Elva grew up in Woodstock, Ontario and discovered painting when she was quite young. Training at Sheridan College led her to a professional practice as a freelance artist.
Since 1982 she has called the west end of Toronto home. Elva chose to set up her studio in Parkdale, only minutes away from Lake Ontario and High Park, complete with marshes and wetlands, these precious resources continue to teach and inspire.
On daily photography trips to High Park she chronicles the seasons, the play of light and shadow, movement and stasis, the rush and burble of streams and ponds as they sit sheltered inside an urban matrix of humming traffic. It is this urban-sylvan alchemy that has helped to develop my technique. Each piece she creates represents a balance of nature, serendipity and intention; the same three forces that conspire to make High Park such a boundless source of inspiration for her. Together they are a constant, in the air, the light, the trees, but most perfectly, in its waterways.
Elva’s paintings have evolved to in-depth abstract realism, in part because of a desire for artistic invention and innovation, but also because of advances in the tools available. For example, the digital camera has enabled her to capture details previously unknown. Not long ago artists were only able to see and represent the surface. Yet, although we stare at the surface with the naked eye, we remain mesmerized by its deeper hold on our subconscious. These depths were once only available to our unconscious, tickled by light; their existence is known, but organically rather than tangibly. Images become tactile and deconstructed through the lens of digital enhancement. Once deconstructed then committed to canvas, these important elements revert back to an unconscious whole.
Acrylic paints and mediums have also evolved. In her years of experimenting with latex, acrylic, and polymers Elva has observed a deep connection to our liquid reality, an existence constantly in flux and mutable. Working with fluid acrylics, she adds mediums to keep the paint moving for as long as possible. Gravity and agitation encourage her recipe to integrate while intrinsic patterns and waves emerge. Flow is continually interrupted to startle predictability and provoke entanglement. Through this technique, Elva has found a way to capture “surface” as well as that reverberation we experience in our unconscious.
Elva Hook has been represented by Koyman Galleries in Ottawa, Ontario, for several years now, and continues to be very well received by clients.