Articles and Reviews

From Lion's Roar
Special Edition 2019
p. 21

A Journal of Art in Everyday Life
Winter 2019
(pub. Shambala Arts)

Roberta Pyx Sutherland: Ensō Variations
October 21, 2018

Uncertainty Club
A Magazine of Zen and the Arts
June, 2018

Review by Paola Iacucci
Director of BAU Institute

Review by Bernard Vischer
President of Cercle des Amis

Review by Nicolas Tuele
Former deputy director and chief curator at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

Volume 23 No. 2 2014
(ISSN:1190-7886 )
Pages 8, 58-61

Review by Anne Gilroyed
Executive Director, Nanaimo Art Gallery

Review by Robert Amos
Times Colonist newspaper
November 1, 2013

Volume 14 No. 5 July 2006
Pages 64-71 Images

Review by Danielle Hogan

Artist Profile by Anne Hansen
James Bay Beacon

Review by King Anderson
Canadian archivist

Volume 13 No. 6 2005
Pages 48-51 Images

Review by Brian Grison
Critic, Historian

Review by Lance Olsen

Books and Catalogues


New work by Roberta Pyx Sutherland

Author and Editor: Roberta Pyx Sutherland

Layout: David Ellingsen

Cover image: Hidden Memory, Roberta Pyx Sutherland, 2019

Photograph, fungal spores on paper 63.5x51 cm (25x16.5 inches) Edition of 5

ISBN: 978-1-7774291-0-2

Copyright © 2021 Roberta Pyx Sutherland

Except essay Attentiveness to Becoming: Roberta Pyx Sutherland’s Inter-Species Art-Making © Bradley A. Clements

Editart-D.Blanco, Editart Rencontres et Dialogues 50 Ans

BimpeX International Print Catalogue
ISBN 978-0-9782396-9-5
Publisher The Society for Contemporary Works on Paper

Poésie muette / Poetry Unspoken

Mini Print Internacional De Cadaqués
2014 Canada No. 34693

ISBN 978-0-9688432-7-7
P. 28-29

Chrysalide RP Sutherland

Mini Print International
De Cadaques
Essay by Richard Planas Camps
37 pages

Chapter headings and cover image, 'Cosmic View'
ISBN o-86171-392-3
Wisdom Publications 2005
Edited by Andrew Schelling

Artropolis, Celebrating Contemporary BC Visual Art
Vancouver, BC.
144 pages. pp.
ISBN 1-895371-16-3

A Book of Days: Art For Our Time
A Project of the Volunteer Committee
Art Gallery of Victoria 1998
Page 108

Beyond the Gate
Artists' Journeys to Save the Tsitika Valley and Robson Bight. 1990 Western Canada Wilderness Committee,
Victoria, BC.
Essay by Roberta Livingstone.
48 pages.
ISBN 1-895123-09-7

Liane Davison (Curator)
Roberta Sutherland: Earth Briefing
Catalogue, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria
ISBN 0-88885-099-9

Art In Victoria, 1960/1986
1986 Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Victoria, BC.
Essay by Nicholas Tuele and Liane Davison.
180 pages.
ISBN 0-88885-093-X

British Columbia's Women Artists
1885 - 1985

Robert Amos

Times Colonist newspaper

November 1, 2013


Roberta Pyx Sutherland is well known for her long-running series of crusty abstractions. Her Earth Birthing exhibition at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria in 1987 was all about her cosmic view. For a long time she has followed the idea that the macrocosm — the satellite view of the Earth, for instance — is identical to the microcosm — the lichens that grow on ancient rocks. She expresses this idea in many media, in projects from tiny to rather large. That's about all I knew of her, until my recent visit to her James Bay studio. I had a lot to learn. Sutherland was born and raised in Vancouver, a student of the Vancouver School of Art in the early 1960s. Her earliest landscape abstractions owed something to Gordon Smith and she spoke fondly of the inspiration of Jack Shadbolt. She mentioned that she watched Toni Onley creating his huge abstract mural for the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, and I began to understand the origin of her passion for tearing and folding and collaging her paintings.

The young artist went off to Africa on a CUSO project with the intention to save the world, but in three years there she found her big dreams were puny compared to the challenges of that world. In the face of famine, practice with her paintbrush every morning kept her sane. On another chapter of her travels, she had a revelation. While riding on a train in India, she noticed the heavily veined hand of a fellow traveller, and then looked out the window at the Ganges River. It suddenly became clear — these were the same patterns.

Returning to Canada, she enrolled in the art program at the University of Victoria, commuting from Pender Island. As a mature student among a flock of young men, she found herself adrift, but the presence of Jack Wise as a visiting artist set her firmly on her path. Wise had spent time with the Tibetans and brought back the calligraphic impulse by which the energies of the cosmos and the human soul meet at the tip of the brush. He also understood that the ancient religious texts and modern science agree on the composition of the universe — we are atoms in vibration.

Sutherland practiced Zen meditation and painting in Hawaii, California and Japan, and trained as a print maker in England. There she horrified her fellow students and teachers by running all manner of things through the press, such as grape stalks and folded paper. This technique, called collograph, results in single unique prints. A residency at the Banff School of the Arts, while Tak Tanabe was head of the program, led her further into the exploration of brush and ink.

So she painted on paper, folded it, pasted it, printed it and basted it with ink and colour and metallic powders. She tore up the results, and recombined them, laid them on canvas and wrapped them around the edges. All the while she viewed the world from high above — sometimes with a hint of a curved horizon to anchor us to the Earth — and also the microscopic sense of the grit beneath her fingernails. This has resulted in a host of varied paintings all of which sing the same song.

And now … the dots. In a magic moment, her brush hesitated and a dot of ink seeped into the absorbent paper in a perfect haloed point of punctuation. And she did it again. And again. Each unique dot holds the trace of breath and muscle and will and chance. The dots form patterns in which the larger forces of the universe are manifest. The ink-play reveals a pervasive understanding of philosophy and physics.

After all, our world is made up of atoms, infinite in number and constantly recombining. The forces that bring them together and pull them apart result in the illusionary tapestry of existence which we call reality. Some of Sutherland's dots ring with a crystalline clarity; others seem to map the world in perspective systems; inevitably some (which she calls Game Plans) represent the strategies we concoct to get us through the day. Each dot is freely brushed, positioned with love and radiates with a stellar intensity. Makes one wonder …

Game Plans: Paintings by Roberta Pyx Sutherland, at Martin Batchelor Gallery, 712 Cormorant St., 250-385-7919.

Review by Robert Amos
Times Colonist newspaper
November 1, 2013