Topographical Maps Of Emotion Series: a visual journal & when words fail

Mairie Saunders

See it On Campus: Level 1

Visitor Info

You can find my large scale painting, "Reflections", on level 1 in room D1390; It is located across from the Mini Loaf on the corner.

Close-up of Painting Reflections, 2022

Artist Statement

A fundamental philosophy that I gravitate towards, and one that my practice is rooted in, is the philosophy of Wu Wei; simply put it is defined by “action-less action”—giving up on harsh predetermined thoughts and actions and grounding one’s self in authentic presentness. Translated actively in my practice, I only create works that I feel genuine to who I am moment to moment; I find that creative process is the most fruitful and authentic, but also my favourite.

My practice is, as of current, predominantly focused on and about processing emotion, letting go and recording of that—authentic presentness and candidness. The creative process is the actual art work and the finished works are that art’s result. It is a form of self-guided art therapy through means of materiality and abstraction. Over the last year, I’ve been exploring the materiality of painting and how, I feel, it allows me the most freedom and accessibility to processes my emotions and moments in life that escape words.

—-That freedom in the moment of expression but the deliberate and purposefulness in the moment of record and sharing.—-

Interdisciplinary in my artwork, I keep my practice open to grow, breathe and be free to explore new avenues of materiality and interest. I’m attracted to more textural and visceral materials, as I feel they translate best my subjects of interest and intentions in my work. I do work in a myriad of other medias and practices, but I’ve primarily been focusing on painting, this year, as well as drawing, social-practice, ceramics, writing, and multi-media. 

“Abstraction allows [us] to see with [our] mind what [we] cannot see physically with [our] eyes….Abstract art enables the artist to perceive beyond the tangible, to extract the infinite out of the finite. It is the emancipation of the mind. It is an exploration into unknown areas.” 

– Arshile, Gorky

Delicate Memories:

Acrylic Paint, Acrylic Inks, Molding Pastes, Stretched Canvas


Delicate Memories are the dainty scrapbook pages of this journal; they hold the memories of old and the sincerity of current reminiscences.

Memories Of Sunflower Days & Fragile Moments:

Acrylic Paint, Acrylic Inks, Molding Paste & Mediums On Stretched Canvas


Memories of Sunflower Days and Fragile Moments are the recorded moments, in crayon on page, of the inner child; they allow her to breathe again smile in the sunflower rays and embrace the today from the yesterday’s some blue days.

Ignite & Eternal:

Acrylic Paint, Acrylic Inks, Molding Paste & Mediums On Stretched Canvas


Ignite and Eternal are the flint and stone spark that keeps the soul burning bright and the pages of this journal alight; they are the warm embrace on a rainy day and the dew drops falling to my face while the canopy sways. Recorded moments when words were lost but understanding threw clasped hands and over the everlasting warmth shared.

Mairie Saunders, Eternal: The Days Under the Trees Canopy, April 2022, Acrylic Paint, Acrylic Inks, Molding Paste & Pouring Medium, on Canvas 18” x 22”.


Acrylic Paint, Acrylic Inks, Molding Paste & Pumice Gel Medium On Stretched Canvas


When I look back, there is a myriad of moments and feeling that rush through but what is definitive is that I know I will always cherish my time there.

This work is a part of a larger series of works I’ve created over the duration of my fourth year; and plan on continuing. This work in particular is my most recent and ambitious one yet. I work on all-size frames, tending to work a bit larger, but never have I worked on a frame this large; Reflections is 3 feet x 5 feet. The work is exactly as it is named, a reflection on my time at Emily Carr and all that encapsulated it.

Mairie Saunders

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Born in Kingston, Ontario but grew up in Coquitlam, British Columbia;
I am a twenty-two year old interdisciplinary artist and 4th year graduating student of Emily Carr University of Art + Design.
I live, learn, work and play on the Unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples, which include the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish), səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) and kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem) Peoples.

At Emily Carr, I’ve pursued a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Majoring in Visual Arts and Minoring in Social Practice and Community Engagement (SPACE). Despite my learning disabilities, I’ve always been passionate about my education and pushing myself to my limits, which has now paid off in my degree. I am focused on taking my education, field experience and putting it towards pursuing a career in Art Therapy. I am incredibly passionate about actively helping others and using my knowledge and skills to do so. Art has always been a form of healing, expression and freedom for me; and allows for cathartic release when other means are insufficient and or inaccessible. I want to share that with others and allow them the space to do the same.

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