Artist Statement

As a collagist, I see art as a vehicle for social criticism and focusing on issues of our time. How do we talk about the history that divides and binds us together? I am a white woman and a descendant of settlers and my history of privilege is consciously and subconsciously woven into how I exist in the world and as an artist. My ancestors were touched by war, and the ensuing grief had a tremendous impact on my family. As a new mother, I am consumed with what it means to love and protect children, both within the confines of home and on a national and global scale.

As a dual citizen of the United States and Canada, I often work within the nouveau Western genre to attempt to reflect on what is happening here on Turtle Island. It feels like the same story over and over—one that perpetuates the ideas of regeneration through violence and masculinity reinforced by violence. Heavy-handed notions of freedom, unfreedom, and liberal individualism assume that the Western frontier makes everyone equal. While I have been seduced by these narratives, my work is an attempt to radically counter them.

– Vanessa Compton