Mardell’s paintings made with cloth, evoking serenity and peace, are an offering to you, to create and hold a space for sanctuary in a world in hyperdrive: more: faster: shinier: bigger, it’s hard to find space or time to retreat from the noise, the distractions, to find a place of quiet where we can step outside the constant stimuli.
The paintings use cloth as a way of evoking calming sensations in your mind and body.
The blue and grey colours here on Canada’s West Coast are vividly intense on a summer day, misty and muted during the long rainy winter - and are a natural fit to embody these qualities. The fluid linear patterns created during the composition of the artwork create a quiet and grounding rhythm. They invite you to slow down into a relaxing and restorative tranquillity.
The paintings are created from cotton cloth Mardell paints using a series of intricate processes. It begins with fixatives to help the pigment bond with the cloth. Japanese seaweed is used to thicken dye paints. Mark-making tools ranging from twigs to paintbrushes create texture and movement as the dye paint is applied to the cloth.
Finally, the cloth rests for 24 hours while the chemical bonding of dye particles to the cloth completes.
Mardell uses just one single form, the rectangle, to compose the work. The rigid construct of the rectangle is softened thru the use of cloth, thru the organic shaping of each ‘rectangle’ and the slow intuitive marks of the hand. Thread is applied first with her domestic sewing machine and then stitched by hand to create varieties of textures, telling a quiet story with light and motion across the surface of the painting.
Mardell describes her journey to becoming an artist:
“Art found me...in my mid 50’s...overwhelmed...anxious...fooling myself with the illusion of control...working a high pressure, fast paced corporate gig as a software engineer. Little windows of peace started happening as I created meters upon meters of hand painted cloth informed by the textures and colours of the Pacific Ocean and the temperate rainforest. From these, the voice of my art began to speak to me.”
Mardell works from her home studio in Burnaby, B.C. with work exhibited internationally in France, Italy, the U.S. and Canada. A number of her artworks have been acquired by collectors across Canada and the United States.
Mardell expresses her gratitude to be living and working on the ancestral & unceded territories of the hənqəminəm and Sḵwx̱wúmesh speaking peoples.