Elisabeth Sommerville

DEC 07 - JAN 17

Opening Reception: 6:00pm - 9:00pm, DEC 07, 2017

Birds drawn with meticulous detail have been Elisabeth Sommerville’s focus in her printmaking. She chooses her subject matter from various sources and combines those elements to attain the desired composition and effect. The lengthy process of the traditional method of stone lithography is essential to the artist’s vision of birds, one of admiration, wonder, and respect.

Wilderness is part of Vancouver’s urban environment, and many birds not usually seen in cities have adapted and thrive in our midst. Cormorants and ravens perch on the bridge over Granville Island, owls camouflage themselves in our green spaces, shorebirds dodge waves on our beaches, eagles soar overhead and nest in our parks, songbirds flock to our feeders.

Sommerville romanticizes the bird’s world. In Canada’s West Coast, birds are looked upon with admiration and affection and in some cases, apprehension, particularly corvids like crows and ravens. Every evening, crows can be seen flying by the thousands to their communal roosts in Vancouver's suburbs, and the artist has been particularly influenced by these clever birds and their complex relationships to one another.

The body of work in this exhibition is a selection of art completed over a period of ten years in which Sommerville has been concentrating on the subject of birds. She is very keen on the individual habits and interaction of different birds as parents, as family groups, and when in flight, observing that their behaviour can often echo our own human relationships.

The artist attempts to capture the personality of the individual bird, to portray the mischief in a crow's face, the dignity of a swan’s demeanour, the endearing expression of an owl, the dexterity of avian flight patterns, the remarkable structure of a bird’s feather or its nest.

The contemplation of birds leads the artist to perceive how the various species of birds living in and around the city influence her positive outlook on life. In her own words, through this exhibition, she would like us to “share this perception when we feel joy from a bird’s song, amusement at their bickering, admiration of their patience as parents, respect for their loyalty to family.”

Sommerville currently lives and works in Vancouver. She is a member of the Federation of Canadian Artists, where she earned SFCA Signature Status in 2015. Her work is in collections in Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and the United States.

Viridian Gallery is located by the sea in Coal Harbour Quay in the heart of Vancouver. The gallery was established in late 2014, and has drawn considerable attention since opening. The gallery has a goal of promoting contemporary artists, and offers a space for social interaction, exchange of ideas, and a space of imagination. Viridian Gallery works with local artists, and approaches each artistic work with earnestness, with the goal of supporting and recognizing the labour of artists. At the forefront of the boundaries of East-West cultural exchange in Vancouver, the gallery closely follows the development of contemporary art. Through these exhibitions and artistic exchange opportunities, the gallery provides support for local artists through research, exhibition, promotion, collection, and other such activities. For further information regarding the exhibition, please visit the website:, or phone 604-568-3377, or e-mail

Promoting contemporary artwork in the exclusive neighbourhood of Coal Harbour, developing markets of local emerging and established artists and bringing attention to established art world figures internationally.

2015 Viridian Gallery Design
1570 Coal Harbour Quay Vancouver, B.C. V6G 3G1 Canada (604) 568-3377