The Gallery at Queen’s Park presents:
“Allegory and Grace”
by Annette Nieukerk
Exhibition Dates: August 7 – 25, 2019
Opening Reception: Wednesday, August 7, 6-8pm
Artist Talk: Sunday, August 11, 3-4pm
In her figurative work, Annette Nieukerk is primarily interested in the narratives at the heart of human existence. What are our stories? What is factual and what has been eroded by memory? What is hidden, and what is secret?
Nieukerk’s work speaks to the intricacies and layering of those narratives and how what is exposed to view and what is hidden are both reflected in the physicality of our bodies. Utilizing contrasting media—walnut drawing ink and oil paint on translucent Mylar—Nieukerk exposes the inner narrative of each human figure.
Nieukerk’s work also questions the notions of beauty and identity within our culture, focussing primarily on older women—those sixty years of age and older—a segment of our “youth is beauty”-driven society often considered uninteresting or undesirable—and certainly not “beautiful.” Nieukerk’s work challenges the stereotypes that equate beauty with youth and searches for both the outer beauty in the aging body that society shuns, and the inner beauty that lies underneath the skin.
“Allegory and Grace,” a continuation of Nieukerk’s larger series, “In Praise of Older Women,” questions whether our society has reached a time to truly embrace the aging of a woman’s body and the experiences—births, deaths, loves, losses, joys and sorrows—that are etched so gracefully into the folds of her skin. In each image, a flower enhances and echoes the female form—symbolic of grace, beauty, and life’s seasons.
As an aging female artist, an expansion of this area of interest for Nieukerk is her own sense of identity in working with other females her age, and what effect this in-depth exploration has on her artistic practice.
Now in her fifth decade of art practice, Annette Nieukerk has had a varied career spanning disciplines, media and genres. As a young artist, she depicted the prairie landscape using silkscreen printing as her medium of choice. In mid-career, Nieukerk became passionately involved in theatre design and followed that path for many years while maintaining her role as an art educator. Today, Nieukerk works out of a studio in East Vancouver, utilizing a variety of painting and drawing media employing the aging female figure as the focus of her practice.