Opening Reception: Thursday April 3, 6 – 8 PM

Pender Painting#1-website












In her fifth solo exhibition, “Sorting Ground: Pender Island“, at the Gallery, Lesley Finlayson gives us a fresh response to the West Coast landscape. Like nature itself, the work is bold, vibrant and sensuous.

It’s skillful. Finlayson copies no one, yet her work resounds with images and suggestions of traditions from Monet to the Group of Seven. It’s distinctly Canadian. A graduate of the Glasgow School of Art, Finlayson is trained in the plein air tradition and applies this sensibility to her work.

She challenges us to feel this landscape in ferocious strokes and smudges of yellow, red and black. It’s almost tropical in its vibrancy, yet there’s a delicacy to this work in the detail and references to narrative. This is a conversation with nature, not nature in isolation.

There is truth in these paintings and drawings, from the small sketches that include details of shape and form, to the larger works that depict the energy in the trees through one or two broad strokes from earth to sky. Finlayson states: “I am not drawn to botanical accuracy, but rather, picking out exquisite visual relationships.” The colours and shapes in the work are invigorating and joyful. There is no fear of nature. This work is energetic, evocative and timeless.

Born in Scotland, Lesley Finlayson graduated with honours from the Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow and received her MFA from the University of Calgary, Calgary AB.  She has received numerous grants including the Alberta Art Foundation Scholarship and the Graduate Assistantship (teaching) University of Calgary in 1989, the Graduate Assistantship (Research) University of Calgary in 1987 and the Elizabeth Greenshields Scholarship in 1983. She is the former Department Chair and Instructor, Fine Arts, at Langara College in Vancouver, BC and is now a full-time painter. Finlayson has had numerous solo exhibitions in Canada and the United Kingdom. Her work is included in corporate and private collections in North America and abroad.

Selected works