In this world where the female form is a loaded gun, artists like Ashley Bowes find solace in animals.
The artist, who has a show at the Electric Umbrella gallery on Saturday, said her visual focus of late has centred on West Coast animals in particular.
However her work is anything but Robert Bateman-esque realism.
Employing a splattery, sketchy style reminiscent of Hunter S. Thompson illustrator Ralph Stedman, Bowes utilizes a fresh, vibrant palette of colours that stray far from woodland greens.
Starting out at Vancouver Island University, Bowes is currently finishing up a fine arts degree at the Univeristy of Victoria, where the current artschool emphasis is on sculptural, three-dimensional work, said Bowes.
There was little time for the exploration of painting, so it became an extra-curricular pursuit all her own.
"What I'm doing with painting, I haven't done anything like this at art school, you kind of get caught up in he conceptual, and it's so critical," she said. "It's hard to be comfortable with what you like and what you do without over-thinking it."
With this series, which started last summer, Bowes said felt free to let it develop organically.
To use animals as her subject also felt natural.
"If I do a woman, it's complicated no matter what," said Bowes. "People are really personal and complicated, and animals are almost a more abstract medium. .. You don't have as much intense baggage when you look at an animal, as opposed to a face. It's a little more abstract, but you can kind of communicate more, in a way."
The show's opening is at 8 p.m. on Aug. 31, at the Electric Umbrella Gallery, 321 Wesley St. and pieces will be for sale.
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