Victoria-based artist Esther Parker was born and raised in England but has lived most of her life in British Columbia. Esther’s artwork reflects her ongoing interest in geology, geomorphology and the colossal forces that shape our landscapes.
She is a largely self-taught artist, although she has studied part-time at the Emily Carr University of Art and Design and most recently at the Vancouver Island School of Art. She also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in geography from the University of Victoria.
Esther’s work has been exhibited at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, the Sooke Fine Art Show, the Sidney Fine Art Show, and the Slide Room Gallery.
Rocks tell seemingly impossible stories of moving continents, seabeds rising and falling, mountains forming and of the Earth violently rupturing, folding and fracturing. The immense upheavals, pressures and collisions and the vast amounts of time required to create landscapes – are the subjects of my drawings.
Photos and maps of geological features serve as departure points for my imagined land forms. I use the language of cross-sections and map symbols to describe the evolution of each rock formation. I etch lines into the paper’s surface, which I cover with charcoal to reveal the complex structures beneath our feet that many of us take fore granted. The sinuous, wave-like lines refer to the fluidity and movement of the Earth’s crust, whereas the dense, dark-patterned lithosphere reflects its stability and apparent permanence.
I add collage elements to the drawings – buildings, human figures and rock fragments – to introduce elements of our known world. These familiar scenes present a stark contrast to the landforms that I have constructed. The differences between the ordinary and extraordinary and the tangible and the conceptual together serve to heighten the drama unfolding above and beneath the Earth’s surface.
Just as geologists and cartographers use map symbols and diagrams to describe the world, my imagined landforms reflect my attempt to understand the monumentally slow and powerful forces that continue to create the landscapes that we all inhabit.