Born in Portugal, Maria Medina immigrated to Revelstoke, British Columbia with her parents at a young age. Since then, she has travelled and lived in many parts of North America, including Mexico, Texas, and Edmonton, Alberta, eventually settling down again back in Revelstoke. Following a career that touched on a variety of paths, from forestry to graphic design, she began taking art classes at the Kootenay School of Arts in Nelson, starting in sculpture and metalwork and eventually moving into painting. The switch, she explains, came from a simple starting point. “I just wanted to work with colour.”
Medina’s large scale oil paintings are filled with detail and an attention to composition that stems from her sculpture background. Meticulous and finely crafted, each painting can take months to complete. Her brilliantly coloured still lives seem straightforward at first glance, but closer inspection reveals oddities and surrealism that elevate her compositions to the extraordinary – a swarm of butterflies perches and hovers around an exuberant bouquet, a kingfisher perches on a watermelon with a fishing lure in its beak, or two tanagers study each other from a massively oversized urn and absurdly tiny chair.
Medina avoids pulling influence from any one place, preferring to study and reference renaissance and realist artists of past movements. Despite the laborious process, she says that this is the part she enjoys the most. “I’m always relieved to finish something I’ve spent two months looking at, but I like the whole thing. Otherwise, why would you do it?” In 2018, she presented her first solo exhibition “Hyperbole” at the Revelstoke Art Gallery. The West End Gallery is pleased to be the exclusive dealer of Maria’s work.