Paul Morstad

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Tan-Gun, 2012 Ink And Oil On Panel 65 Inches X 81 Inches © Paul Morstad
Prospector , 2010 Ink And Oil On Panel 36 Inches X 48 Inches © Paul Morstad
Humboldt's Accordion , 2011 Ink And Oil On Panel 365 Inches X 48 Inches © Paul Morstasd
Cape Cod Gastropod, 2010 Ink And Oil On Panel 36 Inches X 48 Inches © Paul Morstad
Tolstoi and the Hobo-Moth, 2012 Ink And Oil On Panel 36 Inches X 36 Inches © Paul Morstad
High Seas Hobo-Victrola, 2012 Ink And Oil On Panel 36 Inches X 48 Inches © Paul Morstad
Square Dance, 2007 Ink And Oil On Paper 38 Inches X 50 Inches © Paul Morstad
Valdes, 2013 Ink And Oil On Panel 36 Inches X 36 Inches © Paul Morstad
Trail of Bottles, 2010 Ink And Oil On Panel 36 Inhes X 36 Inches © Paul Morstad
Naufrageuse No.1, 2012 Ink And Watercolor On Paper 22 Inches By 30 Inches © Paul Morstad
Procession, 2012 Ink And Watercolor Or Paper 22 Inches X 30 Inches © Paul Morstad
The Stations of Mt. Royal, 2012 Ink And Oil On Panel 36 Inches X 48 Inches © Paul Morstad
Bryde's Whale, 2013 22" X 30" © Paul Morstad
Quick Facts
Edmonton, AB
Birth year
Lives in
Vancouver, BC
Works in
Vancouver, BC
Grant McEwan, 1992, diploma
Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, Vancouver, 1997, diploma
Representing galleries
Winsor Gallery, Vancouver, BC
map-based, cartography, zoology, myth
cartography of myth

Using maps, artifacts of human endeavour, allows me to reveal the ambivalences and struggles at the heart of our cohabitation with the natural world and to engage with our efforts to devise an empirical grid to interpret/represent the land, to impose a measure of order onto an otherwise-organized natural world.

The dendritic process that leads me from one painting to the next is mostly inspired by the old charts and abandoned objects I come across as well as the challenges I encounter in the act of painting a given piece. This process allows me a broader exploration of the themes of migration, encroachment, ecological decay and extirpation. I am interested in the obfuscating of the map or chart, in the visual reciprocity and tension at play between the zoological images emerging from the map and the map itself, and ultimately in arriving at a form of interspecies counter-mapping. This “response” mapping asks a number of questions, one of which could be, if sandhill cranes could make a map, what might it look like?

The content of my work is deeply inspired and informed by the natural sciences. The pieces and their animal elements find their aesthetic roots in the long-standing tradition of wildlife art: past naturalist–artists like John James Audubon and James Fenwick Lansdowne, naturalist–explorer Friedrich von Humboldt, and contemporary artists like Jonathan Kingdon and Walton Ford, all of whom apprehend the natural world’s biodiversity through illustration. The narratives in my pieces also find foundation in the written work of people like ethnobotanist Wade Davis and wildlife ecologist Aldo Leopold. The work takes a scientific, cartographic tradition as its starting point — the paintings being intrinsically melded with a map — but employs a variety of media — from collage to water color, gouache and oil— to create a form of counter cartography. 

Exhibited with these artists
Paul Morstad has Exhibited with these artists:

Exhibited at these venues
Paul Morstad has Exhibited at these venues: