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‘Splendid Isolation’ by Eva McCauley

May 26 - July 24, 2022

Opening Reception: Saturday May 28, 2022 from 2-4PM  |  Main gallery at the Elora Centre for the Arts

‘Splendid Isolation’ is a series of paintings exploring themes of isolation, uncertainty, and transience during the strange and surreal time of the global pandemic but also, simultaneously, of enhanced connections, and deepening of the creative spirit.

This has been a time of renewal as we explore new ways to live.  Many of us are re-examining our existence and what is most important to us, as we emerge from the pandemic, finding new meaning in our transformed lives as we plot a course in still uncharted waters.

In his novel, “Kafka on the Shore”, Haruki Murakami wrote:

“Once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in.”

The paintings in this exhibition are Eva McCauley’s response to the pandemic of 2020/21, during which there has been an ongoing struggle to make sense of our shifting world.  These paintings embrace uncertainty and a feeling of fragmentation, while also unveiling a beauty arising from creating in solitude, resulting in transitional realizations and insights, during a time of conflicting political tensions, and personal and social constraints. This is reflected in the paintings through strangely lit environments of strongly contrasting light and colour, inhabited by solitary figures.

We are living through a life-transforming time with an unseen enemy that is grim and frightening, yet strangely abstract. Most of the pieces are night scenes, both urban and rural, and inhabited by solitary figures who are dissolving, shifting and not very tangible.  Even the ground is shifting beneath their feet. They inhabit places that the artist has been in the past. There is a loose narrative being created in the paintings, unresolved and open ended. The narrative is deliberately unresolved, to convey the feeling of uncertainty and unpredictability, with everything in flux.

Eva uses a combination of printmaking and painting techniques when executing her paintings. When she creates monotypes she uses a reductive approach, pulling away dark ink with her fingers to create light and reveal form. Eva has been using a similar process in her paintings, creating imagery that emerges mysteriously in a haptic way. This generates a powerful feeling of light, created by strong tonal and colour contrasts: acrid greens and yellows, purples and saturated reds.

The overriding sense of insecurity and apprehension is tangible, and Eva expresses that in her work. Yet there is also a sense that the pandemic presents an unprecedented opportunity for deepening creativity and human connections.  Beauty is being spun from bleakness during this time of transition.   Indeed, splendid isolation.



Join Eva for a FREE ARTIST TALK this summer in the gallery!  For more details please click here.

View Eva’s work in our VIRTUAL GALLERY!  Click here to view.

Take a VIDEO TOUR of the exhibition!  Click here to view.

View an EXHIBITION CATALOGUE  Click here to view. (printed copies are available in our Artisan Shop)

About the Artist:

Eva McCauley is a painter and printmaker known for her atmospheric, expressive paintings of sky, water and shifting landscapes that explore the passage of time and the transient and ephemeral nature of the spiritual and physical world. She is also a figurative artist, and is fascinated with the human condition, and the fragility of our existence. She divides her time between her studios in Bear River, N.S., and Elmira, Ontario, painting people and places that are steeped in personal significance.

Her work explores the process of recollection and how we process memories. Her focus is not on the recreation of a specific image or moment, but the creation of something informed by the act of remembering — an act which renders past experiences as ephemeral, and constantly in flux, resulting in works which perpetually shift, their images lyrical, ghost-like, and ethereal.

She studied visual art at the Ontario College of Art and Design, receiving an O.C.A.D. diploma in drawing & painting (1983), a B.F.A. from University of Guelph (1994) and a M.F.A. from University of Waterloo (1996).

She has exhibited internationally and nationally, with solo exhibitions at ArtsPlace Gallery in Annapolis Royal, N.S., (Splendid Isolation, 2021), St. Thomas Elgin Art Centre (World’s Edge, 2014);  Wandesford Quay Gallery in Cork (In/Visible, Aug/Sept. 2012); Limerick Printmakers (In/Visible, August/Sept. 2010); Elora Centre for the Arts, Elora, Ontario, and Harbinger Gallery, Waterloo (Solas agus Scáth‎, 2009),   Kitchener Waterloo Art Gallery (Momento Mori); Open Studio, Toronto (Ruptured Time); Bau-Xi Gallery, Toronto (Colour of MemoryMutable as WaterGaze); and solo and group exhibitions at Harbinger Gallery, Waterloo; Kitchener Waterloo Art Gallery 2nd Biennale (2005); and the Castellani Museum in Lewiston, N.Y. (Crossing Borders). Her work is included in collections in Canadian Embassies all over the world and is part of a Canadian boxed set collection sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

McCauley is the recipient of many awards and scholarships, including the W.O. Forsythe Painting Award (1983), Bronfman Printmaking Award (1993), Warner Lambert Printmaking Scholarship (1994) “Best in Printmaking Award” at the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition (1996), “Ernst & Young Purchase Award” (1996), a Canada Council “Quest” Grant for Emerging Artists (2000), as well as an Ontario Council Project Grant (2007). Her work can be found in many private and public collections such as the Kitchener Waterloo Art Gallery, Wilfrid Laurier University, Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Waterloo Regional Labour Council, and the Ernst & Young Canadian Print Collection.

She is an art educator, and has been a sessional professor of Fine Art at the University of Waterloo since 2002.

To find out more about Eva, please visit her website.

This exhibition has been curated by Annette Hansen, thanks to support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation Community Building Fund.  This funding has been instrumental in supporting the Art Centre’s emergence from the pandemic, deepen the curation of exhibitions, and supporting virtual outreach programs for students with (dis)Abilities.