Vanessa Lam investigates the relationship of home  to personal identity in her mixed media painting.  Shifting deep seated beliefs can feel like physical exertion. Vanessa compares the thinking process to be like “rearranging mental furniture”. The home can be viewed as a compartmentalized reflection of ourselves.  There are areas where we open up to others while other areas remain hidden. Vanessa is interested in exploring this inner realm where objects exist both in harmony and in flux. Through the process of layering and collage, Vanessa explores the tension of this relationship in her latest body of work.

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“In Scrapyard Chronicles, Vanessa Lam utilizes mixed media assemblage to explore urban environments and everyday objects. Vanessa Lam’s use of a traditional color palettes (ochres and siennas), burlap, found papers and newspaper clippings visually echoes the collage work of Pablo Picasso and Georges Braques whose collage works had an incredible influence on western modern art. However unlike Picasso and Braque, Lam includes color digital photography, and expressionist gestural painting to her mixed media works.  Refuse under Lam’s care becomes the precious subject of her mixed media collages, when she takes her camera down to the local scrapyard gleefully documenting what society would rather not see, the excesses of western culture fueled by its gratuitous waste. Lam demonstrating the well-known cliché that “one persons trash is another persons treasure” juxtaposes degraded materials with the heroic tradition of painting. Playing with the signs of western art history and the local scrapyard, Lam is able to create inventive tableaus, which confound those two very different value systems. Working with societal residue Lam’s work defies the assumption that art should explore only heroic themes like life, death, state and religion.  In treating everyday mundane objects preciously the viewer is asked to reconsider the significance of everyday rituals and the forgettable things that surround us.”

Written by K. Leigh Tennant for Scrapyard Chronicles exhibit



Vanessa Lam lives and works in Vancouver, British Columbia as a mixed media painter. Her work was selected to be in a recent issue of Uppercase Magazine. She was also awarded first place in the 2014 Semiahmoo Arts Juried Art Exhibit. Vanessa has exhibited and sold her work at various community venues and public galleries in the Lower Mainland.



Photography by: Joey Armstrong