A Joint Show of New Work by

Margaret Sutherland and Jane Derby


While Margaret Sutherland and Jane Derby have studios beside each other, the art they make couldn’t be more different, both in materials as well as subject matter.  It was during the course of a casual conversation over tea last fall that they discovered a technically sound and deeply thought provoking thematic link with respect to their current work. At the time, Sutherland was deeply preoccupied with the exploration of flesh and the study of the human figure, while Derby’s studies involved the examination of the human skeleton. It was out of this very conversation that the title and idea for this new exhibit, Flesh and Bone, was born.  Flesh and Bone, a joint show of new work by Margaret Sutherland and Jane Derby, will be on display at Studio22 from October 29th to November 30th. 

“Of course, the subject matter flesh and bone necessarily references the concept of “Memento Mori”, the artistic or symbolic reminder of our mortality.  A common theme in figure painting and still life, the point of this reminder isn’t to be morbid, but to inspire an urgent sense of the meaningfulness of life.” – Jane Derby

The Artwork

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Margaret Sutherland is a Kingston-based artist who received national attention for the resale of her painting Emperor Haute Couture (2005), which depicted former Prime Minister Stephen Harper reclining in the nude, that sold privately to a buyer in B.C. for 4x’s its original sale price just ahead of her very successful exhibit – Roller Derby, Politics and Other Blood Sports – with Studio22 back in October of 2015. Sutherland’s work has, at its heart, a preoccupation with the cultural ideal of the body and society’s distorted perception of the external form. While bone structures are generally very similar, the flesh on top manifests itself in very different ways. Her work critiques the traditional rendering of the figure and exposes the judgement we place on one another and ourselves.

Jane Derby, a native Kingston artist with a loyal and solid local following, uses a variety of techniques to repurpose discarded and everyday materials. Inspiration for her skeletal subject matter came from the winter she spent drawing at the Queen’s Anatomy Museum. Derby explores the notion of the bones and ribcage of the house. She chooses as material, lath, strips of wood left exposed in older houses where lath and plaster are replaced by drywall. The aging process created subtle differences in the colors of the wood, and the artist uses this as the substate on which she gouges and inks skeletal shapes. The work hints of the bones as fossils, bone structures buried deep in permanent material. 

Flesh and Bone is a show of two separate, yet complimentary, bodies of work by two unique artists that viewed side by side reminds us of our own mortality and suggests that perhaps beauty is not only skin deep.

A decade after graduating from Queen’s University in Arts and then Education, Margaret Sutherland formalized her professional art pursuit with a Master of Fine Arts (Cum Laude) in 2001 from the Graduate School of Figurative Art of the New York Academy of Art. Her highly sought oil paintings are in numerous private collections across the country. 

Since graduating from OCAD with honors in 2007, Jane Derby has worked full time as an artist. Her work has been shown in Kingston, Ottawa and Toronto. Derby has won a number of prizes and awards, including the Environmental Spirit Award from the Recycling Council of Ontario. She is an active member of the Kingston arts community, organizing and jurying shows, participating in environmental action, and being on the board of the Organization of Kingston Women Artists.  This is her second exhibit with Studio22.

Flesh and Bone is on exhibit at Studio22 from Tuesday, October 29th until Saturday, November 30th. Previews and pre-sales will take place from October 29th – 30th. Margaret Sutherland and Jane Derby will give a joint artist talk at the gallery that is open to the public on Thursday, November 21st at 5:15pm.

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