kerry ferris, (1949-2016) who preferred in her professional life for her name to be written in all lower case letters, was born and raised in London, Ontario. She attended H. B. Beal Secondary School, and then Fanshawe College where she studied cinematography. While ferris felt she was a self-taught artist, her studies at Fanshawe College inspired her to paint in a style similar to the way a camera can capture a fleeting moment. kerry had worked for Western Libraries for 29 years, and was a founding member of London’s artist-run center, the Forest City Gallery. kerry’s works are in the permanent collections of the McIntosh Gallery, Western University, Museum London, the Art Gallery of St. Thomas-Elgin, the Woodstock Art Gallery, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and many other public and private collections.
In regards to her 1999 exhibit through webs of light at the London Regional Art and Historical Museum (now Museum London), then LRAHM curator James Patten (now Director and Chief Curator of McIntosh Gallery) observed:
“For ferris, life is cyclical, and her past experiences of the natural environment and the people she has met through her travels inform her work. People and animals she has seen in Zimbabwe, the Canadian arctic, or the Galápagos Islands cross paths with the butterflies and thistles of her own garden. By ignoring the rules of chronological time and boundaries of geography, ferris is able to depict her experience of the world with incredible originality and eloquence.”
ferris’ work expressed her interconnectedness with people and nature. With a unique sense of movement and colour, her works endeavored to capture what she referred to as the “ancient rhythms” that govern nature and the cosmos. ferris’ work emphasizes a highly detailed, fractured surface, paired with a flattening of space that merges foreground and background into a larger, shifting pattern.
“I paint people and landscapes – with people – their lives are on their faces – clenched in their hands or – in children – their eyes – lines are the landscapes of people – I paint people with interesting landscapes or children with the excitement of landscapes – it could be said in reverse I paint landscapes with the interesting lines of people…”
Over the decades she remained an active contributor to exhibitions at the Forest City Gallery, the McIntosh Gallery, Museum London, and the Embassy Cultural House. At the Embassy Cultural House, she had a solo exhibition storm lines in 1985 and participated in Drawings, a group exhibit the same year, as well asSilent Auction: A Benefit Exhibition in 1989.
kerry ferris passed away in London, Ontario on September 20th, 2016, at age 67. The estate of kerry ferris is represented by Westland Gallery, London, Ontario. Please visit the Westland Gallery website for more information and images of her work.