Dark Ocean

Natasha van Netten

This exhibition opens on Friday, September 9th, 7:00–9:00 PM
Exhibition runs through Sunday, September 25th, 2016.
Gallery Hours:
Saturdays and Sundays, 12 to 4 pm,
or by appointment.

“There Leviathan
Hugest of living creatures, in the deep
Stretched like a promontory sleeps or swims,
And seems a moving land; and at his gills
Draws in, and at his breath spouts out a sea”
— John Milton

The Dark Ocean exhibition revolves around the mystery that surrounds whales. In her recent body of work Natasha van Netten uses data from the advancing field of cetology (the study of whales) as a point of departure. Her work describes whales through a scientific perspective and explores the space between known and unknown information by straddling the blurred line between representation and abstraction. A variety of approaches have been used to describe the various aspects of scientific research. The drawings describe whales from an analytical, rational context (lab work) and the paintings from an emotive, experiential perspective (field work). Both these approaches contrast between detail and void, clarity and obscurity. The tensions between ways of thinking and seeing have provided a platform for van Netten to visually explore both the complexities and uncertainties of whales and cetacean research through ink and paint.

“Whales live hidden lives, only entering momentary into our world for a breath before plunging into shadows without a trace. My work is motivated by a fascination of water and what it conceals within an environment we can only visit temporarily.”
— Natasha van Netten

“He Is Seldom Seen”
2x 15.5×28, oil on two panels

Artist’s Bio:
Natasha van Netten was born in Vancouver, Canada in 1989. She was recently honoured to receive the Robin Hopper VVALS Legacy Award this spring and was chosen to be a participating artist in the Endangered Wildlife—The Next Migration exhibition at the Robert Bateman Centre. Van Netten received a Diploma of Fine Art from the Vancouver Island School of Art in 2016.

Van Netten’s work investigates scientific whale and marine research. She translates this information into paintings and drawings that straddle the line between the abstraction and representation. Her practice uses the language of art as a tool to access scientific data and to give it personal and visual relevance.

For two years van Netten volunteered as crew aboard a 100-foot sailing vessel in the Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea. Her experiences of living on the water greatly influence her artistic practice and inform her work. Van Netten currently lives and works in Victoria, British Columbia.

“Heads or Tails”
15.5×32, 2oil on panel

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