In-Between at Artemis


I’m much overdue in making this official announcement that my ‘sabbatical’ from Artemis Gallery is now underway.  I’m affording myself time to pursue my own art practice, which has been an elusive objective since graduating from Emily Carr in 1987.  I like the synchronicity of 2017 being the year this circle finally comes round.

The numeral “7” is prominent here. In mythological symbolism it’s the number of stages it takes to complete a whole process: think of days in a week / notes in a scale / dwarfs in a cottage. This may be why, after seven years of creating & running the gallery, it feels appropriate to pause and be open to whatever the next incarnation of “Artemis” may be.

I have nothing but gratitude for these past seven years.  What a privilege to work with so many masterful artists in presenting their art to the community.  Welcoming that community has been a profoundly rewarding experience, and I already miss the amazing conversations that the artwork and gallery space seemed to foster.

The studio aspect of Artemis was immediately embraced by an array of amazing teachers and students. Drawing, painting, printmaking, shamanic studies, textile arts, children’s theatre, and yoga are just some of the classes that were facilitated.  The gallery has also been home to many private events: AGM’s, wedding & birthday celebrations, bridal & baby showers,  musical evenings, and more.  I’m especially honoured that Artemis has been the venue for several memorial gatherings as well.

The gallery has frequently been transformed into a “Pop-Up” shop by local business people, and one – “Paper Label” – will be staying popped-up much longer than usual.  Owners Nicole Ninow, Teresa Lake, and Heather Lutz will be utilizing Artemis as their creative hub, and presenting a series of themed “Pop-Up” shops in the coming months.  I’m so delighted their terrific design sense and casual cache will keep the space energized these next couple of years.  Do have a look:

It’s truly impossible to thank everybody who’s contributed to making Artemis a success: the artists for entrusting us with their work; everyone who attended the openings and exhibitions; all the patrons who purchased artwork; the people who signed up for classes;   groups who chose Artemis as their venue.  The list is a long one…

But I specifically need to give massive thanks to: Oliver Browne for countless hours of graphic design (and DJ-ing opening nights!); Daniella Amit & Emily Perkins for spelling me off in the past; and Tom Corbeth (another great speller-offer) for always helping the opening receptions and events go a little more smoothly.  Mr. Corbeth also spear-headed our acclaimed “Foreign Movie Nights” at Artemis, which now has a new home (like Tom!) at the Seymour Art Gallery.

Immense gratitude to Judith Fidler and Susan Robertson – for their continuous, altruistic commitment to Artemis.  Assisting with the exhibitions these past few years, their scheduled volunteerism helped to keep me sane.  I couldn’t have hand-picked two more radiant personalities to represent the gallery.

I’ve saved the biggest and final thanks for Peter Browne – my constant, unfailing support and husband of almost 40 years. Peter is my cornerstone, and Artemis could not have been either realized or sustained without him.

Like the gallery, I’m also currently some place “in-between”.  So many ideas to play with – so long since I’ve played.  No matter…a place of “not-knowingness” is still a place after all.  I’m currently busy creating a studio that can handle a real mess, and I’ll post a few pictures of works in progress once my hands get dirty.

Meanwhile, I hope the images in this post convey something of my overall direction. These five pieces comprise my “Crane Series” from a few years ago.  Made with paper, and glued under glass, sections of my own photographs are combined with found images and  bits of printmaking.  I don’t know if any of my new work will be “under glass”, but I do know my focus will continue to be on concept, process, layering & symbols.

Thanks, everyone, for your interest in Artemis!   I shall keep you posted…

Note: My not-always-daily “Everyday Offerings” can now be found on Instagram







About Artemis

Artemis of Ephesus

“What is Artemis ?” The question was asked by a lovely woman, just leaving the studio after painting class. It’s a good question, for lots of reasons, but especially because ‘Artemis’ is the name of the little art gallery/studio I established five years ago on Vancouver’s North Shore. That the question was ‘what’ and not ‘who’ made me realize I had a responsibility to do a better job of introducing ‘Artemis’ to my community. Although I knew how complicated it was going to be, I promised myself to eventually forge a comprehensive answer.

I chose the name ‘Artemis’ after several of my dreams dovetailed with my travels, and led me to realize that somehow ‘She’ was calling. I presumed that most people might know her as ‘the other Diana’ – Roman goddess of the hunt and the moon. That’s one of the initial reasons I thought this name & deity would be appropriate. Deep Cove, where I live, is situated on the most southern fiord of North America, with huge mountains that plunge down into a narrow channel of the sea. Facing east, it’s the best place to catch a spectacular moonrise. But other signs of Artemis were all around me – evidence that she (known by one name or another) has been here all along. Mythology tells us that the lush-green wooded mountains are where she wanders; little fish in the coves are guarded by her gaze; the bear and deer, always close by, are two of the animals most sacred to her.

Some people may know about the Ephesian Artemis, who was such a revelation to me when I first visited Turkey. But few will have guessed her many names or all the realms over which she is said to preside. My own epiphany came two years ago on a ‘chance’ journey to the tiny village of Patara in south-western Turkey. I found that the people there, both ancient and modern Lycians, claim the goddess Leto, and her twin-children Apollo & Artemis, as their own. I apparently had stumbled upon the birthplace of Artemis, which made me even more curious to understand the breadth and depth of this goddess and the mythos that surrounds her.

Since then, my personal definition of ‘Artemis’ has expanded almost beyond words. But, as I’m still determined to answer ‘the question’, watch for a series of concise, incremental posts on the new ‘blog’ portion of this website, where I plan to share what I’ve discovered, along with some simple visual offerings – to Her.

Shannon Browne
October 2014

Statue of Artemis (detail) taken at the Ephesus Museum, Selchuk, Turkey, 2008.
(Excavated from the ruins of the great temple of Artemis at Ephesus)

Everyday Offerings

everyday (ˈɛvrɪˌdeɪ) adj 
1. happening each day; daily   2. commonplace or ordinary

offering  (ˈɒfərɪŋ) noun
1. something offered in devotion, as to a deity   2.  given as a gift

Not always daily, or necessarily commonplace…

 more a moment of attention…….where & how one can.

One of my photographs of the roots that are presently dangling from the ceiling at Artemis; a reminder of the beauty and preponderance of unseen things.

Shannon, What Are You Doing?

photo(63)Art educator, art director and curator Shannon Browne is changing things up at Artemis Gallery this year. For the first time since graduating from the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in 1987, she’s taking a chunk of time and turning her attention to her own creative process. Her art gallery will be just as much art studio, as Shannon experiments with symbols, themes in nature and the cycle of the year. An interdisciplinary artist, she plans to use this year in the gallery as her playpen – exploring archetypes, dream images, meaning and process. I had the chance to interview Shannon and hear more about her plans.

Susan: Something different is going on at Artemis Gallery. Can you tell us what’s happening?

Shannon: When I first established Artemis it was always with the idea of it being a studio, gallery and event place. The gallery part happened almost spontaneously. It quickly became a very busy exhibiting place. We’ve been showing almost non-stop these past three years, with lots of events booked in the space as well. Other artists have been successfully utilizing the gallery as a studio for teaching classes, and I’ve helped to facilitate quite a number of workshops. The thing that has not been happening in the studio, is my own art-making. Frankly, it’s hard to recall ever having much time to make my own art. Like most people, I’ve been busy – most recently as curator, director and every other role at Artemis. It’s been great (!) but it’s time for me to set some time aside to create in the space myself. It will still be a shared space, but I’m taking an opportunity to give my own work a shot now.

Susan: Do people know you as an artist?

Shannon: It’s funny. People from different parts of your life know you as such diverse entities. I don’t think the artists who teach here or their students are aware of either my art-making or art-teaching background. People who know me socially have seen some of my art in my home, and they may be aware of things I’ve designed or created, but it’s impossible for them to know ‘what’ I was doing all the years I was teaching, which was an intensely creative time for me. The documentation of that work really shows ‘what’ I do, but very few people have ever seen that documentation. And people who know me only as director and curator at Artemis, would not expect that I’m also an artist. I’m probably seen as this middle aged lady who came out of nowhere to open a gallery. And that is also true…

Susan: Do you have a sense of the kind of media you are going to be working with?

Shannon: Well, I graduated in Interdisciplinary Studies from Emily Carr, so I’m jack of all Feathered nest detail small file (1)trades – master of none, and probably one reason why I was a such good teacher. For me, it’s always been about choosing the materials that will best convey my ideas, and the connections I’m trying to make, which carries through to what I’ll be doing this year. One of my first loves was printmaking. I prefer a process-based way of working, so there’s bound to be a printmaking element in some of the work I’ll be doing this year. Not in a formal way, but it will be there. I’ve taken thousands of photographs that show my fascination with plant-life and all things mythical/symbolic, and some of these will find their way into the work as well.  In a tongue-in-cheek way, I’ve told people I may start making art by just playing around with sticks in the studio, and ironically, I am playing around with sticks right now. I built a nest a couple weeks ago. Anyway, my plan is to loosely follow the cycle of a full year, and really pay attention to my inner & outer world. If I tether myself to that, it should lead me to play with a range of diverse materials and various aspects of nature. Right now, I’m drawn to roots and sticks, and bare trees in watery places.

Susan: You’ve talked about the cycle of the year and playing with sticks. What other kinds of themes do you think you’ll be exploring?

Shannon: Back to the conceptual thing – for as long as I can remember I’ve made connections between the things I observe and sense in my waking-world, and whatever is informing me from my dreaming-world. I’m beginning work on a project I’ve had in mind for over 20 years, but I will definitely take a detour should I get a big ‘whack’ of an image in a dream…and ‘dream’ isn’t really the best way to describe these experiences. These are more like vivid static images that take up my whole field of vision and make a huge impression on me, leaving me feeling that they need to be explored. Recently, one was an image of a nest, lined with peacock feathers, but not built by any bird. So now, I’m following my impulse to complete a physical version of that nest, which will take precedence until I can stand back and look at it. This may all sound a little “out there”, but it’s a major part of how my concepts are formed and where ultimately I’m led to find meaningful connections. And, the symbolism of this “nest” is so rich – a place of incubation & nurturing. It’s an obvious metaphor for the this time I’m setting aside and studio at Artemis, but it also has many layers of meaning for my personal life as well. I try to follow these symbols when they appear – even when they take me away from what I’d thought I’d be working on.

P1050135Susan: As we follow your progress over the course of the year, what can people expect to see at Artemis? You’ve talked about art exhibits – about events and a community place. What else can the general public expect to see from Artemis this year?

Shannon: Several wonderful artists teach classes at Artemis, and these are ongoing. That’s part of what the public will see – that there’s activity here. People will also see aspects of what I’m working on and the way I’m working on it. I tend to make test plates and collections of things that will become part of the larger ‘something’ down the road.  I don’t feel the need to have everything under wraps and sequestered. It should be fine to have it up and around as it evolves. The space will be less the formal gallery that people have come to know – it will feel more like a studio. That said, there will still be an occasional influx of work by other artists – ideally work that fits the spirit of a particular time of year, and by that I don’t mean beach scenes for summer and holly for winter. It will need to complement the ideas I’ll be working with and hopefully tie in with whatever part of the Wheel of the Year we’re on. People are probably going to scratch their heads a lot because there won’t be the usual promotion or opening nights for specific exhibitions. The experience will come from a very different place: an organic springing up, blossoming, then withering kind of thing – as work comes and goes, and things “morph” in here throughout the year.

Susan: Do you have an artist’s statement?

Shannon: No, not really. I’m not crazy about artist’s statements. To understand what I’m doing, one just needs to know that the ‘concept’ is the most important thing for me.  A dedicated painter or a sculptor, for instance, might begin a piece by considering what next to create with the materials they’ve mastered.  I, on the other hand, begin by imagining which materials & images might help visually connect ‘the dots’ of things I feel are somehow related. This esthetic also influences the way I select the work of other artists for exhibitions at Artemis – my objective being that every piece in a show contributes to an overall concept or creates a distinct environment in the gallery.

Susan: Which will continue in your own work this year?

Shannon: Very much. All of the elements I plan to work with are inter-related and extremely meaningful to me. Hopefully the work will resonate with people – not just the recognizable themes, but the “in-between stuff” as well.

Susan: Do you expect, as the progress of the year unfolds, that you will have a show of your work?

Shannon: Sure. It may not be by the end of this calendar year. In a way, ‘the show’ will be what’s up when you come into Artemis. Some objects in the studio will be what I’m actually working on, but other objects will be there as touchstones for the way I’m thinking – what I’m formulating; things that feed my soul. For instance, there’s a root mass hanging in the studio right now, which on some level relates to my work on the nest that I mentioned earlier. It’s to do with this time of year; contemplating things dormant, empty or hidden. There’s also an old fashioned light bulb involved… 

Susan: So, in conclusion, if I were to say to you, “Shannon, what are you doing?” how would you answer?

Shannon: I would say “I don’t know” and that “I’m asking the Gods for assistance”! That’s a little disingenuous… I don’t know what I’m doing in a logical, linear way.  I do know that I’m giving myself permission to respond to and remember things, in a way that I haven’t before. I’m so very grateful for the way creativity has manifested throughout my life, but until now there hasn’t been an opportunity for me to nurture these ideas purely for their own sake. That’s what this year is going to be.

Susan Robertson is a friend and blogger who will be following Shannon’s work at Artemis.