July 28 to August 26, 2017

Dark Sand Asks Why You Talk So Fast

Megan Hepburn

Opening Friday, July 28, 7pm


When you ask the painting “What do you want?” you are not asking, “What colour do you want right now, next to this one?” (Although you might think you are.) I asked this question, and this is what the paintings answered:

We want to tell you about a dream where we can lie on the rocks, in a place where there may be ravens, and a sailboat. We might be in the rain in a boat, or a bathtub in the ocean. We want to be a lighthouse in the storm, to ride the waves, and to send signals to the circle. We may keep fires burning so you know there are others out there. We will protect what is dormant, let it fallow, germinate and rest. We want to talk to Picasso in Morocco, to feel the sun, to speak in french with the other dancers and not have any worries. To be mad. To transcend time.

In this work I am exploring a conception of meaning that ties back to Matisse, and the disconnection of meaning inherent in materials or concepts. He said, “In my way of painting, yellow does not mean sun, and blue does not mean sky.” This is obvious and very simple, but it describes a separation from representational thinking—even in its early modern stages where painters are still ultimately painting tableaux. I'm trying to pull this all apart, I want to be able to move on from Matisse, but I'm finding it hard. One hundred years is in fact not that long. I'm still questioning how paintings currently relate to any systems of meaning at all, aside from the economic ones. The ways they make meaning are multiple, and not only circumstantial.

The paintings in Dark Sand Asks Why You Talk So Fast are an ungainly choir, all with distinct parts. I have been interested in using brushes that are too small for the amount of canvas they are meant to cover (at least in modern terms). This constraint allows for little dexterity and detail, or any ease of action or gesture. Using too-small brushes feels more like scribbling or drawing than painting. It's the exact wrong amount of detail orientation, like reading the news on your phone. The choir sings from across a gulf. Some of them mumble, some hum. Their voices vary from soft and low to hysterical. Speaking isn't easy for them. Listening comes naturally.

– Megan Hepburn, July 2017


Megan Hepburn received her MFA from Concordia University in 2010 and BFA from Emily Carr University in 2005. She was shortlisted for the RBC Painting Competition in 2015 and 2010 and won the Joseph Plaskett Award in Painting in 2010. Hepburn's work has been exhibited across Canada and in Europe since 2006, and published in journals including The Capilano Review, AAB and The Benefit of Friends Collected. Recent exhibitions include A Terrible Signal at Access Gallery in Vancouver and Painting Enquiry at the Salzburg International Summer Academy of Fine Arts, Austria. She is currently based in Vancouver, Canada.

People People, Megan Hepburn, 2017, oil on canvas, 20x26".