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About the Artist

"I translate the energy of nature into playful art that inspires us to embrace change."

Camille Myles, a Canadian contemporary artist and Park Superintendent, intertwines nature and history in her transformative art, sparking conversations about identity and motherhood using ceramics and mixed media work.. With a BFA from Ottawa University and an MA in Heritage Conservation from Carleton University, she exhibits widely, including at Quest Art Gallery, Paradigm Gallery, and PxP Contemporary. Myles has received prestigious art residencies at Studio H International and MOTHRA, as well as grants from RBC Arts Incubator ('23) and the Ontario Arts Council ('22 & '24). Passionate about public art's social impact, she creates murals and sculptures in Midland and Penetanguishene. Her work, found in private collections internationally, has been recognized by the Jealous Curator, Art Seen, Create! Magazine, Toronto Star, and various publications and podcasts. Originally from Gatineau/Ottawa, she now resides in Tiny, Ontario, with her husband and three children, drawing inspiration from the shores of Georgian Bay.

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About (RE) Emergence

Using clay, I meticulously hand-built cage-like sculptures and delicate chains, symbolizing both the unyielding strength of community and the hidden and fragile burdens we carry. Each link represents a facet of identity, a fragment of our collective stories, embracing the beauty inherent in endurance. (RE)Emergence is a celebration of resilience, an ode to the indomitable spirit of motherhood. Delicate ceramic butterflies take flight, embodying the metaphorical significance of transformation and the fleetingness of life. Hand-sculpted chains and cage-like structures symbolize both the resilience and protection inherent in a mother's hidden burdens of caregiving.

(RE) Emergence has been exhibited at the Midland Cultural Centre at Quest Art Gallery, featured by Create! Magazine, Art Seen Magazine, AQ volume 1, Le Gout de vivre & Midland Today. Camille was awarded a 2024 Ontario Arts Council grant to continue this body of work.

Learn more about the inspiration behind the work in an interview with Art Seen Magazine (Fall 2023).

Q&A: Interview excerpt from Art Seen Magazine (Fall 2023)

Q: Can you share more about the themes explored in (RE)Emergence?

Myles: (RE)Emergence" delves into the power of transformation, with a particular focus on the experience of motherhood. The exhibition emerged from a time of personal struggle after a burnout from trying to "do it all" as a working mother of three young children during the pandemic. About two years ago, I asked mothers to share with me a selfie with their eyes closed and a word that described how they were feeling. Over 100 testimonials flooded in, revealing the often-hidden struggles and joys we feel, not typically shared on curated social media pages. We all resonated with the pressures imposed by contemporary society on women — the feelings of being overwhelmed, overextended, constantly juggling multiple roles, and sometimes, losing sight of ourselves in the process. This is how I started to experiment with different media to get back into my art practice as a healing way to connect with others. Symbols from my past started to emerge, like the chains, spikes, cages, serpents, and butterflies. Butterflies were particularly important in the immersive installation “Letting Go” where they serve as harbingers of transformation, metaphors related to our roles as care-takers and catalysts for growth. The hand-built ceramic chains in the exhibition reference domestic repetitiveness, the burdens of care-taking responsibility, strength in community, and our shared fragility. Ultimately, "(RE)Emergence" is a celebration of resilience, self-discovery, and the interconnectedness of our experiences.

 

Q: Recently you have moved into Ceramics, Was this always part of your practice?

Myles: I’ve always been a multi-passionate artist, with a drive to explore, play and experiment. Actually, my very first museum show was a group show at the National History Museum in Canada where I presented a wall-mount ceramic sculpture when I was only 15 years old. After art school, I found it more difficult to continue sculpture and went towards painting. Lately, after having kids, I had to find ways to get creative with my studio practice. Painting has been a great way to escape to my studio in quick bursts or even plein air painting while my family plays around me. Also, I always like to challenge myself and learn something new so I looked for new art classes to take. I’ve been taking ceramic classes with girlfriends for a few years now to build my confidence and knowledge of the medium and as an excuse to get out of the house. I remember the teacher telling me one day: “you really don’t need my instruction anymore… just come by the studio and start making your sculptures.” He knew I was moving away from making functional things to start expressing using my own voice. I find clay so meditative, close to the body and as a former archaeologist, I know it has a deep history that feels like I’m connected with another time. I’ve realized that my art practice is in cycles and I create in seasons - in summer I’ll be painting outside with my sketchbook at hand and in the colder months, I prefer to work on ceramics, oil painting and installation concepts.

Q: Can you elaborate on the symbolism of the chains and the butterflies that appear in your installations?

Myles:The chains and butterflies in my installations embody layers of symbolism. Delicate ceramic butterflies emerging from a chain represent life's transience and the beauty in vulnerability, acting as potent symbols of transformation. Specifically, the choice of the monarch butterfly carries deeper meaning. Just as monarchs are keystone species in ecosystems, reflecting the environment's well-being, so do mothers serve as keystone figures in society, nurturing families and communities. If mothers struggle, their entire ecosystem suffers. The chains within my installations bear a dual significance. On one hand, they epitomize the weight of caregiving and motherhood, symbolizing the often-unseen burdens borne by mothers as they navigate the complexities of family care. Yet, these chains are also emblematic of pride and connection. They signify the strength and resilience inherent in caregiving, underscoring the honor and dignity of this vital role. The interplay of dark and light, intensified by the use of India ink, adds a unifying layer of meaning to the exhibition. This contrast symbolizes life's inherent duality, with moments of darkness juxtaposed against instances of light and clarity. It speaks to the complexities of human existence, where opposing forces coexist and interact. Through high contrast and black-and-white aesthetics, I invite viewers to engage with these tensions, urging them to explore the delicate equilibrium between light and dark, good and bad, and right and wrong. It serves as a reminder that embracing the darkness is an essential part of discovering light, emphasizing that personal growth often requires confronting the shadows within ourselves.

Q: You've had a number of exhibitions in recent months, what do you enjoy most about showing your art?

Myles: I truly believe that part of the magic of making art is sharing it with others. Whatever piece I work on, I feel privileged to connect with viewers and getting feedback on my work, especially in-person, is something that lights me up. Meeting other artists and feeling part of a community that understands you is an incredibly important reason why I like to participate in shows. Sometimes sharing your work through exhibitions can be a vulnerable process and almost overwhelming with so many little details behind the scenes; making enough work, editing, scouting locations, proposal writing, labels, marketing, didactics, web shop, insurance, transportation, opening night, etc. However, it’s all worth it when I see how my work resonates with others, sparking conversations or emotional responses. It becomes incredibly fulfilling and almost addictive. I’ve been showing my art ever since art school more than 20 years ago and I still get butterflies moments before opening night. In the end, I’m always proud that I followed through, going one step closer to my vision. One of the most amazing things I heard this year was a mother saying: “Through your work, I felt seen. Thank you for sharing it with the world.” I was speechless.

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