Living in many places has influenced Michelle Basic Hendry, SCA and her diverse representational subject matter ranging from landscapes, portraits and the series of paintings of old abandoned buildings, ruins and their histories that make up her book “Once Imagined”.
Affected by the beauty of ruin, some of Michelle’s new work is taking the themes of these old empty places and putting them into a new framework. It is less about the history and more about the broader meaning these places have or inspire in us and how seeing things for what they are can bring change within us.
Michelle has won a number of awards for her work and been featured in several publications. She has work in private collections in Canada, the U.S. and the UK.
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I have been a long-time fan and over the past years have collected a number of Michelle’s works.There is an understanding in Michelle’s work that goes beyond the surface beauty of her subjects. Her landscapes reflect and pull you into the power of the land, water and sky. They could be anywhere and yet somehow they are profoundly Canadian landscapes – stark beauty from a harsh environment; life in spite of the elements. Her rural scenes are all this with the human element intertwined. Michelle’s background ensures historical accuracy down to the subtle details yet captures the emotions of the setting. The feeling of abandonment is tempered by the experiences of the structures; you can almost feel the families whose lives passed through the walls. It makes the paintings that much more poignant knowing that so many will not remain for much longer. Yet for all their neglect, Michelle has shown the beauty of these buildings – the human elements of structure and detail, but also nature’s beauty creeping along the old bones. There is no hopelessness in Michelle’s rural scenes, rather they are a picture of strength fading gracefully into nature’s arms.
Inside each one of us is an artist. . . . And that’s what an artist is, a child who has never lost the gift of looking at life with curiosity and wonder. Art is not the exclusive possession of those who can draw, write poems, make music, or design buildings. It belongs to all those who can see their way through all things with imagination.
~ Arthur Lismer
Personally I am fond of the old; of old houses, of old furniture, of that quite special mood that these things possess.
~ Vilhelm Hammershøi