Bernadette Mertens-McAllister 2018

Bernadette Mertens-McAllister was born in Switzerland of Belgian parents. She always had two loves: art and nature. In Brussels she obtained a Diploma of Applied Art for Photography. She then studied large format black & white photography with well-known artists in California. Donald Ross introduced her to Ansel Adams and the Sierra Group f/64. As a young woman, she traveled to Afghanistan and Central America. In 1970, her first experience of Canada was a journey in the High Arctic using her camera to capture the beauty of the country and its people. She had a photography studio and was a freelance for many years.

Bernadette received a classical education that was infused with, and informed by both modern and contemporary art. Remaining open to new techniques to enhance her art, she broadened her original use of photography to include her newfound love of painting. Her multimedia body of work, acrylic paints added to collaged photos, has become one of the key areas of her ever-expanding vision as an artist. After many years ranching in the remote interior of BC, she moved to Salt Spring Island with her husband in 2012. She became involved with both the Painters Guild and the Photography Club. For her it was, and remains a pleasure to volunteer her time and share her experiences in the company of other artists.
Mertens-McAllister has had solo shows at the Public Art Gallery in Kamloops and the Museo Costumbrista del Estado de Sonora in Alamos, Mexico. Her photos were included in the “International Exhibition of Photography” in Mexico and Arizona. She now participates to the photography shows on Salt Spring Island.

The series “Trapped”.

About 8 years ago, I was walking up the hill of our range in Upper Hat Creek, no trails, just scattered ponderosa pines and old fir trees.  I stumbled on this trap, unattached.  A bit farther, I found the foot of a wolf, chewed, broken off… I felt outraged!  My heart was pounding with anger mixed with profound sadness.  This beautiful animal had been trapped and tried to escape, dragging the trap. He lost a paw… How could he bear his pain and continue to survive?

Rats are smart, beautiful but unwanted…

Birds fly into windows leaving behind their spring songs and broken wings…

My heart goes for the innocence, the helplessness of the animals enduring the brutality of us, humans.