Yukon Artist Show Opens at Kamloops Restaurant
(Kamloops) Haines Junction, Yukon artist Martha Jane Ritchie’s linocuts “A Walk in the Boreal Forest” opens Monday at the Smorgasbord Deli in Kamloops.
“I am an artist who grew up in Kamloops and have spent the past 27 years living and working in Haines Junction, Yukon” said Ritchie. “My studio is situated right next to the spectacular St Elias Mountain Range and Kluane National Park, and I draw from my experiences living in the Northern Boreal Forest for my inspiration.”
Ritchie works in various mediums including pencil, pastel, charcoal, paint and textiles but primarily linocut printing, which she was introduced to as an art student. The simplicity of the linocut printing process and easy access to materials as well as its versatility and portability continue to appeal to the artist.
“Forty years ago, I took my first printmaking class at Cariboo College (now Thompson Rivers University) and then went on to major in printmaking at Emily Carr College of Art and Design (now Emily Carr University of Art + Design)” said Ritchie. “I want my work to provide viewers with an opportunity to experience the peace and calm of being outdoors in the forest.”
Ritchie’s art creates a new and unusual way of looking at our surroundings and inspires an appreciation of the natural, untouched beauty that still exists in our world.
The artist has shown her work in solo and group shows in the Yukon, BC, Alberta, Ontario and Alaska.
While attending Emily Carr College of Art, Martha majored in printmaking and discovered Linocuts. She graduated with honours and continued working in the medium for the next 30 years. Martha’s work has always reflected the environment in which she is living at the time.
Early on she created a series of pieces based on life on her parents’ cattle ranch in Upper Hat Creek, B.C. While living in Ontario her large prints depicted the different areas of Toronto that she liked to visit, such as Kensington Market. In Vancouver her work illustrated the grittier side of life while she lived and worked in the Downtown Eastside.
In 1994, Martha and her husband Mark moved to the small northern town of Haines Junction. After a short break to raise their two sons, she resumed her artistic career. Her current work is drawn from the natural environment that surrounds their home on the edge of the wilderness.
Situated 160 kilometres west of Whitehorse, Haines Junction is nestled under the Saint Elias Mountain Range and beside Kluane National Park. The community is small (roughly 850 people) and the residents live closely connected to nature and the outdoors.
The beauty of this environment, vast sky views, massive mountains, plentiful and healthy wildlife populations and the ever changing light and colours are impossible to ignore and create an unending supply of ideas and inspiration for Martha’s prints.
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