Dates: September 1–October 29, 2017
Opening Reception: Saturday, September 9, 2017 | 4:00–6:00 p.m. | Artist in Attendance
Free admission to opening reception
Born in Essex, England, Hilary Morris moved to Vancouver in April 1987, leaving behind a career in the City of London. She had no formal artistic training, but her secret longing to study architecture has since found realization in her artistic work. With nothing but time on her hands during her first few months in Canada, she took a pen and sketchbook on her explorations of the city and began to detail many of the familiar scenes of Vancouver, as a way of learning about her new home. Thanks to that effort, today we enjoy visual historical records of Vancouver in the late 1980s. Hilary’s artwork has captured Vancouver’s neighbourhoods as they emerged from the onslaught of being “discovered by the world” during Expo ’86. Though many of the places she first sketched are gone, the city continues to be an ever-changing canvas, and she is constantly inspired by this dynamic metamorphosis of city life. Hilary’s catalogue of images records neighbourhoods in flux, both the grand and the humble.
Home: Grown is a part historical record of the changes in Vancouver’s architectural aesthetics and part simple illustrated love letter to her adopted home. In London, Hilary witnessed only measured changes to over a lengthy period and always within extremely tight heritage planning restrictions. Here she has been struck by the rapid pace at which Vancouver’s skyline and even the fabric of the city can evolve. The feeling of the ever-shifting urban landscape is reflected in some of her work, which capture the same vista separated by many years of recording such growth. In others, she has simply chosen to highlight places that seem to reflect the pressures of change. The exhibition presents some of her early sketches and paintings which reflect a certain naiveté—something that speaks of the less “shiny” days of Vancouver. Home: Grown is an artistic graphic record of architectural landmarks and city spaces and their conditions over time.
Hilary’s work is recognized by her unique graphic style and use of vibrant colour over black-and-white pen drawings. As well as solo exhibitions, her work is on permanent display at her studio/gallery on Granville Island. Her choice to bring the vibrancy of everyday life into her paintings comes from her constant fascination with all aspects of life in Vancouver, seen from the perspective of one who arrived as a tourist, spent many years feeling somewhat “foreign” in the city, but now is certainly Home.
For the past 30 years of her artistic career, her work has become a part of private and public collections around the world. In addition to her interpretations of the sites of Vancouver and BC, Hilary has painted numerous commissions: homes, boats, interiors, and many other spaces and subjects. She was commissioned to do commemorative prints for the NBA and the NHL drafts in Vancouver, as well as a piece commemorating the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2010 Paralympic Games. She has created images used by the Vancouver City Planning Commission and the City of North Vancouver, and a piece of her Granville Island artwork is hanging in the head office of the CMHC in Ottawa.
Home: Grown is a retrospective of her 30 years of painting in Vancouver, reflecting on its transformations and how the city has shaped, and been shaped by, its many communities.