Carol's Artist Statement & Curriculum Vitae
"Beginning as a child I turned to nature for comfort when confronted with challenging life experiences and the array of emotions that they created in me. Nature sent me inward to find means of expression to help me digest my life experiences. I began keeping a diary at age 10. At 15 I took up photography and I began to capture images in the outer world in which I was trying to make my way. In my late 20s I ventured into the world of watercolour painting and discovered I could match my emotions intuitively with colours and which sends them flowing over the paper surface with the help of water. My mysterious inner world created images. Each of these mediums brings me peace.
“Nature is not only all that is visible to the eye, it also includes the inner pictures of the soul.” - Edvard Munch
“My paintings are an expression of my heart and soul. I paint my tears, my joy, my anger, the love I feel, all the emotions I experience. Using water, paper, brush and pigment, I give my feelings expression and a voice. In so doing, I transform them before my very eyes. I see it as an alchemical, transformational process. My paintings become my sonnets and my poetry. They are my short stories. They are my operas and blues. They are my jazz. And they are my teachers and my mentors.”
Carol emigrated to Canada in 1970 from the United States, after receiving a Bachelor’s of Art Degree with an individual (self-designed) major “Culture and Creativity” from the University of California at Berkeley. That summer she met her life partner, Jim McElroy, at the Banff Centre, School of Fine Arts Photography Program, in which they were both enrolled. After a year working as a journalist in Calgary at the Calgary Herald, Carol then spent several years in Vancouver working as a freelance photographer and writer and teaching photography for the University of British Columbia, Department of Continuing Education, as well as for the Vancouver School Board. She has always been interested in “capturing the true essence of a person,” whether it is herselt or others, and her writing and photography helped her do this. She found it rewarding to teach others this explorative ability and to be a part of their creative journey.
Carol enrolled in the Vancouver School of Art (now the Emily Carr University of Art and Design) to study watercolour painting in 1975. She felt a need to explore a medium that went further than her camera could into the emotional inner world.
“I wanted to work with a medium in which I could explore, express, and record the travels and seasons of my inner world. I wanted to create directly from my heart, from my intuition, my feelings and less from my head. It’s a voice from an inner world. Photography for me has been a way of capturing what I see in the visible world. I write to express my thoughts and my feelings, perceptions and ideas. In my paintings, I am documenting energy. I am documenting the energy of what I feel and sense, making visible the energy of a situation, a relationship, an experience.”
Carol’s abstract patterns of colour and texture are reminiscent of landscapes not unlike those in the Canadian Rockies and the Saskatchewan Prairies or Northern Ontario, as some have commented. They are often described as ‘landscape fantasies,’ ‘inner landscapes,’ or ‘paintings you can dream in.’ The paintings remain unnamed so as to provide the viewer with the opportunity to find his or her own meaning and point of reference in them.
Notable regional group and solo exhibitions: The Canmore Artists & Artisans Guild, an organization she helped to found, 1980, 1981, 1982 exhibits; the Peter Whyte Museum (Banff) 1982 ‘Exceptional Pass’ exhibition and a solo show and lecture in Spring 1987 and a small retrospective at the Pynelogs Cultural Centre shortly after she and Jim moved to the valley full-time in 1999.
By the late ‘90’s, Carol felt the need to step back from her painting and photography and the intensity of the creative process. The ‘break’ made it possible for her to invest her energy into building a business in the wellness field. Like her art, Carol’s wellness business was based on energy and balance.
After a decade long sabbatical, when she and Jim moved to the Columbia Valley full time, Carol picked up both her camera and her brush again with renewed passion. The latest creations are colourful, bold and expressive.
“I’m not fixed on form,” says Carol, “I think I’ve always painted Energy. That’s what our world is all about. Energy. Everything we experience is the interaction of Energy.”
Kimberley Centre 64 - Upcoming Solo Exhibit: "Celebrating the 75 year Creative Journey of Carol Gordon" July 6 - 31, 2021
Pynelogs Cultural Centre, Invermere, BC (Tour of the Arts, Wing Over the Rockies, Groups Shows, Retrospective) - Upcoming Group Show: September 15 - October 4, 2021
Elevation Spa, Radium Hot Springs, BC
Kootenay Savings and Credit Union, Invermere, BC
The Blue Dog Cafe, Invermere, BC
Elements Dining Room, Copper Point Resort, Windermere, BC
Circle Cafe, Invermere, BC
Invermere Chiropractic Gallery
Joint Exhibit with watercolourists Treva Burton, Strands Restaurant, Invermere, BC
“Molding the Image of Mankind” presentation, University of British Columbia
Canmore Artist Guild, Canmore, AB
Peter Whyte Museum, Banff, AB
Photographer/Reporter, Calgary Herald; Freelance photographer and writer, Western Canada
Mackenzie Art Gallery
Joe Moran Gallery
Al Johnson Galleria, CBC
Bilingual Centre, University of Regina
“Changing the Images of Women” presentation, University of California, Irvine, CA
“We are All Children,” Photographic Exhibit, Kaiser Centre, Oakland, CA
International Photographic Salon Exhibitor, Pomona County Fair, Pomona, CA
Hamilton High School Annual Photographic Salon Exhibitor, Los Angeles, CA
Juror’s Choice, Alberta 75th Anniversary Exhibit, Canmore Artists and Artisans Guild Gallery, Canmore, AB
Scholarship to attend Vancouver School of Art (Emily Carr Art School)
Scholarships (three) to attend Banff Centre painting and photography program
Honourable Mention, Banff Centre Fine Arts Festival – Photography
Second Place, International Photographic Salon, Pomona County Fair, Pomona, CA
Hamilton High School Annual Photographic Salon exhibitor/ top ribbon earner, LA, CA
ART & PHOTOGRAPHY TEACHING:
Pynelogs Cultural Centre & Private - Painting from the Heart Watercolour classes
Vancouver School Board, Vancouver, BC - Photography Instructor – photography and darkroom courses for adults
The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC - Photography Instructor – Provided photographic courses for adults through UBC, Department of Continuing Education
Youth Resources Society, Vancouver, BC - Photography, Photography Instructor and Researcher/Writer
Berkeley Recreation Department, Berkeley, CA - Playground leader – after-school arts and crafts program for elementary school age children
Self-employment, Los Angeles - Childhood Creative Business Ventures – Neighborhood children (ages 3-4) summer day camps, neighbourhood newspaper, puppet shows, babysitting.
IraProgoff Intensive Journal Program, New York, NY - 100 Hours Journal Keeping Program
The Banff Centre, Banff, AB - Summer Painting Full-Time Programs
The Banff Centre, Banff, AB - Summer Photography Full-Time Programs (four programs - one, two and six week in length)
The Gallery of Photography, Vancouver, BC
Mendocino Art Centre, Mendocino, CA
Vancouver School of Art (now Emily Carr), Vancouver, BC – Completion of third Year Certificate – Painting
The University of California, Berkeley, CA - Bachelor of Arts Degree – “Culture and Creativity” - An individually designed major in the humanities/social sciences/arts
Alexander Hamilton High School, Los Angeles, CA - High School Diploma – Liberal Arts (including Photography)