Margaret Vanderhaeghe

About the Artist

Margaret Vanderhaeghe was born Margaret Nagel in Leader, Saskatchewan, in 1950. Her ancestors were Volksdeutsche, ethnic Germans who lived outside Germany. They came from southern Russia to the Leader area in 1907, lured by overly optimistic government advertising about the agricultural potential of the area.

The influence of this predominantly German community often shows up in Vanderhaeghe’s work, as she incorporates motifs from the old-world  traditionTradition is the passing along of a culture from generation to generation, especially orally. Or, a custom or set of customs handed down in this way. The idea of heritage is related to that of tradition. Any activity — as a pattern of celebration, ritual, or other behaviour, etc. — is traditional once it is a precedent influencing comparable activities in the future. (Artlex.com)  of storytelling that was common in the community. She has studied family letters, papers and documents as part of her search to understand her German agricultural heritage.

“A  seriesA number of things or events standing or succeeding in order, and connected by a like relation; sequence; order; course; a succession of things; as, a continuous series of calamitous events. (The Online Plain Text English Dictionary)  of memory-fragments,” she writes, “… the theme of roots is of great importance: links with childhood, family place… culture, all that is part of me and all that I remember.” (Saskatchewan Arts Board, 2001)

Vanderhaeghe received her Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Art in 1971, and a Bachelor of Arts, Honours the following year, both from the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon.  From 1980 to 1982 she took  drawingDepiction of shapes and forms on a surface chiefly by means of lines. Colour and shading may be included. A major fine art technique in itself, drawing is the basis of all pictorial representation, and an early step in most art activities. Though an integral part of most painting, drawing is generally differentiated from painting by the dominance of line over mass. There are many sorts of drawing techniques, varying according to the effect the artist wants, and depending on whether the drawing is an end in itself — an independent and finished work of art -- or a preliminary to some other medium or form — although distinct from the final product, such drawings also have intrinsic artistic value. Preliminary drawings include various exercises (e.g., contour drawing, gesture drawing, figure drawing, drawing from the flat), as well as sketches and studies, cartoons and underdrawings. (Artlex.com)  and  paintingWorks of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is either a tightly stretched piece of canvas or a panel. How the ground (on which paint is applied) is prepared on the support depends greatly on the type of paint to be used. Paintings are usually intended to be placed in frames, and exhibited on walls, but there have been plenty of exceptions. Also, the act of painting, which may involve a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's other concerns which effect the content of a work. (Artlex.com)  classes at the University of Saskatchewan. Vanderhaeghe lives and works in Saskatoon.

Themes of identity, memory and gender run throughout Vanderhaeghe’s work.  Her paintings are representational, in that the objects are easily recognizable, but they are not naturalistic. Instead, she presents us with ambiguous,  archetypalThe original pattern or model from which all things of the same kind are copied or on which they are based; a model or first form; prototype.  images and presences drawn from a wide range of sources, including her German heritage, folk arts, and Judeo-Christian and Egyptian myth.

Vanderhaeghe’s works have been exhibited in several group and solo shows. She has been awarded grants from the Saskatchewan Arts Board and the Canada Council to support her work.


Big Influences
Cultural Roots
Slipping In and Out of Abstract Painting
The Sleep of Reason
Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning