WOW MOM // Marlene Yuen and Vanessa Hall-Patch

Exhibition Dates: March 3 – April 7, 2023

Opening Reception: March 3, 2023 @ 5 – 8 pm

Artist talk: Saturday March 4, 2023 @ 1pm
ASL interpretation will be provided and live captions will be enabled. 
This talk is free to attend and open to the public.

Exhibition Text by Christina Hajjar

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Martha Street Studio is pleased to present WOW MOM, a duo show by Marlene Yuen (BC) and Vanessa Hall-Patch (BC).


Creating a new body of prints can feel very much like parenting: rewarding, messy, energizing, frustrating, colourful and repetitive. While working in a letterpress studio in the spring of 2020, Marlene Yuen discovered a student’s typographical letterpress proof that read WOW. When it was turned upside down, it read MOM. For Yuen and fellow artist and colleague, Vanessa Hall-Patch, the singular word contained a double meaning: WOW MOM.

Using a high volume of repeated prints, WOW MOM is a two-person exhibition by Marlene Yuen and Vanessa Hall-Patch, which investigates the repetitive labour taken on by parents, namely mothers. Mothering is one of the most essential labours that one can provide in society, yet it is an invisible form of work that is rarely given its due as skilled, multi-dimensional work. In creating a new series of prints specifically for Martha Street Studio, Yuen and Hall-Patch consider the parallels of parenting and printmaking.

The colourful, multi-technique prints (screen, relief, intaglio and cyanotype) are layered and arranged as a large scale installation, visually overwhelming the viewer with repetition, a feeling familiar to parents. Snacks, laundry, lunch boxes, sticks and toys are among a collection of items printed by Yuen and Hall-Patch. Presented in multiples, these objects of comfort and utility embody the ongoing routine and responsibilities of parenting. Full-time working parent artists like Yuen and Hall-Patch create in small pockets of time, so proofs and imperfect prints are shown and considered an important part of their processes.

WOW MOM is not only an examination of the joys and challenges of parenting and art making, but the exhibit also exemplifies the necessary partnership and support amongst parents and artists alike. From sharing parenting advice to sharing studio spaces, Yuen and Hall-Patch’s collaborative relationship and prints playfully bring to life and grounds the double meaning of WOW MOM.


Marlene Yuen (she/her) is a multidisciplinary artist who lives and works on the unceded and ancestral home territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. Her current focus is on illustrations, comics and handmade books. Marlene’s artist books have been retained in special collections archives nationally and internationally. She has created artworks about Vancouver’s historic Chinatown and Chinese Canadian workers for museums, galleries and public art programs. In 2021, her book, Ho Sun Hing Printers, received an honourable mention from the City of Vancouver Book Awards program. It is about Canada’s first Chinese-English letterpress print shop.

Marlene works as a studio technician at Emily Carr University of Art & Design. She is also known as Ada’s mom

Marlene Yuen acknowledges the generous funding provided by British Columbia Arts Council and Canada Council for the Arts.
Instagram: @marleneyuen

Vanessa Hall-Patch (she/her) received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Queen’s University and Master of Fine Arts in printmaking from the University of Alberta (2004). Focusing on themes of collecting, recording and preservation, she creates works on paper by layering multiple photo-based printmaking techniques. Vanessa exhibits across Canada and internationally, with works shown at the Print Center New York; Highpoint Center for Printmaking, Minneapolis; LA Print Space, Los Angeles and The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery, St. John’s, NL. She is the recipient of several awards and grants, most recently, the Juror’s Prize at the International Print Triennial, Krakow, Poland, and honourable mention at Biennale Internationale d’estampe contemporaine, Trois-Rivières, Québec. Mother of two, Vanessa lives on the unceded territories of Squamish nation, Nexwlélexwm (Bowen Island, BC) and commutes by boat to Vancouver where she works as a Print Media technician and Continuing Studies instructor at Emily Carr University of Art + Design.

Hall-Patch acknowledges the generous funding provided by the Canada Council for the Arts.
IG @vanessahallpatch

 Photos by Sarah Fuller
February 10, 2023