The last time Betty Kaser visited Alberta, the landscape of her childhood, she came across a massive upheaval on the road, extending through a field: a pipeline. Her heart lurched. Back in the studio, she continued working on a series that had begun with one small drawing, scanned, enlarged and printed on mylar. She then proceeded by cutting, layering and amplifying the imagery with additional drawing and painting. The flat black of gesso evokes a void, an absence or a presence, a limitless depth reminiscent for her of the prairie sky. Then she realized it also closely references oil. The vast open space of the prairie merged with the transformed landscape of resource extraction. Seeing Into Darkness was born.
Betty Kaser graduated from York University in 1972 with a Masters Degree in Environmental Studies. Her pursuit of art has paralleled her work in urban planning, cross-fertilizing both practices. In the early 1980s in order to provide herself and other artists with more permanent studio space, she began converting old two story factories into condominiums for purchase by artists. Each two-story unit devoted one story to studio and the other to living quarters. This interest in the use of space and the “space between”, a fundamental concern of architecture, continues in her artwork today.