Annabelle Bail (She/Her/They/Them) is a Vancouver Island based multidisciplinary artist focused on the exploration of identity and sexuality through a queer lens. Born and raised in one of Quebec’s northwestern small towns, she pursued her studies in visual arts at the College du Vieux Montréal, then moved to the West Coast in 2013 where she has felt home ever since.
Annabelle’s work delves into the disconnected relationship we have too often with our body and mind, which they illustrate by combining figurative and expressive images of deconstructed bodies layered with words - acting as thoughts. Through electric line work and heavy textures created with acrylics on paper or digital paintings, they exhibit the profound beauty of emerging self-love and acceptance, followed by the inner conflicts.
‘Entre nous’ is a captivating start into examining Annabelle’s work as it possesses all of the qualities her practice is known for. Within this frame of shapes and colours, rests two deconstructed bodies that have been reassembled by Annabelle’s collage-like additions. The juxtaposition of these two bodies creates a space where two people can rejuvenate and connect with themselves and each other. This is further illustrated by the figure on the right as their head is tilted back and eyes are relaxed, suggesting a moment of self-care and leisure. These are two themes that Annabelle’s practice tends to focus on, reminding us to allow ourselves the means to reconnect with our bodies.
Entre nous, 2021
Digital mixed media drawing
20 x 20 inches
Centred within this chaotic piece is a neutral gaze, one unbothered by its surroundings. Although their face appears calm, their body is distorted and twisted in unimaginable ways. As they try to keep themselves together, we can suggest that it’s their emotions and trauma that is holding them back. This piece gently reminds us to continue the work of bettering ourselves, and dismantling the limiting beliefs and thoughts that hold us back and weigh us down.
Bagage émotionnel, 2021
Digital mixed media drawing, with elements of photography
20 x 20 inches
Shifting away from bodies, Annabelle has taken this piece to develop a metaphorical departure from the parts of life that often contribute to difficulties of practicing self-love within the queer community. L’authenticité d’être is a piece that speaks to queer love and the rawness of its nature. The soft pastel base creates a sense of tenderness that is abruptly torn apart by the rigid dark line black lines, representing the inherent love within queer communities that has been, and continues to be, threatened by our society.
This piece features a bird flying out and away from the dark lines and into the soft tender pastel embrace, suggesting themes of queer liberation and flying out to seek our innate right to freedom and love. Although we believe this basic act of love is a right to all, for our community it is a privilege that many are not afforded.
L’authenticité d’être, 2021
9 x 12 inches on canvas
This piece calls to the oasis of safety in queer communities when surrounded by other queer people. By keeping like-minded people within our bubbles, people who have shared experiences, we create a safe starting point that allows us to feel comfort. It also fosters an environment where everyone can be vulnerable and blossom without prejudice.
Refuge close by, 2021
Acrylic, archival ink and paper on Canvas
15 x 18 Inches
Love is love! With collaged photographs from as early as the 1940’s up until 2019, we can see that queer love transcends time. Love is beautiful, no matter who we are and where we are.
Queer; as in God’s diamonds, 2021
Digital mixed media collage
15 x 19 inches
Almost as an extension of ‘Entre nous,’ this piece offers another glimpse of abstracted bodies juxtaposed in a passive manner. Though there are still electric lines around the figures, we don’t get the chaotic feeling that we saw in ‘Bagage émotionnel,’. Instead we can watch as these two enjoy each other’s company.
At ease, 2021
Acrylic on wood
14 x 18 inches
Our last piece with Annabelle is one of the most vulnerable pieces from this selection of work. Our friendly bird has returned, perhaps just after its departure, but we can see its physical manifestation into this ritualistic repose. There is no sense of liberation here but rather a space to heal while she prays.
Annabelle has depicted a struggle between following faith and the sense of betrayal this woman feels towards the community that once loved and supported her. Her sexuality isn’t accepted by the church, a place she would call home, despite their definition of unconditional love. The rejection of one's true identity can feel unbearable, but here one can see an unwillingness to push through, in hopes of learning how to trust herself again. In time she will celebrate who she is as a whole. Salvation is not conditional.
18 x 24 inches