Marian Penner Bancroft
Date of Lecture: 1993-03-05
Marian Penner Bancroft was born in Chilliwack, BC and she currently lives and works in Vancouver. Educated at the University of British Columbia, the Vancouver School of Art and Ryerson University, Bancroft has worked primarily in the medium of photography since the early seventies. Bancroft’s early project, Lost Streams, charted the “invisible veins” of water systems that in turn attest to the shifting face of the landscape under increasingly urban conditions. Also during the 1970s, she created a powerful series of black & white images entitled For Dennis and Susan: Running Arms to a Civil War that centered upon friend and fellow artist Dennis Wheeler’s battle with leukemia.
Increasingly interested in the manner in which personal and cultural histories merge, Bancroft began to explore aspects of her own familial background through the charting of landscape. A series entitled Visit traces Bancroft’s personal history back to the contested landscape of Birtle, Manitoba and the site of a former First Nations residential school. The resulting large format colour landscapes evoke the sublime while paradoxically bringing to light the historically and sociologically problematic layers of the landscape. The recent series, By Land and Sea (Prospect and Refuge) addresses the migration of Bancroft’s familial ancestors from Scotland and the Ukraine. Her photographs document significant moments excerpted from her personal history while also raising issues of the cultural specificity of physical sites and the idea of nature as genealogy. By Land and Sea (Prospect and Refuge) was exhibited at Presentation House in Vancouver in the fall of 1999 before traveling to Galerie de l’UQAM in Montreal, the Southern Alberta Art Gallery in Lethbridge and the Mendel Art Gallery in Saskatoon.
Bancroft now teaches at the Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design and is represented by Catriona Jeffries Gallery in Vancouver.