Charlene Vickers

Big Blue Smudge

January 21 - April 22, 2022

  College Art Gallery 1

curator, Leah Taylor

Big Blue Smudge presents recent paintings and new large-scale sculptural works by Charlene Vickers, an Anishinaabe artist based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Vickers’ work explores memory, healing and embodied connections to ancestral lands.

The paintings in this exhibition employ vivid colours to convey a sense of strength, urgency and action, while also asserting an Indigenous presence. Vickers posits, “In my painting there is beauty within my gesture, it comes from my body and my body’s history as Anishinabe Kwe/ Ojibway woman.” Her work responds to the Coast Salish land she has resided on for the last 30 years, while simultaneously acknowledging her deep connection to Wauzhushk Onigum in Northwestern Ontario, the place where she is from. For Vickers, territory is a place of existence rather than one of ownership.

Vickers’ conceptual concerns include meditations on power, protection, reclamation and kinship. Her sculptural works point to current social and cultural conditions through a varied material repertoire: from hair scrunchies and yoga mats, to an oversized carved cedar bone bead. The range of her material and conceptual engagements activate considerations across time and tradition.

Charlene Vickers, Big Blue Smudge, cardboard, canvas, paint, tin jingles, wooden buttons, shell buttons, glass beads, craft foam, felt, yarn, twine, t-shirts, yoga mat, hair scrunchies. Installation image, Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, 2021.
Charlene Vickers, Land Grew on Turtle’s back, 2021, 40” x 60”, acrylic on canvas. Courtesy Macaulay & Co. Fine Art, Vancouver. Photo: Barb Choit 


Charlene Vickers is a Vancouver-based Anishinaabe artist, and was the recipient of a VIVA Award in 2018. Her most recent exhibitions include a solo exhibition at the Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver (2021), an exhibition alongside Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun at Macaulay & Co. Fine Art, as well as exhibitions at Nanaimo Art Gallery, Vancouver Art Gallery, the Biennale national de sculpture Contemporaine, Oakville Galleries, Art Museum at the University of Toronto, and SFU Gallery at Simon Fraser University. She has also shown internationally in group exhibitions at the Portland Art Museum and MoCNA in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She holds undergraduate degrees from Emily Carr University of Art and Design (Studio) and Simon Fraser University (BA, Critical Studies), as well a Master of Fine Art degree from the School for Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University.