L - R Melanie Ellery, Tannis Hopkins, Deborah Bakos

Deborah Bakos, Melanie Ellery and Tannis Hopkins are established artists based in Vancouver. They are also members of the collective 13 Feet off the Ground, a group of 12 female artists that first came together to participate in a residency program, 'Graniti Murales', in Sicily. On the June 25th episode of The Artist Sessions we catch up with new projects for the collective, and for the artists’ personal art practices. We’ll also look back at the collective's 2018 PoMoArts exhibition From Where We Stand.

From Where We Stand was an exhibition of work produced by the 13 Feet of the Ground art collective following their inaugural residency in Sicily in fall 2017. The paintings and installations in the exhibition featured the diverse styles of their members and demonstrated “our commitment to art and to one another, no matter where we stand”.

L-R: Melanie Ellery, Tannis Hopkins, Sheree Jones, Deborah Bakos, Angela Gooliaff, Alison Keenan; six of the 11 exhibiting artists in From Where We Stand, July 12 - August 9, 2018; Artwork L-R: The Purge, Jenn Brisson; (top) The Escape Artist, Deborah Bakos; (bottom) Throwing Off Glass, Melanie Ellery, (top) Curious Kittens and Alcohol I, (bottom) Curious Kittens and Alcohol II, Angela Gooliaff; (top) Portrait de Louise Bourgeois, (middle) Portrait de Charlotte Salomon, (bottom)Portrait de Niki de Saint Phalle, Morgane Billault; Stanley on 12th, Carol McQuaid
Alter Ego 24"x30 oil, cold wax, embroidery floss and gold leaf on inkjet photograph, framed
With a nod to “women’s work”, traditionally disregarded in the male dominated art world, some of my paintings include brightly patterned fabrics, embroidery thread, ribbons, lace and beads. I use these materials to both embellish and to celebrate our “herstory” as makers.

My photo-based paintings re-imagine gendered messages in media and advertising. I use photographs of women over the past 100 years to explore and comment on relationship hierarchies that have tipped the scales in men’s favour. By altering the contexts of these photographs, placing women centre stage, I aim to expose contradictions and further the dialogue around gender equality.

gallery installation July 2018

Humour is an integral part of my work. I use it to engage viewers and to make palatable conversations that might otherwise be avoided. Gender discrimination has long and insidious history. Currently riding its 4th wave towards our collective conscience, feminism is a belief system that still has its detractors. Employing a little dark humour is a means to reveal the absurdity of paternalistic rituals that rob more than 50 percent of our global population of opportunities to make more meaningful contributions to society.

25 to Life 24"x30", oil and cold wax on inkjet photograph, framed

A bold and vibrant aesthetic is also made purposeful in my paintings. I use blocks of acrylic paint in complementary hues to create a playful, contemporary style and to highlight the black and white protagonists in my narratives.

Arm Candy 9"x12"; Social Engineering 11"x14"; both - oil and cold wax on inkjet photograph, framed
The Escape Artist 20"x20" oil and cold was on two sided drafting paper, framed
every breaking wave 30"x40" acrylic on canvas
I view my work as a journey – one filled with experimentation, discovery, joy and fulfillment. My intention is to paint intuitively, let the work go where it may and then step in to control its resolution. I aspire to make art that is uplifting and invokes joyfulness.

Melanie Ellery can be found creating vibrant, contemporary art in her Port Moody studio. Her work is process-driven, colourful and dynamic; she paints intuitively, expressing life, energy and joy.

gallery installation July 2018

Melanie's colourful paintings emanate movement and dynamism. She creates spontaneously and allows the work to develop organically while utilizing techniques of glazes, drips and mark-making.

piece of my heart 24"x30" acrylic on canvas
in between days 30"x24" acrylic on canvas
break it down again 24"x30" acrylic on canvas
Just Science Fiction 24"x30" oil on wood cradle
gallery installation July 2018 
My work expresses a love of life and heartfelt connections, and the sensory experiences that define our existence. I like to explore food culture and familiar yet thought provoking narratives in my work. I aim to evoke a range of emotions, to touch souls and to reflect the importance of preserving the sense of wonder in life.

Tannis Hopkins is an expressive, modern realism painter. She likes to explore familiar yet curious narratives in her work. Her paintings evoke different reactions from curiosity and a sense of the surreal, to introspection and sadness, to whimsy. Her subjects reflect the importance of protecting innocence and preserving the childlike sense of wonder while acknowledging the darkness in life.

13 Feet Off The Ground artist talk July 19, 2018 - Tannis Hopkins

I like to think my paintings start a story in the viewer’s mind. The ideas keep coming with or without an intended message but always with the hope of touching kindred spirits, warming hearts, and arousing curiosity.

The Great Canadian Identity Crisis 39.5"x38" acrylic and oil on canvas
It Must Be a Full Moon 30"x40" acrylic and oil on canvas
#oblivious 36"x18" acrylic and oil on canvas
You Don‘t Have to be Alone to Feel Lonely 42"x34" oil on canvas
Dubiety 24"x48 oil on canvas

Click the link for videos and information about residencies and projects by the 13 feet off the ground collective.

Support our local arts community

Thank you to Deborah Bakos, Melanie Ellery and Tannis Hopkins for joining us on the June 25th episode of The Artist Sessions

For more information about the artists or to purchase artwork please click on their Artist Directory link under their name in this digital exhibition.

An artist profile page is one of the benefits of a PoMoArts membership.

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