The work of Calgary-based artist Violet COSTELLO is inspired by the complexities of the human condition: our quirks and familiarities, our moments of loneliness and moments of joy, the ways in which we identify and represent ourselves in and to the world. With a practice incorporating painting, sculpture and installation, Costello explores the home, familial relations and society's ability to shape identity through figurative depictions of domestic scenes. A common thread in much of her work has been the consideration of the children's world of play, a realm where reality readily gives way to, and is confused with, imagination - as can be seen in her ambitious series Bringing Home Baby. At once amusing and unsettling, her work raises questions about the construction of identity and the nature of representation.
Born in Morpeth England in 1957, Costello moved to Canada as a child. Costello studied at the Alberta College of Art before transferring to the Emily Carr College of Art and Design, where she graduated with an honours diploma in 3-Dimensional Studies and received the J.W. McConnell Memorial Fellowship upon graduation. Costello later earned an MFA in sculpture from Concordia University in Montreal. She has taught at Concordia and the University of Saskatchewan. Costello has been on the rosters of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Calgary Arts Partners in Education Society (CAPES) and the City of Calgary Public Art Program. She has received awards from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, British Columbia Culture, and Canada Council. Her large-scale sculptural installations have been exhibited throughout Canada in solo and group shows at venues including Latitude 53 Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta; Western Front Gallery, Vancouver, B.C.; Devonian Art Gallery, Calgary, Alberta; and AKA Gallery, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; amongst others. In 2020, she received the 'Procreate Project Mother Art Prize Online Award' and was selected to present her work in an online exhibition with Richard Saltoun Gallery - her first show in a commercial gallery context.