The Vernon Public Art Gallery has recently acquired a major piece of artwork to its permanent collection, with the donation of a painting by former North Okanagan-based artist Joyce Devlin.
The Ottawa Valley resident, who grew up in Lavington, has donated the six-by-36-foot acrylic painting painted in six panels, entitled Inside The Garden, which she completed in 2011.
“We are very excited to add this significant piece of art to the gallery’s permanent collection, specifically because of Devlin’s long-term engagement with our community and the Vernon Public Art Gallery,” said VPAG curator Lubos Culen. “It is a summary of her life-long studio practice and pursuit of being a full-time professional artist.”
Devlin, née Noble, was born in 1932 in Fort Fraser, B.C. After moving to Lavington at the age of nine, she started art lessons with VPAG founder Jessie Topham Brown until she was 17, when she left for Vancouver to study at the Vancouver School of Art (currently Emily Carr University of Art and Design) from 1950 until 1953 under legendary artist Jack Shadbolt.
Later relocating to Ottawa in 1965, Devlin exhibited her work in the U.S. and across Canada. Throughout her artistic career she produced numerous commissions, which included portraits of influential Canadians such as Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson, Sen. Jean-Paul Deschateletes, and Gov.-Gen. Edward Schreyer, among others.
In 2012, Devlin spent time in Coldstream during her participation in the artist-in residence program at the Mackie Lake House.
During her stay in the area, the VPAG hosted an exhibition of Devlin’s works from the gallery’s permanent collection and organized an artist talk in which Devlin talked about her life-long studio practice and life as a full-time artist.
The continuing dialogue between the VPAG and the artist identified a possibility of acquiring additional pieces of Devlin’s work into the gallery’s permanent collection. Two years after the initial idea of acquiring artwork, Devlin donated a major piece to the collection.
The piece was produced when Devlin was 79, and embodies her spiritual relationship with nature and specifically the ongoing creation and re-creation of her garden at her home in Burritts Rapids near Ottawa.
“We are so pleased to be the recipient of this generous donation from Joyce Devlin,” said VPAG executive director Dauna Kennedy Grant. “With earlier works by Devlin already in our collection, Inside the Garden will be a valued addition to the VPAG permanent collection.”