Vanessa McKernan

Waiting for Fire, oil on panel, 48" x 36"

Waiting for Fire, oil on panel, 48" x 36"

Vanessa McKernan received her Bachelor of Fine Arts majoring in Studio Art from Concordia University in 2006. In the year of her graduation she was also awarded the Cecil Buller - John J.A. Murphy Scholarship for Drawing. McKernan has exhibited within Canada, the United States and Central America. She lives in Toronto and works out of a studio located in the city’s Historic Distillery District.


When I watch people in the world I wonder about how they got to be who they are. I wonder about their stories. I think about the pieces that make up the masks they put on and which of these masks they wear as they gather together, or sit alone. I wonder about my own masks too.

My paintings are narratives sewn together from pieces of stories; some personal, some universal, some completely fictional.  I like to play with colour, decorative pattern and mark-making. I try to let myself give in to silly pleasures like (lately) the urge to draw flowers and make stencils.  Somewhere between trying to tell a story and being playful the painting begins to take on a narrative all its own.  This for me is the height of creative expression. When a piece is no longer confined to your intentions for it. When the work and the story truly become bigger than you.

Visit Vanessa McKernan's website here.