Ferris Kerry Toad Spirit Song 1991 96 A 08 96Dpi 2

Toad Spirit Song, 1991, watercolour on paper, Collection of Museum London; Gift of the Volunteer Committee, 1996

London, Ontario artist kerry ferris emerged on the London arts scene in the late 1960s, when her work first appeared Greg Curnoe’s 20/20 Gallery. For decades she remained an active contributor to exhibitions at the Forest City Gallery, Embassy Cultural House, McIntosh Gallery and Museum London. London Free Press columnist James Reaney described her as “a great spirit, and her works among the most beautiful and spiritual in all the London art community, where she had so many peers.”

ferris maintained a profound belief in the interconnectedness of the human and natural worlds. With a unique sense of movement and colour, her works endeavoured to capture what she referred to as the “ancient rhythms” that govern nature and the cosmos. ferris’s work emphasizes a highly detailed, fractured surface, paired with a flattening of space that merges foreground and background into a larger, shifting pattern. This oneness also reflects an overarching sense of equality in the world—one which led her to eschew the use of capital letters (including their use even in her own name) and other symbols of hierarchy.

ferris came to painting through unconventional means. While studying cinematography at Fanshawe College, she was drawn by the camera’s ability to freeze fleeting moments in time. In response, she developed a painting style that similarly captured modest but powerful glimpses of nature, simplifying forms into striking, unique shapes. ferris travelled widely, from Zimbabwe to the Galapagos Islands, from Newfoundland to the Canadian Arctic—making tangible her ideas for future paintings.

i walk through colour, lime green and oranges—a bright blue river, i walk by marshes—the pale yellow bulrushes, bent and tinged with glowing pink-sprouts of bright green—the sluggish water, dark with mysterious green algae—the trees catch the sun glowing yellow oranges i think and swallow the beauty—tree branches, the light, the sounds—it is my dna molecules—i dream through light like a puppet—unknown strings float me silently through dimensions—i am a spirit interwoven—i am a landscape, my wrinkles expressing movement—the wind my soul, the toad my magic-nature fragments us into being-our spirits dance-mine in colours and line. kerry ferris

kerry ferris

ferris was a longstanding member of the London art community and, for 28 years, a valued employee of Western University’s department of Library Information Resources Management. A celebratory exhibition of her work will be held