Wandering comfortably between worlds of the abstract and narrative – Canadian artist Niina Chebry selects and dissects her subject matter to keep the viewer engaged and questioning. The suggestion of land, horse, or Asian calligraphy is gestural one moment and methodical the next. There is not one technique she clings to –  but the essence of her approach – the juicy layers of texture and translucent colour, creates a sense of mystery to her work.

Chebry draws from a wide range of sources for her paintings. She has traveled – collecting inspiration from Asia, Europe and South America. Her childhood spent under vast prairie skies of rural Alberta, she now lives in Vancouver – where the shift to coastal flora and fauna seep into her compositions.

Niina studied fine art at the University of Alberta and received her Bachelor of Education in 1986. As a founding member of Parker Art Salon, Niina is part of a vibrant arts community in East Vancouver where she also instructs art workshops.  Her paintings are included in public and private collections in Canada, United States, Europe and Japan, notably at the Ueno Royal Museum of Art and the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo.

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Artist Statement:

“. . . if you get far enough away, you’ll be on your way back home.”  ~T Waits

One of my earliest memories is of trees towering above, branches swaying, leaves rustling in the breeze. I often wonder: What did my young mind see?

My motivation towards art making evolved after studying at university and time spent living in other countries. It took me years to understand the connection between my fascination with natural forms and my growing up on our family farm. The long walks through fields and forests allowed me freedom to explore and dream.  I am drawn to the abundant variations found in nature – wild, fragile and majestic beauty. Animal, tree, water and earth, my aim is to discover a new way to view a very old subject. I have an insatiable hunger to create – no sooner than I start with one idea when my mind meanders somewhere else. I sculpt, scrape and splatter paint in search of new colour harmonies and mark making. Textural layers reveal aspects of the original source.

Often I am asked how long it takes me to paint a composition; a painting is the sum total of all my experiences in life and art making. All my paintings prior brought me here.

Trees – Water – Ice

Tangled tree reflections and floating driftwood have slowly evolved into expansive iceberg formations and cool arctic extremes. I view these compositions as moody, solitary ice masses set adrift out on the open sea. My interest is in the potential of what these paintings might reveal to the viewer on many levels of understanding and experience.

How great it is to drop off my paintings – go for a coffee down the street and come back to find my work is already hanging in the front window! The immediate dedication and hands on response to showing my art  is so appreciated. – Niina Chebry