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On Now at Artful!

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Artful The Gallery Challenging Mortality Ed Varney Bill Friesen Marci Katz Jeff Hartbower

The Artists:

Artful The Gallery Challenging Mortality Ed Varney.jpg

Ed Varney

Ed Varney is a visual artist, curator, poet, editor and publisher. He has exhibited his work in over 300 exhibitions in North and South America, Europe, Japan and Australia.

Varney was a member of Intermedia, co-founder of Intermedia Press, Artropolis, The Poem Factory, and the Cascadia Poetics Lab. He is also a master printer. Varney has published 19 books and chapbooks of poetry, 9 artist books, and edited several anthologies and literary magazines.

Varney is currently a curator at The Museo Internacionale de Neu Art, a Research Fellow at the Specific Research Institute, and editor of Dada Zine. He lives and works in the rainforest on the East Coast of Vancouver Island. 

Marci Katz

Artful The Gallery Challenging Mortality Marci Katz.jpeg

Marci Katz's favourite medium over the years has been charcoal, and her major preoccupation has been portraiture. Katz integrates personal information and text into her portraits, often adding layers in ink and pastel. She is also a graphic designer, and likes to combine traditional and digital techniques to create mixed media pieces. Katz enjoys working in three dimensions with found objects and textiles.

The search for meaning and clarity have always provided focus for her visual art, influenced in part by her academic background (UBC) in Philosophy. More recently Katz has consciously focused on her own life as subject material. This happened serendipitously, after she made a linocut figure that she became very attached to, and later adapted to use as a personal character. This approach has allowed her to consider and share her thoughts on the complexity and meaning of life with others.


Katz was born in Victoria, has lived in Vancouver and Ontario, and returned to Vancouver Island in 1991

and now lives in a forested area of Deep Bay. 

Katz has two grown children, a son in Grimsby, Ontario and a daughter in Victoria, BC. 

Artful The Gallery Challenging Mortality Bill Friesen.jpg

Friesen especially appreciates the opportunity to participate in a gallery exhibition after these trying times of the pandemic.

He has surrounded himself with those he loves and cares for, which gives him comfort in this final stretch, and he hopes it is a long one.

Bill Friesen

Bill Friesen has a long career as an artist, curator, juror, educator and co-ordinator of group and public sculpture projects. Co-founder of the People’s Gallery (now the Oceanside Gallery) in Parksville, BC, he has shown extensively, locally and internationally, since his graduation from the Manitoba School of Fine Arts in Winnipeg.

Pondering the meaning and purpose of his life on this planet, Friesen has found that it is through the making of art that he finds understanding to these questions. Aside from making art, he supports social issues that he finds meaningful in order to make a difference; each day bringing a new experience.

The passing days mean fewer tomorrows. For Friesen, the pandemic has raised new questions, bringing home our vulnerability as humans and as individuals. As an elder, longevity is a concern for Friesen, and he wonders how much longer he will be able to make art. Much of his current work relates to understanding the journey of life which we are all on, when one can no longer see what lies ahead.


Artful The Gallery Challenging Mortality Jeff Hartbower.jpg

Jeff Hartbower

After graduating with a B.A. from San Francisco State University Jeff Hartbower moved north to the coast of BC where he logged, fished, built furniture, and worked in boat yards for the greater part of the next 30 years. He and his wife, weaver Jo Swallow finally settled in Courtenay after stints in Sointula and Cumberland. His life of boatyard work, furniture building, renovations and other jobs turned into sculpture when he retired.

Primarily a wood carver who works in a folk art tradition, Hartbower incorporates any materials that come to hand, creating humorous, satirical and occasionally disturbing assemblages on a variety of themes including politics, gender-violence and government bureaucratic bullshit. Outspoken, Hartbower has enough skills, imagination, and outrage to challenge the things which disturb him. 


He believes the end times for western civilization have apparently arrived, and he finds it odd to be here in his own ‘last adventure’ while the whole works is disintegrating and coming tumbling down. 

Hartbower is content to work away, producing new work, facing his death, hoping that like his many beloved pets, he may go gently into the good night.  

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