Aoife Baldwin-Maher is a multidisciplinary visual artist who works with drawing, printmaking, murals, video and performance. They are a second-generation member of the Irish diaspora and live in Tiohtia:ke (Montreal.) Aoife studied in the drawing program at the Alberta College of Art and Design and then later at Concordia University in the Intermedia program working with video and performance.


Artist Statement

Aoife’s work is conceived by drawing from life using mindful observation. These studies of people and nature are created en plein air and in life drawing studios. As a mindful observer, Aoife does not care for total realistic rendering of their subjects but instead interrogates how an image might be able to portray the presence, breath, energy and experience of a subject. 

Aoife sees life drawing as a way to experience real human beauty without photoshop or unnecessary polishing. In their work the body is a symbol of longing, belonging and connectedness. Paradoxically, media consistently demonstrates how the body can be manipulated into a symbol of division and exclusion.

 Aoife subverts beauty and gender stereotypes through a feminist and queer lense, interrogating representations of beauty and the associations between gender, lines and color. They use colors considered feminine like soft peaches and bright red or unconventional “ugly” colors to reveal the ambiguity of gender binary.

Overlooked beauty is a common theme in Aoife’s artwork. In their plein air practice they often find forgotten corners of alleys and parks, honoring flora which grows with brave resilience. They often infuse the botanical drawings with bright and unconventional colors to invite a sense of whimsy and mythology.

Drawing from life is a powerful ally to mindful observation. It exposes preconceptions and forces one to confront unconscious biases that are projected onto reality. Aoife will often revisit past life drawings to interrogate the spontaneous decisions made and recreate the piece based on observing and subverting the drawing itself.


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