About the Artist
Camille Myles is a French-Canadian multi-disciplinary contemporary artist and conservation activist exploring imagery rooted in gender roles, identity, motherhood and the environment. Working in media including collage, encaustic, painting, sculpture, printmaking and installation, she creates art that tells a story linked to childhood, self-reflection and our impact on this world. She received her BFA in Sculpture & Installation at Ottawa University and her MA in Heritage Conservation at Carleton University. Myles has exhibited extensively including Quest Art Gallery, Ottawa Art Gallery, BHA Gallery, Arts Mums United, Gallery 115, among others. She has been awarded an art residency in June 2022 at Studio H Canada in Victoria BC. Being drawn to the power of public art as a social community conversation, the artist has been creating murals and large-scale public art sculptures in Midland and in Penetanguishene. Her work has been featured by the Jealous Curator and podcasts including Arts Mums United, Hot Mess to Awesomeness & CFRH. She’s won the Diamond Jubilee Medal and finalist of the Canadian New Painting Competition. She’s a founding artist member of the Art Queens and The Works by Erika B Hess from I like your Work. Originally from Gatineau, Quebec, she now lives along the shores of Georgian Bay, in Tiny Ontario with her husband and three young children.
Exploring public art, encaustic, painting, collage and sculpture, I have found my artistic voice through a deep connection to nature, self-reflection and conversations about the human experience. I’m inspired by the natural world around me and its precarity – constant change and threats to our environment shape how I see the world. I’m interested in imagery and landscapes that remind us that our time on this Earth is finite, that everything comes back to a natural state of being. From decay and change we find new growth and hope. I also identify with the hidden struggles of contemporary motherhood and have been focused on visually connecting to simple everyday nostalgic and playful moments.
Whether working with reflective materials in large-scale public art projects, found readymades in sculptural installations or capturing the essence and complexities of motherhood in portraiture, my work is layered with meaning, history and textures. In my art, I enjoy challenging the viewer’s perspective, to bring in refraction, reflections and shadows that are mere distortions of reality.
Chance, intuition and instinct are part of my playful process which alludes to childhood moments of freedom and creativity. In many ways, I explore themes through representational imagery of motherhood, of my children or myself to help me reimagine my own childhood and thus my future. Through my art practice, I see hope in a time when doubt easily creeps in.
Recently, I’ve been interested in sculpture with found objects that link to my history, combining them to create new archetypes and encouraging self-reflection with reflective materials. I rummage through garbage, look for discarded objects at antique stores or find objects on a hike that I feel connected to and help tell my story visually. I like to feel uncomfortable in front of an object, not knowing where it will lead me, then I journal about it, find links and then trust that an idea will come. When it does, I construct, assemble and cover some parts of the new sculpture with reflective paint, to bring cohesion and a sense of reflection.
Being also interested in public art as a social conversation about place and people, I’ve initiated the “Just a Moment” project which celebrates the different faces of motherhood to raise awareness about women’s mental health.
I’m influenced by other female installation and public art artists such as Geneviève Cadieux, Janet Cardiff, Kiki Smith, Louise Bourgeois, Stephanie Kilgast, Hugh Hayden and Mandy Cano Villalobos for their tenacity, strength in messaging and bravery.
How do you interpret ‘Ready to wear’ in your work?
“Suck it up Buttercup” is a feminist collage series that speaks to the power of women’s clothes as an expression of privilege, freedom and self-reflection. Starting from images collected from a “Style Weekly” Magazine published in Toronto Canada in 1939, I cut and pasted together these simple analogue collages on a stark white background, then added dried buttercup flowers arranged around the figures. In this magazine, “western” women are presented as objectified beauties with perfectly curated outfits while other are shown hidden behind their clothes or void of idealized beauty standards of the time. These collages become a conversation about how we view style as a portrait of our nationalism as well as linked to our identity. Through what they wear, the figures tell very different stories, strengthening stereotypes and offer a glimpse into a particular time and place. Interestingly enough, that same year the magazine was published, a universal war was declared.
In my work, I often start with found objects and vintage artefacts, then transforming them into create a contemporary conversation about feminine discourse. Whether working with reflective materials in large-scale public art projects, found readymades in sculptural installations or capturing the essence and complexities of womanhood in portraiture and collage, my work is layered with meaning, history and textures. In my art, I enjoy storytelling about place, memory and linking that to my own personal journey.
For more about this series: https://www.camillemylesart.com/collage