Mixed media by Asta Kovanen and Marlene Lowden

Opening Reception: Thursday, June 6, 6–8 p.m.
Meet the Artists: Sunday, June 9, 2–3 p.m. 
Farsi Tours: Sunday, June 16, 3–4 p.m.

Is this too frivolous? is a thought provoking exhibition featuring the works of two distinct artists, Asta Kovanen and Marlene Lowden, each offering their unique perspective on the intersections between beauty, urgency, and surrealism in the face of climate change.

Throughout history artists have worked with themes infused with beauty and inspired by nature. Asta Kovanen and Marlene Lowden continue this tradition with a shared appreciation for the natural world, inserting their unique takes on these perennial subjects into the current conversation. 

Marlene Lowden’s dense, off-kilter paintings are inspired by the forest and the ocean. She confronts the pressing question: In a world threatened by climate change, is there still space to embrace beauty? With a firm belief in the power of art to inspire hope and calm, Lowden explores the dichotomy of creating art for aesthetic enjoyment versus conveying urgent messages, ultimately advocating for the importance of making time for beauty even in turbulent times. 

In contrast, Asta Kovanen takes viewers on a surreal journey through the world of invasive plant species. Each of Kovanen’s photographic collages captures the absurdity and adaptability of plant communities in the face of climate change, with an emphasis on delight instead of despair. She aims to spark conversations about environmental stewardship without adding to the viewer’s anxiety about the current conditions. 

About the artists: 

Asta Kovanen views the natural world as her main inspiration and collaborator. Graduating from Capilano University's Textile Arts Diploma program in 2013, Asta was awarded the Circle Craft Student Scholarship and the Weavers & Spinners Guild Scholarship. Following graduation, she participated in multiple group shows and embarked on artist residencies, including a month-long visit to the Arteles Creative Centre in Finland in 2017 as part of Finland's official arts programming celebrating 100 years of independence.

Marlene Lowden, a Gibsons-based oil painter, draws from her TV background to craft expressive canvases. She's a Thrive Art Studios alum, known for her "Blind Contour Homage" series exhibited across BC. Recognized by Create! Magazine and Saatchi Art, she's featured in All She Makes and Art Seen Magazine. Marlene facilitates art workshops, co-hosts art-yoga retreats, and authored the colouring book "Outside Your Lines." Lowden champions community art initiatives, including pandemic-inspired videos. Currently teaching and hosting retreats, she's a versatile artist bridging local and international scenes. 

Thank you to the West Vancouver Foundation Community Grant for supporting this exhibition.