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Alison Keenan

Biography

I was born in Reading, England, but thanks to my parents, I had the good fortune at an early age to travel abroad and continued to do so as an adult. Not surprisingly, my experiences in foreign lands have influenced my art.

As a young girl, I lived for about two years in what was then Burma because my father, an architect, was employed there by the United Nations.

When I was a teenager, I returned to England with my family and pursued an education in art, which included drawing, literature, music and ballet. After graduation, I visited Italy for several months, immigrated to Canada, became a citizen, got married and subsequently spent four years living in Egypt where I exhibited extensively. I then returned to Canada where apart from holidays in England, Australia and Europe, I have lived since.

In 2008, I graduated from Vancouver’s Emily Carr University with a BFA in Visual Arts and in 2010, I received a Certificate in Liberal Arts from Simon Fraser University.

Having recently become entranced with birds of all sorts, my latest and ongoing series of paintings portrays them and is entitled Avian Fables. I work in acrylic and ink on canvases, both small and large. I also find it advantageous to construct my own stretcher frames in order to have them on hand in various sizes.

My portfolio includes national and international exhibitions, curating group shows, an online catalogue, guest speaker, artist’s residences, as well as artist’s talks and editing a gallery catalogue.

Artist Statement

One of my favorite early childhood memories is the hours upon hours I spent in my small private space drawing and painting. I will always be thankful that my parents, who held the arts in high regard, encouraged me to keep at it. They even “commissioned” me to paint a mural inside our home. In such a creative environment I was perfectly at ease to experiment with every medium I could lay my hands on, including not only drawing and painting, but also embroidery, sewing, weaving and working in clay.
Following my graduation from Vancouver’s Emily Carr University, I decided to pursue painting almost exclusively and recently, after being gifted with binoculars, I have focused on depicting birds of all types from around the world, a never-ending project, as there are about ten thousand to choose from. I am also intrigued, in awe of and inspired by the fact that according to modern paleontologists, birds – from chickadees to condors – are descendants of huge multi-coloured feathered dinosaurs who roamed the earth millions of years ago.

By concentrating on birds, I have come to know many “birders” and I love engaging in conversations with them about birds and my paintings. Their enthusiasm is contagious and highly motivating. Indeed, they have taught me a great deal about the wonders and beauty of the avian world.

By painting not only beautiful birds, but also others such as condors and vultures who are considered by most people to be ugly, even repulsive, I have come to realize that they are intrinsically beautiful as well. Like all birds, their appearance is determined by what is needed to survive in a demanding environment. In my eyes, they are so “ugly,” they’re beautiful.

艾莉森·基南

我出生在英国雷丁,但多亏了我的父母,我从小就有幸出国旅行,并在成年后继续旅游,所以,我在异国他乡的经历影响了我的艺术。

作为一个年轻女孩,我在当时的缅甸生活了大约两年,因为我的父亲是一名建筑师,受雇于联合国。

十几岁的时候,我和家人一起回到英国,接受了艺术教育,包括绘画、文学、音乐和芭蕾。毕业后,我访问了意大利几个月,移民到加拿大,成为公民,结婚,随后在埃及生活了四年,在那里我广泛展出作品。然后我回到了加拿大,除了在英国、澳大利亚和欧洲的假期外,我一直在加拿大生活。

2008 年,我从加拿大温哥华艾米丽卡尔大学毕业,获得视觉艺术学士学位。2010 年,我获得了加拿大西门菲沙大学的文科文凭。

我最近迷上了各种鸟类,用一系列画作描绘它们,并把它们命名为鸟类寓言。我在画布上使用丙烯和墨,创作了不同尺寸的作品。

我在加拿大和国际上举办了个人作品展,参加了联展、受邀演讲、参与艺术家驻留项目,以及艺术出版物。

“我最喜欢的童年记忆之一是我在我的小私人空间绘画和绘画中度过的几个小时。我将永远感谢我的父母,他们高度重视艺术,鼓励我坚持下去。他们甚至“雇我”在家里画一幅壁画。在这样的创作环境中,我非常轻松地尝试了我能接触到的每一种媒介,不仅包括绘画,还包括刺绣、缝纫、编织和陶艺。

从温哥华艾米丽卡尔大学毕业后,我决定完全从事绘画,最近,我专注于描绘来自世界各地的各种鸟类。这是一个永无止境的项目,因为大约有一万只鸟供选择。根据古生物学家的说法,鸟类——从山雀到秃鹰——是数百万年前在地球上漫游的巨大羽毛恐龙的后代,这让我感到好奇、敬畏,颇受启发。

通过专注于鸟类,我认识了许多“观鸟者”,我喜欢与他们谈论鸟类和我的画作。他们的热情具有感染力和高度激励性。事实上,它们教会了我很多关于鸟类世界的奇妙和美丽的知识。

不仅画了美丽的鸟,还画了秃鹰和秃鹰,这些被大多数人认为是丑陋的,甚至令人厌恶的,我开始意识到它们本质上也是美丽的。像所有鸟类一样,它们的外观取决于在苛刻的环境中生存所需的条件。在我眼里,它们是如此“丑陋”,它们又非常美丽。”

——艾莉森·基南