in the garden


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in the garden

Bree Hyland and Ian Funke-MckKay

For many cultures, the garden has been a metaphor for one-ness with the natural world and a place of repose, beauty and contemplation. Often constructed to create space for meditation, the garden has historically been a space in which ‘getting and spending’ is put at a distance. For Bree Hyland and Ian Funke-McKay, painting in their garden two hundred years after the Industrial Revolution has wrung itself out, a more porous relationship between ‘artificial’ and ‘natural’ life exists.

Bree Hyland’s paintings of single objects are, like the vials of perfume she also creates, a distillation of image, memory and context. Many of the paintings suggest layers of erasure and repainting as Hyland gradually finds her way to the densest and most succinct version of the object possible. This creates the sensation of seeing the object with remarkable freshness. Yet the image can seem to writhe between one meaning and another: a black cat, a void, a redaction, a weight, a warmth. The multiple meanings that we attach to image lie all around this body of work, an invisible chattering field of folklore, embodiment, culture and commodity.

Ian Funke-McKay’s digital collages draw directly from a vast body of historical images. Moving freely and joyfully between centuries, combining images from multiple media, Funke-McKay creates lush, gorgeously-coloured garden scenes. But, as with Hyland’s work, the sense of a world outside the image lingers. Funke-McKay’s use of digital technology – blurred edges, over-exposure, filters, transparent overlays, and particularly a matte darkness that surrounds most of the prints suggest a vantage-point that may not be entirely human. The images become x-rays of the past; it is unknown what the diagnostician will discover.
-selected from Sara Hartland-Rowe

Hyland and Funke-McKay have been connected with Ross Creek for a number of years and we are delighted to welcome their beautifully realised work to the gallery for the first time together.

Ross Creek gratefully acknowledges the support of the Province of Nova Scotia for our gallery, and Sara Hartland-Rowe for her insight.

About the Artist

Bree Hyland and Ian Funke-McKay

Based in Mi’kma’ki / Nova Scotia, Ian Funke-McKay attended NSCAD University (BFA 2014). With a focus on painting, he builds specialized emblems, figurines, and displays, that are combined for exhibition purposes. Curatorial projects include Invisible Bright Touch, Cork Street Project Space, Halifax, NS, and Stack Effect 9, Concordia University, Montreal, QC. Recent exhibitions include in the garden at the Eltuek Arts Centre, Sydney, Nova Scotia. Local and international residencies include the Visual + Digital Arts program at The Banff Centre (2018), CFAT Media Arts Scholarship (2018), The Vermont Studio Center (2017), and the Visual Arts at Chautauqua Institution, NY (2014). From 2019-2024 he worked as Arts Programming Director at Ross Creek Centre for the Arts. His projects have received the support of Arts Nova Scotia, and Canada Council for the Arts.

Ian Funke-McKay:

Bree Hyland studied painting and drawing at NSCAD University (BFA 2014). She currently lives and works in Scots Bay, Nova Scotia / Sipekne’katik one of the seven regions of Mi’kma’ki, Canada. Bree’s process of drawing and painting generates unexpected outcomes, seeking to invent simple and direct forms of representation that weave together various painting traditions and diverse subject matter from folk art, medieval illuminated manuscripts, botanical illustrations, high fashion photography, pre Renaissance art and early modernist painting. Bree’s projects have received the support of Arts Nova Scotia, Canada Council for the Arts, and she is a seasonal faculty member at Ross Creek Centre for the Arts and NSCAD University.

Bree Hyland:

Click below to learn more about the artist at an external website. 

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