Judith Currelly’s imagery is inspired by the stark vastness of Northern British Columbia and the Yukon. Every aspect of her life — from homesteader to artist to commercial pilot — is influenced by the land. It forms the basis for simplified, stylized landscapes and wildlife forms painted in a beautifully restrained palette.
In her paintings, Currelly employs various tactile techniques such as scraping, scoring, bevelling and staining the surface of the wood to imply geological forms.
In her printmaking, she incorporates woodblock and lino printing techniques into the paintings. Etching and scraping reflect the permanence of mark making, as they do with petroglyphs, pictographs or fossils.
Haunting images of man and animals co-exist in Currelly’s work, evoking feelings of primitive mysticism, ancient rituals and reverence. In Northern Maps, Legend and Legacies (2000), Currelly drew on her years as a commercial bush pilot in Northern British Columbia and the Yukon to depict monumental landscapes from an aerial perspective. The exhibition focused on looking at ways of interpreting the land through the use of maps, charts, and storytelling.
Throughout her career and particularly in series of work like Atlin Mountain (2002), Currelly’s spectacular oil paintings have demonstrated her reverence and passion for the lands and people of the far North. In Living Systems (2005), she explored the interrelated conditions, patterns and structures that occur between land, sky, water and lifeforms. In Journeys (2007), she introduces the human figure and handwritten script to her landscape paintings, thereby gaining a new sense of narrative.
Judith Currelly was born in Toronto, Ontario and studied at the Ontario College of Art and Design as well as the University of Victoria, BC. She has a prestigious exhibition record spanning three decades. Her work is included in numerous private, corporate and public collections including the Canada Council Art Bank and the Governor General’s Heritage Collection.