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Ardea Thurston-Shaine is an interdisciplinary artist living in Waterloo, Ontario. Raised in the Pacific Northwest and central Alaska, she grew up surrounded by natural beauty. She has always had a penchant for abstract philosophical reflection and began contemplating her own awareness of individual moments before the age of five. Today, her art still reflects the combination of observed natural wonders with philosophical and spiritual reflection. Another early influence on her artistic perspective was Buddhist retreats in the tradition of Vietnamese teacher Thich Nhat Hanh. Ardea received her MFA in 2018 from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University. There, she discovered a love of oil paint and rekindled her relationship with ceramic sculpture. She began using photographic references combined in Photoshop to create complex abstract images from realistic elements. The deeper meaning of her work became influenced by readings of 20th-century philosopher Gilles Deleuze as well as Buddhist texts.


Ardea's work has been exhibited in New York City, Toronto, Chicago, Boston, and Seattle. Her painting "Door of Dreams" was included in the 2021 London (UK) Art Biennale. Ardea is currently a resident artist at the Globe Studios in Kitchener.


In my art, I capture the occasions when I feel the world open. Usually, the depth around me doesn’t seem real, as though there is a screen separating me from the open spaces. Believing in depth involves breaking this screen to forge a connection between myself and the other. I create worlds where self and other are opposite sides of one fabric. By visualizing two-sided folds, my art identifies a closeness that has been lost. I also visualize double surroundings. My mind extends to surround the space that surrounds me. But I also know that my body is small. My influences include philosophy and mental health. I am interested in the relationship of Buddhist ideas of “one-ness”, Gilles Deleuze’s theory of “folds”, and solutions to anxiety and depression. I want to help other people expand their own mental spaces in order to be kinder to themselves and others.

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