Mari Nicolson

Hons., B.F.A., B. Ed.

Mari is a lifelong artist, adventurer and educator.  

The ephemera Mari has collected over the years represent some of the most important moments in very diverse lives from random corners of the world.

  Immortalizing these bits of people's histories creates compelling and complex narratives in the works.   To preserve and transmute these into something ephemeral, is to preserve and respect the stories from which they originally belonged.  

Mari travels the world collecting bits and pieces of nature and history to use in her work.  She is most drawn towards the things most handled, treasured, and overlooked.  This includes stamps, tickets, certificates, apothecary labels, antique games, postcards and correspondence, money, stocks and bonds, and items that people have treasured, worn thin, and kept safe.  The ephemera is combined with Mari's love of nature and her travels to remote natural areas, where she finds washed up crayfish, birch bark, shells, flowers, and a wondrous assortment of natural materials.  

The narratives takes on a life of their own, and each work tells a story, often with a strong connection between the past and present, and the objects and ephemera contained within.  

Any commission works draw on this collection, and create a wonderful dialogue and treasury, of both aesthetic and nostalgic items.

Each painting has between 10 and 20 layers of paint, drawing, paper, 3-D materials, and more.  Many works take on a different look when viewed, depending on the light and angle.   Some are comprised of encaustic medium, (melted beeswax, pigment, and damar crystals), mixed with all the other elements.  Some works are mixed media, covered in resin, some painted or printed on metals, and some are multi layered mixed media acrylic with gel mediums.  No matter what the medium used, they are all archival, and made to last, and ready to hang or display.

Most of Mari's themes through the years revolve around the idea that we are constantly juxtaposed in our lives with choices that are impossible to reconcile or understand, and that they often mirror each other in an ironic dance.  

Many works centre around the 1950's perceived North American freedom, and the influence of advertising and media to tame the emerging force of women who had blossomed into their roles as society's workforce during the war, and their subsequent dismissal and repression to maintain the balance of a patriarchal society. 

Some works celebrate the freedom of naivety and love in the Modern Era.  No matter what the context, there are always things to discover when you delve a little deeper, and look a little longer.

A journey along the coast, and many stops in between.  

Contact Mari

For custom artwork, consulting, or any questions you might have, please get in touch!  Mari can create custom glass beads with the ashes of a loved one inside, as well as mixed media artworks with custom chosen ephemera, colours, and themes.  Anything is possible........

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