Emiko M. Venlet, 2023
In the solo exhibition This Place by Vancouver artist Emiko M. Venlet, the focal point is the dinner table as the social fabric we use to make connections. This new body of work, prepared expressly for THIS exhibition, consists of acrylic still life paintings and papier-mâché. The paintings and sculptures reflect the artist’s humble and enduring curiosity around the sensual exploration of the in-between spaces where lived moments and memories coexist. The collection also seeks to understand the artist’s perception of memory through taste. These include locations of indulgence, the sharing of a plated meal, scenery unfolding, and the warmth of her own body.
As a painter and sculptor, Venlet’s work examines and portrays the personal and universal experiences of feeling utterly moved by the “Ichigo Ichie” moments in life. Ichigo Ichie (一期一会) is a Japanese concept that translates to “one time, one meeting”. It is used to emphasize the importance of every moment and living in the present and to recognize that each encounter is unique and fleeting. Growing up in Japan, the concept of Ichigo Ichie was taught by Venlet’s grandmother at the dinner table. She fondly recalls her grandmother saying to savour every bite – “as if it were our last”.
This Place attempts to stir new emotions in the viewer by tapping into memories of their personal Ichigo Ichie moments and opening their eyes (and palettes) to see the world differently.
North Vancouver based oil and acrylic painter, Emiko M. Venlet has been honing her skills as a still life painter for the past several years. Venlet was born and raised in Fukui, Japan, surrounded by the sea and mountains, and immigrated to Vancouver in 2010. In Deep Cove, Emiko is once again connected to mountains and the seaside, which remind her of her childhood. As a youth, Emiko’s connection to the arts and crafts was enriched by her mother and grandmother’s daily immersion in Japanese crafts. They instilled an appreciation for arts and crafts in Emiko’s young soul, teaching her the art of Japanese cuisine and the function of a kitchen and home. This led her to drawing and painting her home surroundings and the scenes and objects that have profound meaning to her.
Her current work reminds us of the dreamy and magical places in the heart and the new chapters these places bring us to. She paints and draws imaginary and narrative interior and tabletop scenes in oil and acrylic paint, including vintage treasures, books, flowers, fruit, wallpaper and anything that invokes nostalgia and the inner exploration of memories and stories. Her lively and expressive paintings bring a real sense of joy in the dark times of our modern and fast-paced life.
Emiko M. Venlet’s work has been exhibited at Barkley Care Center in North Vancouver and at numerous group shows in Vancouver and in Mexico. She was one of the selected muralists for Vancouver Mural Festival 2022 and her mural is currently on display at 54 East 3rd Ave., Vancouver. This is her first solo exhibition.
Emiko is a self taught artist and practices painting and sculpture at August Studio in East Vancouver. She writes poetry and lives in Deep Cove, North Vancouver.
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THIS Gallery acknowledges that it is situated on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples–Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations.