On Saturday, April 22nd,  we celebrate Earth Day 2017. In the spirit of this important National day of awareness, the Van Dop Gallery is hosting an 
exhibition of works by Vancouver artist
Desirée Patterson

' Inspiring Preservation: An Alternate Perspective '
Please Join us for the Artist Talk this Saturday, 
April 22nd at 2 pm

Exhibition Hours Saturday 12 to 4 pm 
& by appointment 
"Desirée's work is visually arresting and speaks to ideas of environmental stewardship and preservation through the act of artmaking and photography. An important and relevant body of work highlighting contemporary issues."

Inspiring Preservation: Alternative Perspectives... an exhibition curated for the
Capture Photography Festival, will show at the  Van Dop Gallery, Apirl 1st to 28th
The Capture Photography Festival is devoted to exhibiting challenging and thought-provoking photography from local and international artists and features venues all over Greater Vancouver and the Lower Mainland.  

by Kahla Yzerman, Van Dop Gallery
March 21, 2017

Art has embodied and framed the relationship we have with the environment through the ages. Desirée Patterson's work attempts to reveal the intersection that converges humanity's progress with the natural environment. We sat down with Desirée to discuss nature, Earth Day, and the role that art can play as a call to preserving our natural habitat, by inspiring a sense of awareness that values natural beauty.

VG: Your work creates a literal overlap between our bodies and specific environments. What is the relationship between the human figure and the environment?
DP: Every species on Earth has a fundamental relationship with the environment, which shapes the course of evolution, and sustains all life. My work aims to provide insight into this innate relationship, in a subjective way, allowing the observer to reflect on their individual connections to beauty and the environment, to foster awareness of the importance of preservation.

VG: The works selected for this exhibition, feature the human figure and a variety of landscapes ranging from industrial environments to raw, west coast, forests. What is the selection process, and how does it speak to your own concerns about the environment?
DP: The selection process of pairing images is the most challenging part. I photograph models, intentionally conveying emotional responses to specific environments, however I am not always able to pair compositions as originally perceived. This is where I allow intuition to direct my creative process, which stems from my own personal perspectives and concerns for what I see happening to our planet. I am not interested in creating imagery that results in the viewer feeling helpless or doomed, but rather, allows the audience to contemplate how they feel, about how our environments are currently being managed, and hopefully, inspire action.

VG: Throughout the work in this exhibition we see the interaction between nature and human culture; are they at odds with each other? How does human culture impact nature?

DP: The human condition continues to see the natural world as a profitable resource, instead of a fragile eco system that creates a web of life - sustaining our future. When we observe nature and other species, there is an obvious order and balance that governs all life. Humans have become disenfranchised from this order. The result is seen in the catastrophic degradation we've inflicted upon every eco system on Earth. The worst part is, that the average individual is well aware of the damaging aftermath of our current consumer society, and yet, few are willing to transition to a sustainable lifestyle.

VG: In your images, we see beautiful, and haunting figures, filled and
surrounded by natural and man-made environments. How does the classical beauty of these nude figures engage with the environments they are filled with and surrounded by?
DP: The human form is symbolic of innocence, ignorance, beauty, awareness... our inner connectedness with life. There is a saying, " Beauty is within the eye of the beholder ." I have found that beauty resides within us all. It is this inner beauty that can experience, and value, all forms of natural beauty. There is also a geometric attribute that focuses an individual's attention on beauty subconsciously, allowing an inner essence to dominate so that inner beauty flows without distractions from the mind. In order to help viewers experience this organically, I retain a level of a
scetic for the subject matter that I wish to bring awareness to. 

VG: Do you believe that art can inspire change? What do you hope
for people  to see and think about
 when they interact with your work?
DP: I believe art can inspire change - this is my fuel and inspiration. When confronted by my work, I hope that viewers reflect upon their own kinship with the natural world. I hope they see how imperative preservation is to sustaining a future, and ultimately, I hope they are inspired to transition to an eco friendly lifestyle - making responsible consumer choices, discarding waste efficiently, being mindful of resource consumption, and finding their own ways to contribute to a brighter future.

VG: April 22nd is Earth Day and this year's theme is Earth Play, inspiring everyone (especially children) to get outside and play. What is important about the relationship between nature and play?
DP:  The more time we spend building our foundations within the natural world, the more we will want to preserve it. It's been proven that we experience increased wellness, both physically and mentally, while spending time in nature - playing outside. I believe this is an essential component of our lives, fostered in children and continuing into adulthood, and one that will inspire new values and behaviour towards the natural environment. 

Whether we want to see it or not, we are deeply connected to the natural order balancing all life. When immersed in nature; it is no longer a question of seeing it - we can heartily feel it's healing touch.
VG: #PLAYMemory is an initiative of the 2017 Earth Day campaign that asks social media users to share their memories of playing outside. Can you share with us one of your most memorable childhood outdoor play experiences?
DP: Throughout my  adolescence,  I spent as much time as possible camping, hiking, and exploring in the outdoors. For as long as I can remember, being outside is where I find peace, bliss, and purpose. Nothing fills my heart with more joy than beholding the beauty and perfection of Mother Nature in all its glory! From majestic mountain peaks to endless starry nights; nothing makes me feel more connected or grateful to be alive.  
VG: What message do you have for artists and art collectors this Earth Day?

DP: Get outside and do something selfless for the environment. 

Visit my website on Earth Day, for links to shore line clean ups, resources on sustainable living practices, important petitions to sign, and inspiring documentary lists that will help educate eco conscious individuals. 

Speak. See. Listen. Engage.