“Mother Daughter Coast” is a retrospective of Shelley Twohig’s life as a photographer, including paintings and video curated by her artist daughter Jessica Gabriel.
This virtual gallery will be ongoing.
About the Artists:
Shelley Twohig and Jessica Gabriel are mother and daughter who share the same birthday. Shelley turned 21 years old as she gave birth to baby Jessica at St. Mary’s hospital in Sechelt on Feb 27th 1980. Since then, both piscean women have been longtime residents of the Sunshine Coast BC and have created artworks rooted in the natural splendor of this place. Shelley and Jessica have also been inspired and influenced by each other’s art over the years; with this exhibition being a sort of timeless collaboration between the two of them.
Shelley Twohig (1959 – 2018) a West Coaster through and through was born in Vancouver and made her home on the Sunshine Coast since 1978. She connected with many people through her skilled work as a hairdresser. As an avid cyclist who loved the natural world, she was deeply concerned with our human place within it. Gifted a camera by her second husband Mike Twohig when her daughter Jessica was a young child, (and her son Sean was just a twinkle in the eye) Shelley soon realized her love for photography. Feeling isolated inside of community is a paradox that Shelley felt deeply; as she was highly attuned to the ecological degradation happening globally. How can we live fully in a world that is going extinct? How can one feel safe in a hair-brained society? Shelley took refuge inside the lens of her camera by observing the simple magic of her immediate surroundings.
The exhibition consists primarily of large-scale photographs, highlighting several bodies of work that Shelley created. The largest and most colorful series are her experiments blending images manually using slide projectors. Shelley never used photoshop, and did not alter her photos digitally in any way; these are all the raw original images as is.
Shelley’s deep observation of nature can be felt in her photos of ancient rock formations at the ocean’s edge, and her captures of plants and trees. She also photographed people, and included are several of Shelley’s self-portraits and pics of her two kids, Sean and Jessica.
Jessica Gabriel has always been inspired by her mom’s patient and observant way of seeing the world. A trait that Jessica also admires in her father Michael Gabriel (Shelley’s first husband) who is a avid beachcomber and folk artist. Jessica knew she wanted to pursue art from a young age, and earned a fine arts degree from UBC in 2001, where she studied abroad for a year in Paris. Jessica currently works as a life model, and runs a theatre company Mind of a Snail Puppet Co. with her partner Chloe Ziner in Vancouver.
Shelley rarely travelled, but was inspired to visit Jessica while she was living in France. Included here are a series of photos Shelley took of marble sculptures in the courtyard of the university where Jessica was studying.
For “Mother Daughter Coast”, Jessica has chosen several paintings of the ocean and arbutus where Shelley’s photographs were used as a reference. As a multi-disciplinary artist, Jessica works in many mediums, and has also included a video and sound collage created with footage & sounds collected directly from the natural environment in Roberts Creek surrounding Shelley’s death.
Shelley died of sinus cancer on December 10th 2018 at the age of 59 with the kind assistance from the MAiD (Medical Assistance in Dying) nurses. One series of images in this online exhibition features documentation of the three day collaborative painting (by Jessica and close family friends) of Shelley’s cardboard coffin before her body was cremated on Dec 13th.
Beautiful Shelley entered the next realm relaxed and empowered at home in Roberts Creek with both her children present, Jessica Gabriel and Sean Twohig. She is survived by her father Daniel Koop, and brothers Don, Barry, David and Danny. She is predeceased by her mother Beverley MacDonald in 2016. We will forever remember Shelley’s wide open laughter, carefree spirit, and knowing eyes.
Selected framed photographs available here.