Squamish artist’s grizzly works on display at Bateman gallery | Squamish Chief

Squamish artist’s grizzly works on display at Bateman gallery

Mathias Horne showing at Grizzly Bears: Teachers of the Land exhibit in Victoria

Hometown artist Mathias Horne, 23, is currently in Victoria for the opening of Grizzly Bears: Teachers of the Land exhibit at the Bateman Foundation Gallery of Nature.

The exhibit, which features three of Horne's pieces, is a partnership between the Bateman Foundation and the Grizzly Bear Foundation.

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The Chief caught up with Horne for a chat about the exhibit and much more.

What follows is an edited version of that conversation.

"Serene" by Mathias Horne.
"Serene" by Mathias Horne. - Courtesy Mathias Horne

Q: Tell me how this exhibition came about?

A: I have been working with the Grizzly Bear Foundation for about a year. A month ago, the Bateman gallery reached out to me, just through my website. I had about a month to prepare. I actually painted two new pieces for the exhibition; so, I submitted three artworks. Two I did in the past month and a half. It was a busy month. I am really excited and proud of the work I submitted.

Q: Can you tell me more of what your submissions are like, for anyone who won't be able to go?

A: They are mostly portraiture, like most of my work for the Grizzly Bear Foundation, and they are curated in black and white. I really like black and white hues. There is almost a sense of classic film. It is a way of bringing in the idea of preservation into my artistic statement. I am depicting animals in a way that could be seen as taken a long time ago — that they might not exist today. Two of the images are right up close to the grizzly bear and then the other one is a mother and cub.

Q: Can you tell me a bit about the process of creating your art?

A: I mostly work in acrylic paints on canvas. I always like to choose reference imagery. I have awesome photographers who send me images.

(I have never seen a grizzly up close, but I saw them in Alaska from a distance.)

I like to sift through and find imagery that shows the grizzly in not an aggressive or scary way. Instead, I choose an image where the bear is calmer and presents its personality more.

Q: All art scenes, including in Squamish, are struggling due to COVID-19 restrictions. What is it like being an artist at this time?

A: When COVID first started, I felt quite down because everything came to a screeching halt, especially in the art world. But then I realized that everything was taking a break and this is kind of an awesome time to explore your own artistic expression, and thoughts that you haven't had the time or the space for.

I am thankful to have had that time and space to prepare myself for projects that are just starting right now. I really feel like the artwork I am producing this year is a lot stronger and more authentic than any of my past work.

Also, during this time I worked with the Martin family to design the sign for Miki’s Magic: the memorial trail for my good friend and Squamish athlete Mikayla Martin. This is a project that means a lot to me — specifically as we mark her passing one year ago this week.

Q: Do you think you can or will make a living from being an artist?

A: I am definitely not thinking of painting as a career right now, but it seems to present itself through any job I have had. You can really adapt a visual approach into almost any career.

Q: You graduated from Quest University in 2019?

A: Yes, I graduated from Howe Sound and really thought I would leave, but felt that Quest was a good fit.

I was torn between going to art school and going for more of a broader education.

While at Quest, I went on an academic exchange to study fine art at the University of Wales in Cardiff. It was an interesting experience and it gave me the opportunity for a traditional arts education. I think it made me more thankful for choosing a broader education.

Q: How do you reflect on your education at Quest and the struggles it is going through financially?

A: I think the quality of education at Quest is so profound and diverse and you really make meaningful connections with tutors, and teachers and friends that I don't think you would anywhere else. While in Victoria, I am going to be meeting with my mentor from Quest. She is hopefully going to come out to the art exhibition.

Q: You were born and raised in Squamish. What do you make of the changes the town has been through in your lifetime?

A: I think there are some really cool changes. There is a big split within it, for sure, about how fast it is growing. But, there have been some cool opportunities. All the different local businesses that are starting to blow up there and the people and stories from all different demographics is really neat to see. So, I don't think the change is negative in any way. I am kind of excited to see where it goes.

Q: What is next for you?

A: I am taking each project on its own. I am living in Vancouver and sussing out where I want to go to next. It just seems that different opportunities are presenting themselves. I am pretty optimistic that things are moving along and coming my way.

The Grizzly Bears: Teachers of the Land exhibit runs from Oct. 3 to Jan. 23, 2021 at the Bateman Foundation Gallery of Nature in Victoria.

"Watchful eye" by Mathias Horne.
"Watchful eye" by Mathias Horne. - Courtesy Mathias Horne

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