What Lies Within: Lisa Geddes at the Summer Gallery August 18th to 28th

Aug 4 11:00am - Aug 14 4:00pm

Child Friendly
Denman Island Arts Centre, 1016 Northwest Road

What Lies Within: Lisa Geddes at the Summer Gallery August 18th to 28th

Shadows of the subconscious

The final show of the Summer Gallery opening on August 18th brings a new painter to Denman Island. Lisa Geddes has been visiting Denman Island whenever she could over the last fifteen years. The family grown up, she finally persuaded her husband that the move from Whistler should happen now.  Geddes needs her sea, but What Lies Within is driven by a deep interest in the forest, and in particular, the world of stumps. Subtle and evocative, What Lies Within evokes the shadows of the subconscious, drawing us into ourselves.

Intuitive explorations

World is the word because stumps harbour new life in their decay, offering shelter and a home for forest rebirth. Each stump is a community in its own right.  Geddes is drawn to big, old stumps, maybe blackened by fire or the moss gleaming with uncanny brilliance in the filtered forest light, the kind with hollows where she can crawl in to experience their inner space which she finds both scary and comforting. But Geddes paintings are not a representational celebration of biological renewal or cultural statement. They are intuitive explorations of what stumps may suggest about us, without trying to lay on a story in any specific sense.

An expressive painter

Geddes describes herself as an expressive painter. There may or may not be a representational object in mind but she works without anticipation of what will happen. She responds to each mark as she goes and likes to use elements that pose a problem or send her off in another direction. For example, a piece of rough fabric applied to the canvas becomes an obstacle to her brush stroke, calling for a change of approach. Working “non-objectively,” she is sensitive to emergent energies, such as figures suggested by a shape in the stump that take on an independent existence.


Geddes sees a certain consistency. In painting trees, she found herself interested in the shadow between the branches, the penumbral shapes that suggest a life of their own, and no longer wanted to work so much with flat shapes. The highly modelled surfaces suggest strong emotional textures, and the contrasting dark of the hollows become a language of form, an implied story.


Geddes has painted most of her adult life, starting off as a graphic designer in her twenties before she entered the fine arts program at UBC. Marriage and the children that followed took up most of her time. She has been able to paint with “serious purpose” only in the last ten years. She tends to work in periods of retreat that permit an intense focus.


Geddes works almost exclusively in acrylics, though the Craft Store has some watercolours. Jane Fawkes’s recent show Callanish: Ancient Stones and Tide Pools had some monoprints that caught Geddes’s attention and that she might explore.