The Big Foldy Painting of Death

Vancouver BC based artist Ian Forbes (BFA, University of Alberta, MFA, University of Alberta) exhibits The Big Foldy Painting of Death, volume One (an ongoing work). This piece was created on a continuous roll of canvas approximately 127 feet long, and 6 feet in height (the viewer is engulfed inside one large artwork). The acrylic painting is a panoramic, unrestrained and personal narrative using the multiple vocabularies of contemporary art to investigate the destructive qualities of creation and the creative qualities of destruction. Viewers are invited into a “deeply personal conversation about how we are inhabiting this planet, this country, this city, this street, this gallery, this studio”. Here they encounter the provocative juxtaposition of the horror and pleasure of the impending apocalypse; the betrayals and fealties of the aging body and, perhaps, an optimistic hope for apology and reconciliation. In its presentation of multiple, fragmentary concepts and themes, this piece offers an opportunity for viewers to occupy a highly-visceral, contested terrain of emotional experience, and to emerge from this fragmented landscape with new appreciation for that which has, through processes of industrialization and modernization, been lost. Ian Forbes began the Foldy Book of Death series in 2008, after being introduced to the accordion book format.


Ian completed a BFA and MFA in Painting at the University of Alberta (1997) and has exhibited widely in group and solo exhibitions in Canada and Europe. In recent years, Forbes has taught visual arts at Grande Prairie Regional College and Emily Carr University of Art & Design, as well as being active as a volunteer and board member for several arts organizations in Western Canada. His work is found in private collections internationally, the Alberta Foundation for the Arts Collection, Konzentrationslager Auschwitz-Birkenau (Krematorium IV Memorial) Poland: commissioned by the Auschwitz Awareness Society, Sintra Engineering and the University of Alberta.