Violet Costello is an artist living and working in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. She studied at the Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver and received her MFA from Concordia University in Montreal. Her large-scale works often blur the lines between painting, sculpture, and installation, filling gallery spaces with multiple figures. A recent series of paintings, Bringing Home Baby, explores themes of enculturation. This work received the Procreate Project Mother Art Prize 2020 Online Award with Richard Saltoun Gallery in London. It was also a finalist in the 2019 Salt Spring National Art Prize. Costello’s newest paintings reflect the ongoing turmoil of the past few years. Costello has shown work throughout Canada and has received awards from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, British Columbia Culture, and Canada Council.


Artist Statement  

My works are often comical, but they also raise unsettling questions about our place in the world and the formation and meaning of cultural identities and stereotypes. I am interested in the complexities of the human condition—our quirks and fears, our moments of loneliness and joy, our ways of moving, identifying and representing ourselves. I’m inspired by the child’s world of play, where reality readily gives way to, and confuses with, imagination.

Dog Park, 2020 reflects the year when the world was engulfed in the Covid-19 pandemic. With more people staying home, more dogs were being adopted. Closures, isolation, and the slowing of daily activity allowed for a period of contemplation where we could see with more clarity the failures of economic, ecological, social, and political systems. Our anxieties and fears about the world surged.

Vaccine Day, 2021 depicts the day when we are all vaccinated, a day to celebrate, with reservation. We gather together and hold hands, but the world’s problems have not gone away, the future’s uncertainties are terrifying.  

Red Onions, 2021 depicts a crowded pub. There are unwanted jobs, unwanted lovers, and unwanted onions. Scan the QR code and Paul Bunyan enters the picture. Outside, a forest fire burns.