Arleigh Wood studied at Concordia University in Montreal and the University of Hertfordshire in St Albans UK, where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honours. Wood has participated extensively in national and international exhibitions. Her work is in private and corporate collection and has been featured hotels and in various interior design magazines including Canadian House and Home. Wood’s paintings have also been used in films and television shows like the “Designer Guys”. When she is not working in her Vancouver studio, Wood enjoys fast-paced urban explorations and peaceful natural escapes.
A short video: Arleigh discusses her inspirations and process.
My work is conceived from the notion of glimpsing into an illusory world that exists below the surface of our known physical and tangible lives. Drawing parallels between what we are experiencing and what we are seeking, my imagery is largely symbolic, fusing together fantasy and reality. Often my subjects are close in highlights of tree branches and crows which become parabolic for the perseverance of the human soul in an often difficult man-made environment. While other motifs like bamboo forests, lily pads and lotus flowers reflect the physical and spiritual strength that exists in the natural world.
Comprised from a series of specific images that are characteristic of my initial vision, I utilize photography to capture visible impressions during my travels and in my daily encounters. My mixed media process distills the initial photographic image into a multilayered composition that includes various painting, collage, and printing techniques. Oils, acrylic, and especially the application of encaustic (wax media) alter appearance of the original photograph. Details are highlighted by scratching back into the surfaces, while silkscreen, etching, and woodcuts are used to create emblematic patterns and repetitive imagery.
These ethereal and romantic images are not depictions of the past or the future but exist somewhere in between, floating in memory and dreams. My perspective often becomes more like peeking into an imaginary realm. For me this is a metaphor for the lyricism of our changing world and the constancy of humanity’s need for space. Residential development, shrinking farmlands, gentrification of neighbourhoods, and the loss of history are all concerns that I summarize through symbols of cyclic change. My imagery is simplified into a quiet poetic understanding of encroachment and the displacement of species, including humans.
My Japanese heritage and Western upbringing serve as another analogy for my outlook which seeks to balance the Zen like qualities of simplicity and tranquility with the everyday aspect of living in an urban core. Delicate lines with bold shapes, roughly treated textured surfaces that juxtapose slick and shiny painted grounds become a literal extension of my day-to-day experiences.