– kerry ferris
(Artist’s Statement for the Exhibition through webs of light, London Regional Art and Historical Museums, August 1999)
kerry ferris, who preferred in her professional artistic 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 largely self-taught artist, her studies at Fanshawe College inspired her to apply the principles of photography which so fascinated her – the preservation of images that otherwise would have been gone in an instant – to her own paintings.
Fueled by her interest in natural landscapes, ferris undertook many travels around the world as she searched for inspiration for her paintings, visiting Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, Zimbabwe, Canada’s arctic and east coast, and more.
ferris’ natural inspirations included environments both large and small. 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 fascination with the relationship between people and nature. Her intense connection with nature also allowed her to intensely connect with people, resonating in her deep interest in portrait work.
In the exhibition catalogue for her 1984 show Ecuador – Galapagos, at the London Regional Art Gallery (now Museum London), ferris wrote:
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 excitement of landscapes – it could be said in reverse i paint landscapes with the interesting lines of people …
kerry ferris passed away in London, Ontario in 2016.
Biography by Natalka Duncan and Luvneet Rana
Ecuador – Galapagos. London Regional Art Gallery. 1984. Exhibition Catalogue.
“In Memorium: kerry ferris.” Museum London. September 27, 2016. Accessed June 1, 2018. http://museumlondon.ca/news/2016/kerry-ferris-canadian-1949-2016.
kerry ferris: through webs of light. London Regional Art and Historical Museums, 1999. Exhibition catalogue.
Westland Gallery. “Memorial Exhibition for kerry ferris.” Westland Gallery (blog), November 14, 2016. Accessed June 1, 2018. http://www.westlandgallery.ca/blog/memorial-exhibition-for-kerry-ferris.