Bev Pike is known for her monumentally-scaled gouache on paper paintings. In them, she arranges bundles of fabric into compositions simultaneously resembling landscapes, details from domestic spaces, and the interiors of the body. For her most recent series, Pike traveled to England, visiting artificial grottoes that were popular landscape features in the gardens of the elite. Decorated with crystals, seashells, statuary, and water features, these real but unlikely spaces are fruitful grounds for Pike’s imagination: she combines architectural details from the grottoes with elements of fantasy, rendering opulent sites of leisure that hint at darker themes. The idea of underground living also conjures images of Cold War-era bomb shelters and the bunkers of modern doomsday preppers; a reignited fear of nuclear war and looming environmental concerns cast Pike’s grotto paintings in a more somber, science-fictional light.
Winnipeg artist Bev Pike’s work has exhibited across Canada in solo and group exhibitions. Her work is held in the collections of the Canada Council Art Bank, the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, the Manitoba Arts Council Art Bank, the Winnipeg Art Gallery, the MacKenzie Art Gallery, and the Robert McLaughlin Art Gallery, among others.
Bev Pike, Buried Dancing Pavilion, 2015, gouache on paper. Photo: Robert Barrow, courtesy of the artist.