Canadian contemporary artist Emily Filler is challenging creative norms with her painterly collages.

Using a unique combination of painting, printmaking and photography to walk a creative line between the figurative and the abstract, Filler’s exhibition Old New Borrowed Blue, illustrates the breadth and evolution of her practice.

The exhibit is taking place at Newzones Gallery of Contemporary Art through Nov. 18.

With a focus on multimedia formats, Filler’s work includes screen printing, photography and painting, and uses multiple materials such as fabrics and vibrant colour swatches. Florals, blues, shapes and dots figure prominently throughout her new collection in an imaginative form. 

Newzones’ registrar, Taylor Carruthers, says Filler’s use of screen printing helps the exhibit come together in a nostalgic and harmonious manner. 

“This creates a beautiful flow throughout the whole body, yet each canvas is still so distinct and individual,” says Carruthers.

Emily Filler’s Dreamscape (In Blue) I, 2023. PHOTO SUPPLIED BY TAYLOR CARRUTHERS/ NEWZONES
Emily Filler’s Vintage Bouquet (Hot Pink + Blue Flowers), 2023. PHOTO SUPPLIED BY TAYLOR CARRUTHERS/ NEWZONES

Paying homage to the ‘then and nows’ of life, the exhibit emphasises floral images captured both in the garden of Filler’s father and at the Ottawa Tulip Festival.

Growing up in Toronto, Filler’s work is influenced by the contrast in landscape between the busy city and whimsical elements of the neighbourhood streets. By using both texture and layers to create depth, Carruthers thinks Filler brings a thoughtful approach to contemporary art, where beauty is often secondary to its conceptual nature. 

Carruthers anticipates the public will experience Filler’s art as captivating, exciting and emotive, as each piece reflects relatable themes.

“Everybody has some kind of relationship or memory associated with flowers,” says Carruthers. “And although they’ve been so consistent in the art world, Filler showcases them in a way that feels fresh and new.”  

As a young artist in Canada, Filler has received global recognition for her works and artistry. 

Newzones focuses on highlighting prominent local, Canadian and international artists who produce process-based artwork.  

 “Our job isn’t just to place the artwork, but to help people understand who the artists are, their process and all the intricacies that go into creating,” says Carruthers. 

Calgary, says Carruthers, boasts an established art scene that continues to grow, influencing the city’s character and personality. Exhibitions such as Filler’s gives the public the opportunity to celebrate and recognize Canadian artists who are paving the way for others. 

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