Barbara Safran de Niverville’s large format paintings and low relief panels explore the tension between beauty, natural forces and the effects of technology, a domain between wilderness and civilization. Known primarily as a landscape painter, she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with Distinction from Mount Allison University (1977), Sackville, NB. Safran de Niverville holds a Master of Fine Arts degree (2014) from the Lesley University College of Art and Design (formerly the Art Institute of Boston, Cambridge, MA). Honors include the Alumni Award for the most progress during the MFA program and the Sheila Hugh MacKay Master of Fine Arts Scholarship.
Nominated for the 2018 Prix Éloizes in visual arts, Safran de Niverville has shown her work widely in Atlantic Canada since the late 1970s. She has also exhibited her drawings and paintings in Ontario, Manitoba, Iceland and the USA. Safran de Niverville has participated in artist residencies and has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards. As a cultural advocate, she regularly takes part in professional peer juries, maintains membership in cultural organizations and has taught visual arts at the Université de Moncton. Safran de Niverville lives and maintains a studio in Riverview, NB.
Artist Statement, Vanitas by the Sea / Vanitas par la mer
Using a combination of natural and synthetic materials, my mixed-media panels represent a metaphor for the hybrid quality of the natural world. I question our concept of wilderness and reveal the flux between Nature and Culture and the tension between growth and decline. My current work explores outcast and forgotten areas of landscape that retain traces of human use. Essential to my process is experimentation, through digital photography, drawing, and testing new combinations of art techniques and industrial products.
- Barbara Safran de Niverville, 2022
Description of the Exhibition, Vanitas by the Sea / Vanitas par la mer
Vanitas by the Sea / Vanitas par la mer references the Vanitas genre of Baroque Western Art and evokes the mysterious resilience of uncultivated growth between a beach and a forest. Discarded domestic objects punctuate intricate vegetation as it fades into shadow. These microcosms of abandoned land survive within humanity’s indifference.
Popular in Europe during the Baroque era, Vanitas portrays realistic and symbolic objects to suggest the hubris of mankind and the inevitability of mortality. Barbara has reinterpreted this point of view, while recognizing the subtle influence of the present pandemic. She has chosen to include objects in her work that are worn with use but seem to possess an aura of their past significance, much like the shadowed land they inhabit.