Reflections on Typography


The Bellevue Gallery presents, Nicholas Purcell, designer and maker of exceptional handmade furniture,

Reflections on Typography

A journey from graphic design to fine furniture.
One may wonder how typography and fine furniture might find semblance together in
the same work. The original inspiration for these pieces came when I stumbled upon a
tray of vintage letterpress type. Inspired, I reflected on the printers who stood laying up
rows of type one letter at a time and the heavy machinery pressing the images of the
printed word.

The small letters and intricate motifs reminded me of a brief experience with this form of
printing in my early schooling in graphic arts. Later as I went on to study as a graphic
designer I had an immediate affinity & aptitude for hand lettering & designing with type.
It is this background and my current work as a furniture designer that combined to inspire
this exhibit.

I call myself a ‘Designer and Maker of Exceptional Handmade Furniture’; but there is no
escaping that I am an ‘Artist ‘. The lens through which I see the world and approach my
work has defined me all my life. In all the work I do I try to apply this same artistic
sensibility – believing there is intrinsic value in ‘good design’ & the ‘handmade object’
and in practicing the highest level of craftsmanship.

Show runs from May 23rd, 2013 – June 30th, 2013. Opening reception: May 23rd, 2013; 6pm – 8pm

Saturated Phenomenon

Saturated Thin Film

Saturated Phenomenon


Saturated phenomenon are experiences of givenness that philosopher Jean Luc Marion says exceed the senses, that flood, overrun– indeed saturate otherwise ordinary events. Saturating phenomenon surpass the sum of their parts; an experience of overflowing fulfillment, saturated phenomenon exceed the intentional act that generates them and is incommensurable–not measureable in any ordinary way.


These images juxtapose minimal planes of steel with close up faces caught between fear and joy- laughing, crying, screaming, meditating, being flooded with fields of saturated colour, seen floating through layers of texts.


The Saturated Phenomenon Series celebrates how simple mundane surfaces can open, enfold and invite such saturated phenomenon. The surface of steel, the porous, close–up topography of the face, the signifying surfaces of texts, maps, packing stickers, material veils of saturated colour–each trace, layer, flood, open and unfold multiple depths. The surfaces themselves invite not a dualistic opposition of surface with depth, but celebrate how the surfaces themselves suggest multiple readings. Multiple traces overlay and do not erase.


In Painting Today, Tony Godfrey observes that a “portrait painted face-to-face implies a one-to-one, an ich-du (I-thou), relationship (111). The one-to one relationship with the painted face enacts Martin Buber’s I-Thou relationship, albeit between the painter and panel, and brings to mind philosopher Emanuel Levinas face-to-face ethical encounter with the other. The viewer is invited to step into an I-thou relationship in the artist’s stead. This series has taken a surprising turn. Particularly the laughing face layered over text transfer sections of Foucault’s Discipline and Punish and Keller’s The Face of the Deep suggests in an odd textual dialogue and in Keller’s own words how “the face breaks up both the deconstructive caricature of depth and the counter caricature of deconstruction as shallow. (165)”


My dissertation opens with being “stopped” by a heart attack and ends with a laugh. In Coming to Writing Cixious identifies a generative process: “In the beginning was dying, the abyss and the first laugh.” The Aesthetics of Attentiveness identifies 3 phases of aesthetic acts– the necessity of being stopped; being attentive, trusting unknowing and self emptying listening through the act of making; then emerging out of this liminal process with a laugh of knowing, having made something that surprises even the artist.

Saturated Phenomenon runs from April 11th to May 11th, 2013 – Opening Reception: April 11th; 6pm-9pm


Rotating Group Exhibition

December 2012 – January 2013



Featuring works by several gallery artists, including Michael Elkan, Gillian Armitage, Wayne Eastcott, Michiko Suzuki, Galen Felde, Emma Milley,  Leszek and Lynn Wyczolkowski, Pari Azarm Motamedi, and Chris Anderson. This show is on display through December to January 2013.  If you are an art lover with a desire to experience the creative journey of our exceptional artists, please join us for this rotating group exhibition.


“A Feeler” by Michiko Suzuki

“A Feeler (Compassion vs. the Volcano)” by Michiko Suzuki

Michiko Suzuki’s solo exhibition, “A Feeler” exhibits large-scale etching prints for the first time at The Bellevue Gallery in West Vancouver.  Suzuki developed the process of ‘toner etching’ in 1993 allowing for the expression of shadow, light and delicate detail to be captured in a present moment of truth.

Michiko’s technique requires swiftness on the part of the artist to encapsulate immediacy in her art form.  Using photocopier toner, an exceedingly fine powder; Suzuki blows it through a straw into delicate patterns on a copper plate.  Even the slightest flutter will cause this ultra-fine powder to lift and float into an image of its own devising.  Once she has formed her ‘feelers,’ she then burns the pattern into the copperplate by heating its underside.  The copper plate is then etched and the image transferred onto fine Japanese paper.

For Suzuki, the act of creation is not enough; it is only when the viewer connects with her art that she feels her work is complete.  Even the titles of her prints are designed to invoke viewer participation.  She calls her pieces “A Feeler” in honor of the people who are touched by her work visually, emotionally and physically.  Her development of large scale prints is significant to printmaking itself because the viewer experiences the work on a human scale.  Traditionally printmaking was done on a much smaller basis, however, large scale etchings are comparable to larger paintings.

Three of Suzuki’s pieces being showcased at the Bellevue Gallery were shown at the Contemporary Art Exhibition held at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum and the Kyoto City Museum of Art in Japan.  These pieces are very significant to Michiko’s desire to evoke compassion and serenity in a disharmonious world.

This creative process is a spiritual journey for Suzuki.  It is critical, for example, that she physically connects with the toner powder, either through her breath or by placing her fingers directly into the powder.  She says she murmurs while she works and senses a direct emotional connection to the folklore of her native Japan.  She makes her art accessible in order to grant viewers a reprieve from the confines of hyper-technology and overcrowding; hoping her prints offer balance between time and space.

Exhibition runs from February 14th to March 16th, 2013 – Opening night Feb. 14 6-8pm 


The name of this tree…

October 11, 2012 marks the opening of Bellevue Gallery’s exhibition, ‘The name of this tree…’ featuring paintings by Pari Azarm Motamedi.  This latest exhibition by Pari is based on the poetry of Mohammad Reza Shafii Kadkani.

Kadkani’s poetry expresses, in beautiful layered images, the observations, thoughts and experiences of an artist and scholar experiencing life in contemporary Iran.  Pari aims to convey her interpretations of these poems and their layers of meaning in a visual language that has been developing over a lifetime of contemplation and work.

While interpreting Kadkani’s poetry, Pari has chosen to focus on three different areas of concern and preoccupation which affect both the twenty first century poet living in Iran, and the twenty first century artist living in the West.  She believes the same areas of interest are shared by many of us living in this era of questions and contradictions.

The first area of concern focuses on poems that are a response by the poet to immediate and spontaneous times in ordinary life. The poet alludes to the importance of appreciating the moment instead of focusing on what lies beyond.  Secondly, the author focuses on sociopolitical events, and finally Kadkani deals with universal questions of life, human experience, and existence.

In Kadkani’s poems one encounters a sensitive, thoughtful artist saddened and angered by all that is happening around him and in the world.  Even so, Kadkani sees beauty, living life fully in each moment while at the same time deeply thinking about the bigger universal questions of life.

Pari shares the same concerns as Mohammad Reza Shafii Kadkani, and expresses this through her work and paintings, using Kadkani’s poetry as the source of her inspiration.

Child’s Play

July 12-August 12, 2012

The Bellevue Gallery is excited to welcome visiting artist Mark Heine to the gallery. Beginning July 12, 2012 the gallery will be showing Child’s Play, a collection of paintings inspired by Heine’s life on the West Coast.  Heine takes realism and slightly abstracts it using vibrant colours and off-center compositions.  As an artist Heine’s purpose is to live with his eyes open, observing, collecting and recording. He paints his reflection of those observations… sometimes joyous, sometimes painful, but always honest.


August 30-September 29, 2012

The vibrance found in the new paintings by Aaron Robbins is central to this month’s group exhibition, Fresh. Aaron draws upon his travels, experiences, and memories while exploiting the tonality and aura of the landscape he’s painting, making it his own and creating a journey for others. His extensive use of colour, layering and glazing techniques combined with an environmentally friendly Pouring Medium transforms a two dimensional painting to a three dimensional work of art.

The Name of This Tree…

October 11-November 11, 2012

The Name of this Tree, is Pari Azarm Motamedi’s second solo show at the Bellevue Gallery. We are excited and honoured to be showing her new body of work based on the poetry of contemporary Persian scholar and poet, Shafii Kadkani. His poems deal with questions and feeling which many contemporary Iranians share and Pari has attempted to convey them in a visual language. According to Pari, poetry and painting are about making ‘images’ to convey a message. In contexts where lack of freedom limits what can openly be expressed, the ‘image’ becomes the tool of a hidden language of communication between the artist and the ‘readers’ of the work.

Matters of Minimalism

Beginning May 14, 2012 the Bellevue Gallery will be showing Matters of Minimalism. This rotating group exhibition features work by Erica Grimm-Vance, Emma Milley, Wayne Eastcott, Michiko Suzuki, Lynn and Leszek Wyczolkowski, Marion Llewellyn and Gillian Armitage. The clean, crisp lines and sophisticated colour palate make this show a stunning display of our gallery artist’s accomplishments.

Image: Mindfullness, Erica Grimm-Vance


Chelsea House Children’s Art Exhibition

From May 4-12, 2012 the Bellevue Gallery will be hosting a children’s art exhibition as a fundraiser for Chelsea House preschool. For one week the walls will be adorned with works of art created by children who attend Chelsea House.  Some pieces will be auctioned off as a fundraiser for the school while others are pieces that each student can take home with them. This show not only helps raise funds for the school but also emphasizes the importance of art as an aspect of learning and growing.