Born in Portugal, Maria Medina immigrated to Revelstoke, British Columbia, with her parents at a young age. Since then, she has travelled and lived in many parts of North America, including Mexico, Texas, and Edmonton, eventually settling down again in Revelstoke. Following a career that touched on various paths, from forestry to graphic design, she began taking art classes at the Kootenay School of Arts in Nelson, starting in sculpture and metalwork and eventually moving into painting. The switch, she explains, came from a simple starting point. “I just wanted to work with colour.”
Medina’s large-scale oil paintings are filled with detail and attention to the composition of her sculpture background. Her brilliantly coloured still lives seem straightforward at first glance. Still, closer inspection reveals oddities and surrealism that elevate her compositions to the extraordinary – a swarm of butterflies perches and hovers around an exuberant bouquet, a kingfisher perches on a watermelon with a fishing lure in its beak, two tanagers study each other from a massively oversized urn and absurdly tiny chair.
“Painting is like skiing; it doesn’t matter how you get down the hill, as long as you’re having fun. I’m always relieved to finish something I’ve spent two months looking at, but I like the whole thing. Otherwise, why would you do it?” - Medina