Pearl Van Geest

Colour and expressive line feature in my work. I generally work in series, developing a concept visually until the idea no longer compels me. In the making, I like to create a tension between open experimental mark-making and a refined deliberate responses to what was laid down, gradually becoming more responsive to the canvas. Much of my work is in one way or another inspired by prolonged observation of the natural world –colours and colour relationships, patterns and compositional structure, as well as textures and forms.

I have been in my studio in the Trafalgar Building in downtown Guelph since 1997. During that time I have exhibited my work in solo and group shows across Canada. I have also developed interactive exhibitions where people can become involved in the creation of artworks, including Kiss Paintings whereby kiss marks are imprinted onto a canvas or topographical map before I return to my studio to paint in response to the pattern and design made by these marks.

My work is part of the Canada Art Council’s Art Bank collection, and is in other private and corporate collections. I was the City of Guelph’s inaugural Artist in Residence, and together with participants, created an artwork that is on permanent display in the City of Guelph.

Artist Stament

Education and Awards


  • Sept. 2012 - June 2014: MFA  University of Windsor, ON.
  • 1992- 1996 Ontario College of Art - OCA Diploma graduated with honours,
    Drawing and Painting 
  • Sept. 1985- April 1986 University of Toronto, Faculty of Education - Bachelor of Education, graduated with honours
  • Sept. 1976- April 1980 University of Guelph - Bachelor of Science, Biology


  • Canadian Art Foundation Art Writing Prize. 2015.
  • City of Guelph Artist in the Community 2014. 
  • SSRCH Joseph Bombardier Scholarship, 2013/14.
  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship, 2013. Federation of Canadian Women, Windsor Graduate Award, 2013. Entrance Scholarship, Department of Visual Arts, University of Windsor, 2012/13.
  • Ontario Arts Council, Mid-Career Visual Artist Grant, 2009.
  • Inclusion in the Magenta Foundation's  Carte Blanche 2:Painting. Released 2008.
  • Artist In Residence, Waterloo Regional Children’s Museum, 2004/2005.
  • Finalist RBC New Painting Competition, 2003.
  • OAC Grant, Artist in Education, 2003/04 and 2004/05.
  • OAC Grant, Emerging Artist, 2003.
  • Equinox Grant, (for the production of a video), 2003.
  • Canada Council for the Arts, Art Bank, 2001 and 2003.
  • Exhibition Assistance Grant, OAC 2011, 2010, 2004, 2002, 2001, 1999 and 1997.
  • Second Prize, Art-in-Guelph, "The Last Picture Show”, 1999.
  • Devona Paquette Memorial, 1996.
  • W.O. Forsyth (Woman Painter) Award, 1996.
  • Student Union Award, 1996.
  • Second Prize – Introductory Printmaking, 1994.
  • Friends of OCA Scholarship, 1993.
  • Ontario Scholar, 1976, Subject Awards in Art and Biology, 1976.

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  • The Brink, Coldstream Fine Arts, Toronto, ON. Jan 26 - March 1, 2017.
  • "Terrain of Sensation", City of Guelph Artist in Residence exhibition. West End Community Centre, Guelph, ON. Culture Days Sept. 2014 and ongoing.
  • "Slip and Tension", SB Contemporary, Windsor ON and "SoVA Gallery", University of Windsor. May 2014. (MFA Exhibition).
  • "Flux", Canadian Fine Arts, Toronto, ON Nov. 15 - 25, 2012.
  • "Snow Queen", Harbinger Gallery, Jan. 25 - Feb. 25, 2012 
  • "Into Place", Robert Langen Gallery, Wilfred Laurier University, Jan. 2 - Feb. 25, 2012.
  • "Into Place", Other Gallery, Banff Centre. March 10 -12, 2011.
  • "But this is not a place of words", XeXe Gallery, Toronto. Nov. 6 - Nov. 27, 2010.
  • "Outside of the Mouth of God", Transit Gallery, Hamilton. June 4 - June 27, 2010.
  • "Other World”, Transit Gallery, Hamilton, Ontario. June 2 – June 28, 2009.
  • "Incident Horizon”, Harbinger Gallery, Waterloo, Ontario. March 7 – March 28, 2009.
  • "Of Possession", Cambridge Galleries, Preston, ON. January 26 - March 9 2008. Curated by Ivan Jurakic.  (essay)
  • "Love on the Rocks", James Baird, Pouch Cove, Newfoundland, August 2007.
  • "Eat Me”, Katharine Mulherin Contemporary Art Projects, July 2006.
  • "Down The Garden Path”, Gallery Stratford, Ontario, April 9 – May 14, 2006.
  • "Sugar Bush”, Katharine Mulherin Contemporary Art Projects, Toronto, April 30 – May 23, 2004
  • "This Pale Mouth", solo show, Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, Guelph. Oct 17 – Dec 22,2002.
  • "Fool for Love”, solo show, BUSgallery, Toronto. Oct. 10 – Nov. 3, 2002.
  • O’Doumas Gallery, c/o Temple Studios, Guelph, On. November 1 -25, 2001
  • "Skin Deep”, Katharine Mulherin Gallery, Toronto, Feb. 2 – 25, 2001.
  • "Fallow Land”. Zero Gravity Gallery, Guelph, On, Oct. 1999.
  • Lip Print Hallway Installation, Bus Gallery, Toronto. Feb. 4 - 25, 1999.
  • Propeller Centre for the Visual Arts, Toronto. Dec. 5 – Dec. 18, 1997.
  • Propeller Centre, "The Verge”. Nov. 21 – Dec. 4, 1996


  • Queering Space, Gay and Lesbian Archives. Saturday, June 20, 2015 to Sunday, September 13, 2015.
  • Ontario in Âjagemô: Selections from the Canada Council Art Bank, National Arts Centre, Ottawa. April 30 - August 30, 2015.
  • Feminin, Canadian Fine Arts, Toronto. September 2014.
  • Kiss-Up, Nuit Rose: A Festival of Queer Art and Performance. June 21, 2014.
  • "Juried Regional Art Show", Judith and Norman Alix Art Gallery, Sarnia, ON, May 18 - Sept. 8, 2013. 
  • "In a Word", SB Contemporary Art, Windsor, ON. June 21 - July 8, 2013.
  • "The Artist Project Toronto", The Liberty Grand, Exhibition Place, March 6 - March 2009
  • "Object D'Art 2007", Lennox Contemporary, November 22 - December 9 2007
  • "Eat Me" at Hysteria Festival of Women, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. October 25 - November 3, 2007. Curated by Moynan King.
  • "Kiss Paintings: Massive Party", April 6, 2006”, Massive Party, Art Gallery Of Ontario, Toronto.
  • "The Jesus People”, collaboration with writer/performer, Rose Cullis providing video footage. Hysteria: Festival of Women, Buddies In Bad Times Theatre, Novemeber, 2005.
  • "I  AM –  Self-Portraits- A Tribute to Lynn Donoghue", James Baird Gallery, Pouch Cove, Newfoundland. Sept. – Nov. 2005.
  • "Bon Voyage: A Farewell to Broken Hearts", Mccleave Gallery Cross-Canada Tour, 2005. (see
  • "Kiss Like a Movie Star”, video screening – InsideOut Film and Video Festival, Toronto. May, 2005.
  • "Sweet Shit”, Lennox Contemporary, Toronto. Feb. 14 March 6, 2005.
  • ArtLA with Katharine Mulherin Contemporary Art Projects, Los Angeles,. Jan 27 – 30, 2005.
  • " Love”, in the Project as part of the December Love show at Lonsdale Gallery, Toronto.December 4 – 22, 2004.
  • "Hysteria: Festival of Women”. Buddies in Bad Times Theatre and Nightwood Theatre. Nov 4 –13, 2004
  • "Works On Paper”, two person show with Carolyn Riddell, Flesherton Art Gallery, Flesherton, On, May 21 – June 21, 2004.
  • "The 2003 New Canadian Painting Competition”, touring exhibition – Pavilion Gallery,Winnipeg; Museum London, London, Ont; Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax.
  • "Kiss Like A Movie Star”, video screening with the band, Calyx. Buddies In Bad Times,Toronto, April 16, 2004.
  • "Motherlode”, Group show curated by Gretchen Sankey and Virginia M. Eichhorn, Women’s Art Resource Centre, Toronto. Sept. 6 – Oct. 4, 2003.
  • Video Screening for Equinox Grant Recipients, EdVideo, Guelph, July 19,2003.
  • Kitchener-Waterloo Biennial Exhibition, Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, Summer, 2003.
  • "Conductive Currents”, Exhibition of collaborative paintings done with Carolyn Riddell.Wellington County Art Museum, Fergus, On. Sept. 7 – Nov. 3, 2002
  • Flesherton Art Gallery, Flesherton, On. May 12 – June 12, 2002. Two-person show with Rae Johnson.
  • "Blue”, V. MacDonnell Gallery, Toronto. October 2000.
  • "Longing For Paradise”. Bus Gallery, Toronto. Feb. 3 – 27, 2000. Two-person show with Rebecca Anweiler.
  • "Ah, Um, Oh...” , Women’s Art Resource Centre, Toronto. Sept. 1999. Two-person show with Michelle Johnson.
  • "Myth City Saga”. Art Gallery of Mississauga, Mississauga, July 29, 1999. Group show of urban landscapes.
  • "Tall Orders: On the Spiritual in Art”. Propeller Centre, Toronto. Dec. 5, 1998 – Jan. 9, 1999. Curated by Gary Michael Dault.
  • Deleon White Gallery, Toronto. March 14 – April 25, 1998. With Stephen Scott Patterson and Arnold Shives.
  • "#”, Tableau Vivant Gallery, Toronto. Dec. 6 – 21, 1997.
  • "Divine”. Propeller Centre, Toronto. Aug. 1997. Curated by Rae Johnson.
  • "Screen II”, Propeller Centre, Toronto. Curated by Stuart Reid.
  • Nora Vaughn Gallery, Toronto. March 1997 and March 1996. Three-person show.
  • "Reinterpreting the Environment”. Scarborough Arts’ Council Consilium Show. 1996.

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Media / Publications


(some reviews may be downloaded as .pdf)

  • Guelph Mercury, "Pearl Van Geest is the City of Guelph's First Artist in the Community", Vik Kirsch. June 30, 2014.
  • Torontoist, "Hands-on Artwork on Olympic Island Was No Mere Figment", Steve Kupferman with photos by Corbin Smith. August 19, 2013.
  • University of Windsor Daily News, "Art Student Pursues True Passion in Windsor", Stephen Fields, July 9, 2013.
  • Hamilton Spectator, "Kiss and Tell", Regina Haggo. April 19, 2012.
  • Globe and Mail, "At Other Venues... Pearl Van Geest and Tina Newlove" from "The Exhibitionist" by R.M. Vaughn. Nov. 6, 2010.
  • Neurartic: Art, design and culture, with a dash of neuroscience, Pearl Van Geest, A Love Affair with Paint. February 15, 2010.
  • Globe and Mail, "This arts so bright, you gotta wear shades", Gallery Going, Gary Michael Dault. Saturday, Nov. 1, 2008.
  • Inclusion in "Carte Blanche v.2 Painting" by the Magenta Foundation
  • Echo Weekly, "The Ecstasy Of Possession," Nicholas Walsh, January 24-30 2008.
  • Globe And Mail, "Cross-Pollination: Pearl Van Geest’s Eat Me”, Gary Michael Dault in "Exhibit A”, July 21, 2006.
  • "Down The Garden Path", Gallery Stratford. Exhibition Brochure. Essay by Virginia M. Eichhorn. 2006.
  • National Post, "Hysteria on display bigger than ever”, RM Vaughn, November 6, 2004.
  • Guelph Mercury, ”Local artist wins national acclaim”, Eric Volmers, Aug 11, 2003.
  • Toronto Star, "Artists in the Square – Four portraits in creativity”, Jessica Leeder and TobinGrimshaw, July 13, 2003.
  • Globe and Mail, "Pearl Van Geest At BUSgallery”, Gallery Going. . Gary Michael Dault,Saturday November 2, 2002. 
  • "This Pale Mouth",  Brochure for solo exhibition: Essay written by Dawn Owen, Design by Kathe Gray/electric pear. Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, 2002.  Pages 1 - 3, pages 4 and 5 
  •  Guelph Artists 2002, Judith Nasby, Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, 2002.
  • The Guelph Mercury, "Creativity gets a boost in local studio”, Studio Space. Deborah Davis, Aug. 22 2002.
  • Globe and Mail, "Pearl Van Geest At Katharine Mulherin”, Gallery Going. . Gary Michael Dault,Saturday, Feb. 17, 2001. 
  • Fuse Magazine, "Where There Is No Limit To Spirit, Tall Orders: On the Spiritual in Art”,Review by Rozema Maart, Volume 22, Number 4.
  • Globe and Mail, "Pearl Van Geest and Rebecca Anweller at BUSgalllery”, Gallery Going. Gary Michael Dault, Saturday, Feb. 12, 2000.
  • Lola, "Pearl Van Geest, Lip Prints at BUS Gallery. February 4 to 27, 1999.” Michelle Johnson.Number 4 summers 1999.
  • Globe and Mail, "Red enigmas, red lips and remembering.” Gallery Going. Gary Michael Dault.Saturday Feb. 20, 1999.
  • Globe and Mail, Visual Arts Section, "Making a list of Nifty Gifties”, Gillian Mackay and Gary Michael Dault, Dec. 5, 1998.
  • Globe and Mail, "Gallery Going – Screen 2 at the Propeller Centre for the Visual Arts”, GaryMichael Dault, Aug. 8, 1998.
  • Matriart, "Searching for Sesame Street”, Virginia MacDonnell, Special Issue – CreatingCommunity, Fall, 1997.


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Curation / Memberships

CURATION (With Children and Teens)

  • "Green Sweepers Wall of Eco-Art", as No. 9's Education Program Manager and in collaboration with IAIN BAXTER&, Elizabeth Davies for No. 9 Contemporary Art and the Environment. AGO, June 9, 2010
  • "Follow Your Art”, a collaborative exhibition between SAGE school and the Art Gallery of Hamilton, 2006-2008 and 2011.  Art Gallery of Hamilton.
  • "The Machine”, a collaborative sculpture created cumulatively over eight months and displayed from September 22 to October 6, 2005. Waterloo Regional Children’s Museum.
  • "Technically Speaking”, an exhibition of work by the senior classes of Eastwood Collegiate Institute, Waterloo Regional Children’s Museum, Kitchener, On. December 2 – February 6, 2005.
  • "Lesser-Known Superheroes of Our Century”, an exhibition of photographs of the Waverley Public School’s Grade 4/5 Gifted Class students as their self-created Superhero personas. Guelph Public Library, October 1 – 31, 2004.
  • "Osmosis: the passage”, Guest Artist for the Young Curators program, Kitcherner Waterloo Art Gallery, 2001.


  • Trafalger Building Studios, Guelph, Ontario. 1998-present.
  • 1996- 1998: Propeller Centre for the Visual Arts (1996-1997 -Chair of the Selection Committee and Executive member).
  • 1995 – present: Woman’s Art Resource Centre, Toronto, ON.
  • 2002- 2004: Ed Video Media Arts Centre, Guelph, ON (2003 -Programming Committee member and Web Curation Committee member).
  • June 2004 – 2005: Contemporary Art Forum/ Kitchener and Area – Organizing and Programming Committees.

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Archive StudioArchive Project: Studio View

MFA: Ideas and Questions

I spent my first year of a Master of Fine Arts program at the University of Windsor exploring ideas related to the translation of literary texts into the visual. I aim to transform the "plaisir" and "jouissance" of the text as described by Roland Barthes into an installation incorporating painting, sculpture, printmaking and handmade books. It may be entirely particular to my perceptions and fail in any attempt to be comprehensible or I may be able to link the body to language and subjectivity through the reading of literature and the visual in an understandable way.

This work relates to my earlier preoccupation with ideas of how we see ourselves as connected (or not) to the natural world through a concern with the construction of a sense of self - both through the body and through concepts and language. These questions and ideas are present in the writing of  Julia Kristeva who eloquently links the body to language and subjectivity. I find resonance in her question, "Is sensation a form of language?" 

I have begun this exploration with The Waves by Virginia Woolf, through the layered and overlapping interior dialogue of her six primary characters. The body is seen as an unstable entity and the self is constructed or fragmented in relation to the body and also by and through language. My initial reading of The Waves provoked me to begin researching these questions of subjectivity and the relationship between language and the visual art.  The entanglement of self, language, the body, the creation of story and the "plaisir” and "jouissance” of reading are points from which my thesis research will proceed.

Selected images from thesis development and visual research year one.

The Archive Project Assignment:

Archive Wall Pictures

A view of one wall of my archive research project, Force Fields and Entanglements, which involved first collecting material (photographs, readings, films, novels, articles, podcast, artists, etc) without preconceptions of outcome and then organizing this collection into interrelated categories that were personally relevant. In my case: The World of Pulses, Chronoschisms, Painting Beside Itself, An Amorous Light, Where bodies are their own signs, I OBJECT, Edge/Centre, For or at the Instant and Spectacle. I borrowed the section titles mostly from authors and philosophers -  from Virginia Wolfe ("An Amorous Light") to J.M. Coetzee ("Where bodies are their own signs") to Helen Cixous ("world of pulses").

End of Semester One: Some Little Language


Studio Installation View One: Paintings from a process-based interpretation of Virginia Wolfe's The Waves, in which I first drew "at the instant" charcoal drawings of passages from the book on mylar pages which I layered on a light table to create compositions of black and white. I used  photographs of these as the basis for the series of paintings shown, each associated with a particular passage from the book.

The Waves

Studio Installation View Two: Explorations using vacuum-formed books, mixed media pieces using polyester litho prints on gampe and the installation of a washstand that I developed further during the second semester.

The Waves 2

Studio View Three: Detail. What She Remembered and What She Left" (2012. Polyester litho on gampe and acrylic paint on board. 24" x 24" each)

End of Year One: Instrumentation


Installation View in SoVA Gallery, University of Windsor: Skin, Washstand and I Was There.

Skin Installation View

Skin (2013. Oil paint, canvas, stretcher frame, vinyl tubing, plastic water bottles, thread and duct tape. 72" x 108").


Washstand (Found objects, basin, charcoal-stained towel, soap, balled handkerchiefs and cast bronze handkerchief).

Instrumentation installation view 2

Installation View Two showing the paintings Weight, Violet (since reworked extensively) and Viscous Body. 

Viscous Body

Viscous Body (2013, Oil paint, canvas, thread, National Geographic magazines, duct tape, plastic water bottles, duct tape, vinyl tubing, plastic wrap. Canvas 40" x 30".


Weight (2013, Oil paint, canvas, duct tape, stretcher frame, embroidery thread, vinyl tubing, plastic water bottle. Canvas and board size 40" x 30").


King's Blue (2013. Oil paint, embroidery thread, vinyl tubing, plastic water bottle, insulation foam, spray paint. 40" x 30").

molanari and me

Mondrian and Me (2013. Oil paint, plastic funnel, drop cloth, thread, wall hanger, vinyl tubing, stretched canvas. 70" x 30").

Molanari and me - detail

Mondrian and Me (Detail).

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Website Credits

Coming Soon.

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