing myself to take some steps back and tighten up areas of my painting, I found more honest expression. My hunt is for a place where representation and abstraction co-exist, and revisiting attention to details was necessary for this work.

2. You are working with a rich and moody palette in this new collection – what drew you to these colours?

I have been drawn to a darker palette for a while. I could point to a number of factors, but while I do begin with some idea of colour, when I enter into that part of my painting, I am relying very much on an almost subconscious guidance, so it can be hard to talk to the exact motivation. It is my constant challenge to reach the state of “flow”, of letting go, and I have found these colours waiting there for me lately.

Cori Creed, Light's Shadow. Oil on canvas. 52 x 52 inches.

3. The addition of beautifully rendered small floral canvases adds another element to this collection – a quiet and intimate foil to the oceanside vistas. Have you done many floral works in the past, and might you continue to revisit them?

I always used to do a handful of floral pieces near the end of painting for a show. I find it to be a nice breath to take to delve into smaller subject matter and just play with the forms of blooms. All foreground and gesture instead of the back and forth between space and marks.

Cori Creed, Still Time I. Oil on canvas. 12 x 12 inches.

4. It is also exciting to see your work translated in the form of large paperworks! How does it feel to work in this format and medium vs. oil on canvas, and are there things you enjoy about it that can only be experienced within this medium?

It is always interesting to work with different surfaces and mediums. I like the contrast between the large washes and the charcoal and graphite lines. It really makes me reconsider the speed that marks need for their quality - slow and calligraphic or fast and energetic. The paper surface is often a little freeing, especially with the smooth, hot pressed finish - it allows for an expressive, fresh approach. I have always loved charcoal and drawing for the variety of marks that can be made with the stick of charcoal and fingers and hands - there is no need to pick up and put down other tools - thick, thin, sharp or blurred, transition and movement happens immediately.

Cori Creed, Meridian II. Acrylic spray paint, graphite and charcoal on paper. 56 x 41 inches.

5. Your work successfully inhabits canvases both large and small. Do you prefer working in a large or small format, and what do you find that each format offers?

Generally, my true passion is for huge canvases. I feel that using my whole body for the sweeping strokes and gestures that space allows brings me into the moment and to the results that I seek. I have found, in particular with this show though, that mid size and smaller pieces can sometimes fit better into the timeline that life allows - I like to come close to finishing a piece from the same emotional space whenever possible. I do find that the smaller works can be wonderful for an almost quiet meditation. I can use them as studies for larger works - trying to find the essence of a subject and then translate that without falling into the trap of adding the extra detail that the larger space allows. I also found this time, that delving into the details with smaller marks and tools was good - a bit of a welcome loop back in my path to familiar ground.

The artist in her West Vancouver studio.
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