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Mimetic Workshop: Studio Still Lifes of Fiona Ackerman and Kelly Lycan

Where do artists make their work? Delve into two local artists' studios through 2D and 3D artworks.

There’s something about an artist’s studio that incites our curiosity—the opportunity to glimpse behind the scenes, to encounter the free play and struggle of the creative act, and to gain insights about the art and the artist. Yet looking around, one might say that we live in a “post-studio” era of artmaking. A growing number of artists choose to work from their portable computer at a café, an office space, a kitchen table, or a string of temporary international artist residencies.

While the where of artmaking is changing, the space and material life of the modern artist’s studio has increasingly become the subject of art in the twenty-first century. Vancouver-based artists Fiona Ackerman and Kelly Lycan both investigate this romanticized/de-romanticized space of the nineteenth and twentieth century. They do so by creating still life-like compositions of the fleeting images, icons, and materials of artmaking within their own studios and in relation to the studio environments of other artists.

In the work gathered together for this exhibition, Ackerman and Lycan collapse the boundaries between the artwork, artmaking tools, and the vitrines or frames in which they are displayed. Ackerman’s paintings reimagine the found scenes and scenarios of peer artists’ studios such as Ron Moppet, Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, and Jessica Eaton. With these studio still lifes, Ackerman and Lycan break down the distinction between the model or sketch and the final work, drawing attention to the process as art.

About the Artists

Fiona Ackerman

Originally from Montreal, Fiona Ackerman is a painter living and working in Vancouver, BC. She has exhibited across Canada and in Europe. Ackerman was longlisted for the Sobey Prize in 2015, received an honourable mention for the Kingston Prize for Canadian Portraiture in 2009, and was included in Carte Blanche 2: Painting, a survey and showcase painting in Canada (published by The Magenta Foundation, fall 2008).

While Fiona’s work is diverse in style, it is deeply rooted in the practice of painting.  Whether working on a wild abstract piece or a delicately rendered portrait, her approach is at once playful and meticulous. Through her painting, Fiona is continually reinventing the way she represents her world, her environment and the places of her imagination. .

Kelly Lycan

Kelly Lycan is an installation and photo-based artist who works and resides in Vancouver, BC. Lycan’s work investigates the way objects and images are placed and displayed in the world and the cycle of value they go through. Re-purposing and re-contextualizing ordinary things is a consistent part of her practice. She researches the contrast between experience and reproduction, translating this through sculpture and photography while referencing collections and methods of display found in museums, institutional gift shops, and department stores.

Her work has been exhibited across Canada, the US, and Europe, including recent solo presentations at Susan Hobbs Gallery, Toronto (2016); Presentation House Gallery, North Vancouver (2014); SFU Gallery, Burnaby (2014); Or Gallery, Vancouver (2011); and Gallery TPW, Toronto (2009).

Image credits (top to bottom):

Banner image (left to right): Fiona Ackerman, Still Life with Action (2013), oil on canvas, 61 cm x 91 cm. Photo courtesy of artist. Kelly Lycan, Rumination Three, Still Life (2014), installation view (cropped) from Autobiography for No One, SFU Burnaby, various materials. Photo courtesy of artist.

Fiona Ackerman, The Past is Prologue (2013), oil on canvas, 180 cm x 361 cm. Photo courtesy of artist.

Kelly Lycan, Rumination Three, Still Life (2014), installation view from Autobiography for No One, SFU Burnaby, various materials. Photo courtesy of artist.

Photo of Kelly Lycan by Stephen Murray.