Fool's Paradise: Rachel MacFarlane’s paintings of Canada look like beautiful alien landscapes

This January, Rachel MacFarlane is presenting her third solo exhibition at Toronto's Nicholas Metivier Gallery. Fool's Paradise includes a series of abstract paintings that include references to mountains, water, plants and rocks – apparently inspired by Doris McCarthy's artworks and the rugged surroundings of the Scarborough Bluffs.

MacFarlane grew up in rural Ontario and spent much of her childhood exploring the nature that surrounded her. She attended the Ontario College of Art and Design, and lived in Toronto for 11 years before completing her MFA at Rutgers University in 2016. She has since been based in Brooklyn, New York. In her latest body of work, MacFarlane re-investigates her relationship to the Canadian landscape and the history of landscape painting through her bold and colourful compositions.

"I am now embedded in the urban area of Bushwick, Brooklyn, where my street is lined with auto body shops," says MacFarlane. "The maquettes I build recreate and lament for the labyrinths of forests, and mountain terrain. Being away from Canada allowed me to realise how impactful the landscape is. It is deeply connected to my personal histories but also in the way I think about space in painting."

Rachel MacFarlane: Fool’s Paradise will launch on Thursday 11 January and run until 3 February at Toronto's Nicholas Metivier Gallery. To find out more about Rachel, visit


Get the best of Creative Boom delivered to your inbox weekly