The art of Nancyanne  Cowell  




 Edging Forward


Author: Ann Dale | Artist: Nancyanne Cowell 
Curator: Jaime Clifton




"...we are between stories."  - Thomas Berry   

October 10 to November 10, 2017
Robert Bateman Centre Gallery
Edging Forward: Reconnection, Reconciliation, Regeneration, a leading-edge contemporary exhibit at the Robert Bateman Centre, is a creative collaboration between author and artist. After realizing there was something lacking in mainstream sustainability discussions, they came together to explore the missing link, the thread of love. We have enough evidence and social innovation to act now, but what is holding us back? How do we leap towards new sustainable pathways? Responding to the core themes in Ann Dale’s forthcoming book Edging Forward, artist Nancyanne Cowell explores how love and emotion is blended with science. Through luminous brushwork, her oil paintings merge the abstract with the figurative. They emphasize how our existence is inherently linked to nature and illuminate the beauty of this relationship. A compelling story has the ability to shape and influence the world around us. By blending science with art, this multi-media exhibit shares how collaboration and compassion can help us leap forward to a more sustainable world.



The Edging Forward book (Achieving Sustainable Community Development) will be made available for purchase at the Robert Bateman Centre gift shop throughout the exhibition and book launch.


The Edging Forward art collection will be available for purchase throughout the exhibition, with 25 percent of the purchase price for each painting being donated to support programming and stewardship of the natural world at the Robert Bateman Centre.  If you are interested in purchasing, please contact the artist directly: [].



Artist's thoughts... 
Reflecting on the creative inspiration, the artist is quoted: "By responding
 to the core themes within each chapter, framed in myths and fairytales; I draw on relationships and interconnections between our built environment and the natural world. Water  as a symbol of renewal, cleansing and emotional energy; flows throughout the painting series. It is the source of all life, representing both life and death existing in the same place. Making up most of the Earth and most of our bodies, water is a conduit between and amongst all species, communities and the biosphere. Painting beyond the conventional boundaries of the traditional 'landscape', my brushes found moments of emotion and wonder expressing these interconnections.  These paintings are an offering that we may find possibility - towards a fresh understanding of being. With our planet deeply seeking care, perhaps this exhibition will stir both our hearts and minds to find meaning and strengthen our connection with the world around us."


The vision behind Edging Forward project…
It is about human stories and how they shape and influence our relationships to one another, to other species and to our home, planet EarthEdging Forward, a new book by Professor Ann Dale, builds upon the success of her previous book, At the edge: sustainable development in Canada. Not exactly a sequel, it explores the imperatives of sustainability and climate change adaptation and mitigation. Building on fifteen years of her Canada Research Chair, it describes local innovations happening across the country, arguing that transformative change is needed to meet the messy, destructive problems now facing human societies everywhere. An evocative call for immediate action, it argues that it is not enough to edge forward, rather we need to leap forward onto new, sustainable pathways.  

As part of an integrated print, media and visual art project, each chapter of Edging Forward is interpreted by a series of paintings by Canadian artist Nancyanne Cowell. Art can help us make sense of our world. Responding to core concepts presented in each chapter of the manuscript, her aquatic landscapes draw on relationships and intersections between the built and natural environments. The book will be supported by a living library website that features extensive additional literature, magazine articles, links to video, film, and other media channels.

This creative collaboration between author and painter experiments with a multi-sensory synergy between literature and visual arts, mirroring the new partnerships needed in shaping new ways forward. Cowell’s art collection offers an emotional interpretation of the manuscript, one that encourages visitors to visually tap into personal experiences and emotions. Will it evoke dialogue and help visitors find personal meaning? Will they re-consider their connection to nature and their relationship to the world around them? If they do, then maybe we can move from edging to leaping forward!

(The book cover is designed by book-designer Peter Sibbald Brown.) 

National-wide e-dialogues...
Community Research Connections (CRC) is dedicated to the sustainability of Canadian communities, exploring how to reconcile ecological, social, and economic imperatives through integration of our culture and arts. Changing The Conversation is a civil, open source inter-generational space where Canadians can come together to join or start a conversation around issues that matter to them and their communities. Notably, is Ann Dale's facilitation of each topic-chapter for Edging Forward, through a dynamic year long series of virtual on-line conversations with the public, decision makers, industry, academics, students and practitioners on how to transition Canadian society to a carbon neutral economy by 2050. This series will be led and moderated by Professor Ann Dale using her established platform, Changing the Conversation  


About the author...
Ann Dale, Professor for the School of Environment & Sustainability, Royal Roads University, is Canada's pre-eminant expert in the fields of sustainable communities. She holds degrees in psychology and public administration from Carleton University and a doctorate in natural resources sciences from McGill University. A Trudeau Fellow Alumna (2004), Dale is nationally and internationally recognized for advancing sustainable communities. From 2004 to 2014, she held Canada's Research Chair in Sustainable Community Development. Notably, she is also the recipient of the prestigious Canada Council for the Arts Molson Prize, for outstanding lifetime achievements and contributions to the cultural life of Canada.  Ann Dale was the winner of the 2001 Outstanding Research Achievement, Government of Canada Policy Research Initiative for her Canadian best-selling book, 'At the Edge: sustainable development in the 21st century'.  Ann Dale is a member of the National Advisory Committee on Energy Efficiency and was the founding research associate in residence, Council of Canadian Academies, 2010-2011. She is also a board member of the World Fisheries Trust, a fellow of the World Academy of Arts and Sciences and chairs the Canadian Consortium for Sustainable Development Research. 

                                                                                                                                                             the studio

Throughout 2012-2017 the book and paintings are being created. 

Contact: Jaime Clifton, Research & Exhibit Curator

Community Research Connections
sustainable features of Canadian communities