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Gallery 8 Saltspring Island


Monday - Saturday 10am to 5pm
Sundays & Holidays 11am to 4pm

Gillian McConnell

Gillian emigrated to Canada from Australia in 1964 and grew up in Montreal. She attained a Bachelor of Fine Art (Hons) with a minor in Art History from Queen’s University at Kingston, Ontario (1980). She majored in etching and was employed as the etching studio technician in her final year. Gillian has also studied Textile Design, Fashion Design, Multimedia, Web Design and Direct Marketing.

An experienced textile and graphic artist, Gillian has produced designs for a myriad of end products, including web sites, corporate Identity, shop signage, fashion fabrics, custom-made rugs and tourist merchandise (T-shirt placement prints, fabrics and drink coasters). Her rug designs have appeared in several magazines including a feature article in the Australian Good Housekeeping, February 1987.

Gillian began painting in 1997 and developed a unique visual signature incorporating photography and collage. An interdisciplinary artist, she has produced representational, abstract and symbolic work in a variety of media including acrylics, gouache, pastels, graphite, photography, textiles, poetry and found objects. In 2009, she co-founded OXOgraphy, a conceptual art collective. She has curated, promoted and staged many group and solo exhibitions.

Gillian is a resident of Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, Canada, where she also teaches art classes and manages a picture framing shop.


“I love the aesthetic in visual art. I love the tactile quality of paint, charcoal, paper, canvas and stone. But this alone is not enough. My art is my voice—my means of sharing feelings, expressing opinions and exploring ideas. I use visual metaphor as a vehicle to explore political, cultural, psychological and philosophical issues.

I am fascinated by paradox and contradiction. One of the contexts for my artistic journey is my belief that dichotomy is an illusion.

We live in a divide to conquer world. Unfortunately for humanity, it’s a strategy that works all too well. If you want to control people you need to dis-empower them. What better way than to divide them along a multitude of easily fabricated lines. None of us is immune to the subtle and not-so-subtle conditioning that pits male against female, black against white, rich against poor, democrat against plutocrat, representational against abstract. It’s an insidious game of us vs them―a game in which we are forever right―but never win.”

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