SUMMER HARVEST 2016
From California surfing, to Texas ghost towns, to his New York studio in the woods, Greg Miller shares the American experience through nostalgic, emotional vignettes; a modern cave painter in a cave with women, telling their stories. "It's not sexist," he says. "I paint about love from a contemporary aspect in a language that's used globally. Every woman can be a sexy hero."
An expert in Arts Leadership in the Age of Social Media, Carole Freeman is currently reviving the past with an epic documentary/history painting exhibition called 'Something About Winnipeg'. The ambitious undertaking includes the Winnipeg general strike of 1919, the 1950 flood, Louis Riel, the Selkirk Settlers, "the true story of Winnie-the-Pooh" plus '48 Portraits' of significance to the city's evolution.
The path to artistic freedom is seldom easy. For Jerry Markham, early stabs at a full-time painting career culminated in five years of self-doubt, little success and a lot of painting, before his dream was realized. Along the way were successive painting trips and excursions to the mountains, times spent in contemplation, and ongoing support from a good friend and mentor.
At the age of 80, beloved Canadian art icon Frederick Watson continues to impress. His latest foray - a unique fine art collection of fashionable women, reminiscent of the classic Art Deco style. He claims that as he goes forward, he seems to go back in time to his roots in illustration. Always impatient to finish a work and start the next one.
Photographer Gillean Proctor has a romantic nature and an intriguing way of showing it. In his 'Roadkill' series, he extols the charm of crushed cans, bottle caps, cigarette packs found at the side of the road. Cleaned and placed on a pristine white background, intricate random designs appear, giving a jewel-like quality to the shiny bent metal and cardboard.
Korea-born Shinah Lee says her artwork is a diary of emotions. "When someone looks at my painting, I want them to be transported by colour and movement to a specific moment. If you feel sunlight, I want it to remind you of the best day of sunbathing you ever had. Then your memory becomes more touchable because you have witnessed your emotion."
Hashim Hannoon finds great beauty in his current BC surroundings. Feeling settled and stable in this place of peace and harmony; able to ponder his past life in war torn Iraq and express it in new ways. His paintings - alive with vitality, light and colour - radiate optimism. While the emotional realism reminds us that hope is only necessary because of hardship.
Former physiotherapist, Susie Cipolla, has reinvented herself with a whole new life as an artist. New name, new passion, new goals, new studio, new farm life, new artist friends, new everything. Her advice: "It is never too late to take a chance and embrace your creative side. It's refreshing and a lot of fun. I feel like I am perpetually on holiday."
Melissa Chandon's parents had a passion for road trips. They viewed the American landscape as educational, exposing their kids to the nuances of highways, small towns, truck stops and KOA Kampgrounds across the US. Melissa still finds cars, gas stations, motels, billboards irresistible and is bent on documenting this era of American history - on canvas - before it disappears.
Whether it is the whales swimming around her island, bald eagles flying above, hummingbirds visiting her garden, or seals by the rocks at the beach, Jade Boyd paints the joys of life she encounters every day. A vision delightfully enhanced by vivid memories of colours from the traditional market and her parents' fabric shop in her childhood home of Taipei.
Moving from Russia to Canada was cathartic for nature-loving artist Vladimir Ribatchok. His thoughts: "Why drink water from the pitcher when you can drink from the spring? When I'm out plein air painting, I study the creations of nature. I am student, it is teacher. But back in my studio, imagination takes over reality and I feel the supreme power of the landscape."
Monet's Garden, France. Brent Heighton struggled with a watercolour. So he put the painting on the ground and stepped back to look at it. Distracted momentarily, he turned around to see an older gentleman accidentally step on the wet painting with a size 12 shoe. To Brent's surprise, the 'misstep' was an improvement. That's an experience you'll never get in your studio!
Nature captures Calgary artist Heather Pant's creative soul. A snow-topped mountain looking like icing on a cake; or a slope landing at the bottom of a mountain resembling a flower. In the studio, music is muse. "If I'm painting a calm lake, I listen to classical music. A jagged mountain - rock or pop. It helps my paint brush dance on the canvas."
Following the Japanese concept 'Shuhari', Erica Hawkes has reached phase three of an exciting artistic adventure. "When we learn, we pass through three stages. In shu, we repeat forms with no deviation. In ha, we innovate; forms may be broken, discarded. In ri, we depart from forms, open the door to creative technique, and act with what our heart/mind desires."
With the St. Lawrence River as muse, Lisa Free masterfully seeks out the abstract in a realistic setting. Her trees look like trees; water looks like water. But the painting, as a whole, appears as deconstruction of the composition into abstract patterns and highlights. People are particularly drawn to her shimmery water scen... a sense of calm in a hectic world.
Commissioned to create Penticton, BC's first ever piece of public art, Michael Hermesh sculpted 'The Baggage Handler - A Ballet in Suitcases and Memories'. The statue of a middle-aged nude man with a suitcase, surrounded by suitcases, was loved, hated, desecrated, re-created, bronzed, written about, and nicknamed Frank. It now graces the Red Rooster Winery, which created 'Cabernet Frank', Michael's favourite wine!
Rats! At night, Nicola Prinsen heard them scurrying around, rattling cups. Not the most endearing creatures, they earned her respect for being so clever. "In the end I sculpted a whole series of them: piles of rats, sneaky long-tailed rats, rats on dinner plates, rats riding bicycles - something I may not have thought about, if they hadn't moved into the studio!"
An artist's work says a lot about the artist. Choices are made; personal tastes and biases emerge, affected by one's personality and the influence of environment and experience. The art of Henry Fernandes describes a mad world and a wonderful life all rolled into one. Humour and poignancy, politics and whimsy, it's all about survival of the strangest.
Comedian at heart, Steven Lamb creates an alternate world where humour mingles with serious themes, based on his keen observation of pop culture and understanding of... us. His art is peppered with interesting and mundane renditions of the human condition. His people - always comic, distorted and exaggerated - are at once recognizable and endearing.