From the Ekphrastic Poen catalogue: words (above) by John Lent, painting (below) by Jude Clarke
When you set forth in words like this, it’s not as if you will the words to a final logic so the words become a simulacrum of something---the way a photograph seems to stop time, or a portrait copies part of something. It’s that you trust the words, like music, by starting out in the earth ground of the body, in the concrete field the body is registering around itself, will move into both the body and that electrical field around it, and by some bizarre circuitry, reach beyond both to that other matrix that is also there, that resists ordinary logic, that rushes the heart and the mind and surprises both, and is as close as we can get to saying what the breath of being is. So it’s not that the words copy. They are set forth babbling, as probe. They find things. They open things up. They become something. […the young woman feeling sorry for me in the bakery earlier, forgiving me my awkward lack of confidence in her words, her language, and grinning at me so generously beyond both sets of words, she restored me to the bakery, pulled me back into my body standing in front of her from a point of view that was from farther on down the line, when I was already looking back at this moment and making fun of myself in it, full of swagger of course, the traveller. The raconteur. She rescues me from that and insists on placing me here, now, in this garden, my feet on the ground, her many gestures a cubist blessing from all sides simultaneously. Who would have thought that when I was starting out here? This is no trip into the ordinary…]
From the Ekphrastic Poen catalogue: words (above) by John Lent, painting (below) by Jude Clarke
Distance beckons us
Horseback ride to the mountains
Blue, crisp, winter chill
an ekphrastic peom by Shelley Thompson
in response to a painting by John Waite
Review of Art Show at Lake Country Gallery.
Written and contributed by Sandra Kessler
A lovely/lively art show opened on Saturday – March 7, 2020 at Lake Country Gallery. It was called “Ekphrastic Poetry” - which is a Greek expression – meaning giving words to images.
Four separate artists have work in this show. Liz Earl, Michael Griffin, John Waite and Lois Huey- Heck.
Liz was on holiday in Mexico so wasn’t actually at the opening. The others had a chance to share their experiences and the making of art.
Liz’s work was compelling and I admire the depth and perspective shown in the landscapes, as well as the facility with which she expressed the floral details.. Buildings, landscapes, people – she doesn’t shy away from any subject and the attention to detail – as is in evidence in, for example, the wrinkles in the clothing of the people in a line up at “The Lunch Counter” and the depth in perspective in the space in the Bedford Mills piece.
Michael Griffin’s work is gestural pen and ink and wash – bodies and 2 portraits. Clean and pure rendition – with an economy of expression. He gave an interesting talk about the pieces and the theory about the Ekphrastic Poem. The brochure on this show talks about making an Ekphastic poem.
- pick an artwork from the exhibition
- start a conversation with artwork – ask questions, invent a response.
- reflect on details in the work.
- tell a story
The poem can take on any form, haiku, limerick, sonnet, narrative – you decide.
Lois Huey Heck has an amazing array of work – 12 to be exact - executed on yupo paper which is a sort of synthetic base – it allows the movement of colour and is slow drying so not confined by time.
Primordial influences and as she says, “microcosm/macrocosm” – evident in the powerful images.
Her wonderful strong colourful renderings with so much energy and/or delight in the vibrant colours. The clean, spare, venue allows the work to be of utmost attention allowing each to speak its truth.
John Waite’s work is in acrylic on canvas – mostly landscapes. Interesting sense of time and the value of a work in progress. His memorable quote, “ If it feels like something I have already seen, then it is time to change direction”.
contributed by Cherie Hanson Feb 29, 2020
I have come to realize I have a relationship with art and with cultural events that is central to my sense of well being. As I do in all relationships, I step back and analyze the dynamic with a curious mind.
What I seek from art is a transformation of self. I stand before a painter that was looking at his concept reality in 1400 and I feel as if I have stepped into his very mind. This was the world he inhabited; these were the beauties of mundanity that surrounded him. What appears on the canvas are the objects limiting and expanding his very sense of his own humanity. And it deepens my understanding of what it means to be mortal beyond the boundaries of my own culture, current normative habits and constructs.
When I watch a choreography that is precise, unexpected and paced just beyond my ability to perceive it, I feel more flexible. My understanding and ability to behold the eternity of the performance is being challenged. It wakes me up. I find myself holding my breath.
To hear poetry or a film script that is just beyond my capacity to follow the words, puts me in a state of alertness. I am panting after the patter, forced to keep up, to keep alert.
When I see a play and the acting, directing and intelligence of writing is so beautifully beyond that which I knew previously, it can shred my sense of confining comfort. The tightly locked up ideas of who I am are released. I am forced to the identity of the characters. I am that person. I inhabit that kind of grief. That particular rage is within me. I will have unanticipated tears flow. The sense of deep humanity and the fragility of living a life sweeps over me.
Perhaps, I am shocked or horrified or taken like a captive ripped out of my own repetitions of understanding. Good art over-takes who I am in normal life and drags me to a hilltop where I now have a greater purview of the entire landscape of being born into a body. This moment in front of a painting, or dissolving in music, or listening to an actor channel the narrative of slavery destroys me.
All that I have known is exploded and the intensity of something so much greater than myself floods through me.
I fall in love with the created piece of art. I fall in love with the artist who can hold and transform that electricity. It is such an act of bravery to grab the wire and allow the self to be used to transmit energy. I fall in love with the earth, my body, the shared humanity of all of us.
For me, great art is about connecting to passion. It is about allowing the small self to be reformulated through an experience. I am renewed. I understand now: To be human is an act of incalculable courage. An artist taught me that.
Original Blog post at: http://cheriehanson.com/?p=5175
From blog post by Okanagan Author Leigh MacFarlane
I attended tonight out of curiosity to see how a smaller, local gallery handles an opening, and I was impressed.
It appeared to me that they solicited a decent turnout, and they offered an array of finger food that easily equalled the selections at my former gallery. I had a nice chat with gallery manager, Petrina, who remembered that I had left my former job and asked me about my current life — full-time writer for two more weeks then back to part-time writer, part-time employee collecting paychecks. I thought it was classy that she would ask after me even when she was hosting an opening. She made me immediately glad I had decided to come.
The exhibit that opened is called Cloth Culture, and features, “Six contemporary artists [who] explore the tactic emotional and experiential resonance achieved through the active labor of material production and bodily awareness.” Reading the invitation to the event over Facebook, I gathered that the exhibits would feature cloth in some fashion (pun intended). I wanted to see for myself how the artists would handle their medium in order to achieve their message.
Even though my visit was brief, I came away intrigued. Creativity always has that effect on my brain. The exhibits were varied, some binding garments fashioned into bolts of cloth together in imitation of various recognizable objects, others more abstract in intention.
My personal favourite was the simplicity of the long suspended swath of fabric (linen, possibly?) which had been painted in bold strokes with fluid black smears of paint then draped from ceiling to floor along one wall. I also appreciated the weave of wool, as well as the crinkled design of ribbon and bow-embellished paper. That one had so much texture and variance built into its construction that I had to study it in detail for several minutes before getting any sense of what I was observing. For instance, I first missed the chocolate liquors which had been inserted into the pattern of the work. I also took awhile to see the ivory sewing pins fastening the art to the preserved tree branch from which it hung.
I don’t know if I left the gallery thinking about the relationship of working with cloth to attain body awareness. That was there, but for me, that was a background note. Instead, I left thinking about the impressive way some people have of taking simple, basic materials and re-imagining them into art objects which make a statement. I left thinking about the way art has of creating differing impressions on the psyches of each individual who views them, and about the beauty of transmitting meaning and inspiration in such a fluid fashion. I left thinking about how art works in simplicity and intricate detail with equal power.
Hanging in the window at the gallery is a large cloth hand. From inside the gallery, this was simply suspended fabric which mimicked the flimsy material of a woman’s glove. From the other side, though, when the light from the gallery shone through the material, a shadow world could be seen. Inside the glove was a world of intricate detail which I won’t describe — I’ll leave that for you to discover on your own.
After studying those shadows, I left. I’m a writer, not an artist, and when I feel inspired, words are my medium of expression. When I slipped out the door, though, I left reminded that in order to really see, you have to take time to truly look. A surface, cursory glance is only stage one in the experiences of life, and of art.
I recommend a visit to Lake Country Art Gallery and Cloth Culture. There you will find shadows under cloth, fluidity of pattern and space, the intricacies of design, and if you take the time, maybe you, like me, will find a moment of contemplative inspiration.
Lake Country Art Gallery is located at 10356A Bottom Wood Lake Road. Cloth Culture can be viewed until November 17, 2019.
Full article can be found here> macfarlanecreativeleigh
Exhibiting artist and co-curator David Wilson
Sometimes life’s little inconveniences lead you to the door of opportunity.
One morning I had made the bus trip from Vernon to Lake Country to take pictures of my collaborative mural project with some of the George Elliott Secondary School students that hung proudly on the wall beside the Creekside Theatre. I decided a beverage at the nearby Coffee House would be a good starting point, and it was there I noticed my phone was missing.
Wanda Lock, the Curator for the Lake Country Public Art Gallery, recognized me and after chatting she lent me her phone to see if I could relocate mine. Luckily, it had been turned in to the bus driver on duty. All I had to do was wait for the next bus loop.
This gave Wanda and me a chance to talk. She said she'd just been thinking about a possible First Nations focused exhibition to showcase our art in a meaningful form of reconciliation and mutual respect.
This led to the exhibition called Atklokem: the place where wild carrots grow.
Sometimes these little inconveniences lead you to the path of golden opportunities.
David Wilson Sookinakin
LC Art Gallery Curator Wanda Lock:
As part of the Lake Country Art Gallery’s exploration of community I recognize the importance of providing opportunities for a discourse related to the Syilx, the Indigenous people of the Okanagan, and to facilitate discussions about the history and future of the people and this land.
My responsibility as the Curator at the Lake Country Art Gallery continues to evolve as the role of the artist morphs and responds to social and cultural needs. The Curator is an enabler, making space and giving voice to artists while at the same time researching and pulling together exhibitions that are stimulating, exciting, and thought-provoking to the public audience.
The role of a Curator is not a static one. It is prudent to invite others into the gallery space and to step aside when others can offer more qualified and different perspectives. And who can open up the conversation, break it apart and rebuild ideas. By inviting supporting curators into the Lake Country Art Gallery, we can stay relevant, reflect the times, move forward, and make space for other voices. This process then allows us to respond to conversations that are happening around the Okanagan Valley.
We must give voice to Okanagan artists and curators who create work intended to inform and challenge us. These exhibitions make us think about the history of the land and those who have come before us.
The Lake Country Art Gallery welcomes David Wilson, to serve as a supporting curator, for this exhibition. Atklokem featured work from Barb Marchand, Mariel Belanger, Sheldon Louis, and David Wilson.
She’s Mary: a tribute to Mary Smith McCulloch from Carolyn MacHardy
Well yes, there IS something about Mary, isn’t there?! But how easy is it to identify just what that something
is? Mary moved to the Okanagan with her degree in printmaking from the Glasgow School of Art just as
the Fine Arts Department of Okanagan College was forming, and she became an integral part of this institution
and its successors. Mary’s teaching skills are legendary, and I was fortunate to have the chance to team-teach
with her for several years and to be a colleague and friend for many. I learned so much about teaching from
Mary: she was wise, very fair, and frankly, she was a ton of fun both inside and outside the studio, as the students
were well aware. Mary mentored her students, and I think the continuing success of printmaking in this
valley has a lot to do with her. She made it important and young artists understood that working with abrasive
chemicals, snapping etching plates like they were celery, and feeding paper into presses the size of small farm
machinery were all part of a day’s work in the printmaking studio. She was a role model for women in that she
combined an active family life with her full time work at the College, and I think it was a very important lesson
for her male students as well. At the time we had many women returning to do their studies in fine arts after
having started their own families and Mary gave them the confidence to do it. Nor did she ever pretend that it
was easy for a woman with a young family to succeed in a teaching career and as an artist, but her recognition
of that and her willingness to step forward and make sure her voice was heard on committees at all levels of
the College was important for all of us. She has also maintained a steady commitment to the local community,
working on many committees and boards, and giving countless workshops to groups in the Okanagan.
If I have to think of one work that really opened my eyes to Mary’s teaching and her approach to art, it would be
her work from 1982 called Kettle Valley Trestles. I saw it again recently in the home of some friends and was as
knocked out by it as I was when it was done. The sheer scale of it, and the immensity of the difficult geography
and topography of the scene which she tackled was a powerful demonstration for students and faculty alike
of what printmaking can do. The multiple perspectives, and the juxtaposition of battling views of the trestles,
first below your feet and then above and to either side of your field of vision, creates a revelatory statement
that uses etching to point out how complicated the terrain of this Valley is and how complicated its history is. I
understood something about my new home in a way that I hadn’t understood until then: that the Okanagan’s
challenging geography, best understood through multiple lenses, has been subjected to ongoing relentless
transformation whether by railroads, orcharding, vineyards or subdivisions.
So yes, there is something about Mary but I am no closer to being able to say what it is. The more I think about
it and the more I write, the less sure I am that I can put my finger on it, or if that is even possible.
Asociate professor, Art History
Department of Creative Studies, UBC Okanagan
by Carin Covin
I remember an eventful time when I had the experience of being, symbolically, behind a studio door. The painter, Harold Klunder gave an artist talk in Wells, British Columbia, during one of the summers he was a mentor at the Toni Onley Project.[i] He projected images of his paintings during his talk, but he also talked about his painting practice behind his studio door, where the mementos and objects collected, the quality of the light, the scaffolding rigged for painting his large canvases added another dimension to where his ideas and understanding of the visual world came from.
In the studio, it is a particular space. The painter Mel Bochner describes art as a devise of thinking that begins in the studio space; “Most people consider thinking as a structured thing, but I think about it as a process. While you’re making something, anything, you’re simultaneously thinking about it visually, emotionally and intellectually. “[ii] Behind the Studio Door is an exhibition about painting; work made in a studio environment that is polyphonic.
David Alexander, Malcolm McCormick, Katherine Pickering and Jeroen Witvliet are presenting paintings in this rotation of the Lake Country Art Gallery exhibitions. Their artist statements contribute to the viewers understanding of their works, as they articulate the pluralistic thinking that went on behind their studio doors.
These artists have chosen the act of painting to give visual voice to their current investigations. This haptic medium has a rich history within the art historical discourse. It could be argued that the Lascaux complex of caves and the Chauvet Cave begin our fascination with mark, colour and form. Actually, one could stroll through art history and pick one’s favourites. I think of Giotto and his angels, the flying lovers of Marc Chagall, or jumping ahead to Hockney and his Splash, the intention of Pollack’s drip. Isms morphed into more isms and many theories, such as Post Structuralism and Feminism, deliberately interrupted the male gendered gaze, the gaze of male white power and privilege. I think of Mary Pratt’s painted politics of the everyday, the painted gender politics of Jenny Seville, or the painted post-colonial politics of Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptan.
Painting has been declared dead and then declared resurrected, however, the canon of painting has continually built upon the vocabulary of artists throughout time.
I would suggest that David Alexander, Malcolm McCormick, Katherine Pickering and Jeroen Witvliet, with these works, are contributing to this interesting, complicated and varied discourse about painting.
David Alexander explores mark making in his painting, from small intimate works to works commanding a single wall. Travel and environmental advocacy inform his process, as he investigates his global interest in our finite resources of land and water through his international art residencies.
Katherine Pickering has suggested that the world is her classroom, as she also travels the world and participates in international art residencies. Her research involves the investigation of abstraction through the process of the materiality of paint and canvas, its limitations and confines.
Malcolm McCormick’s recent research examines the intersection of assembling and de-assembling painting and its history; his investigations of the gallery wall as a trope is twined with painted works.
Jeroen Witvliet studio research involves investigations into the materiality of paint, often pushing the idea to a point of failure; his work is overlaid with speculations of memory, travel and identity of the self, as his travel and understanding of history underpins his practice.
These four artists have allowed us behind their studio doors, and shown us their current painting vocabularies. The Lake Country Art Gallery has provided this light filled venue to see the works and contemplate the ideas and concepts that these artists are presenting. And now it is up to us, as we, the viewers, bring our personal and subjective experiences to the act of seeing these paintings.
[i] Harold Klunder is a Canadian painter. He gave this talk in 2010 when he mentored at the Toni Onley Artist Project with the printmaker Libby Hague.
[ii] Mel Bochner is an American conceptual artist who is interested in language based works. This quote comes from an interview that Robert Enright conducted with Bochner in BorderCrossings, Volume 38, Number 1 Issue No. 149.
When you sing with a group of people, you learn how to subsume yourself into a group consciousness... That's one of the great feelings - to stop being me for a little while and to become us. That way lies empathy, the great social virtue. (Brian Eno)
Like all good exhibits, What’s Still Here, What Came Before Us started with a conversation over a cup of coffee. Liz Ranney and Nicole Young approached me two years ago to pitch their idea for an art exhibition in Lake Country. We sat outside and sipped coffee as Liz and Nicole shared their ideas, thoughts and vision. They wanted to do something that can make some artists shudder, including myself: Collaborate.
Painting can be an isolated endeavour. Artists spend weeks, months, and years on their self-imposed islands of creativity, narrowly focusing on their own ideas. For some artist, sharing this solitary experience can be intimidating. But Ranney and Young wanted to jump head first into it.
Art, like everything, cannot exist in a vacuum. Paintings do not spring onto canvases fully formed without influences and inspirations. Society, politics, philosophy, culture, and a laundry list of other elements feed into art. Artists take the noise from the world and filter it into something striking, something bold, something that makes us think.
Ranney and Young have made that influence explicit with this exhibit. They used the lyrics from Leila Neverland to inspire their paintings. They plumbed the depths of another medium to create a unique vision for the gallery. Three artists, all with their individual experiences, talents, and perspectives, came together to build a unified series of paintings.
But when you walk into the gallery, do you see that collaboration? When you study the paintings, do you see the work of one artist? Two artists? Three? Maybe more? Is the collaboration clear as day? Do the two painters’ styles stand out? Or is the line separating their techniques completely blurred? Did Ranney, Young, and Neverland successfully merge their styles into one voice? Does such a fusion matter with collaboration? When artists work together, should they maintain their individual voices? Should they completely meld together? Or should it be something in between? I hope these paintings provoke similar questions for you as you absorb the exhibit.
Art history, of course, has many examples of collaborations. Numerous artists have made some their best work when they team-up with like-minded people. Some of the most popular and enduring art pieces have come from collaborations. A quick google search brings up:
Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat
Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray
Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns
Pablo Picasso and Gjon Mili
Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali
Chuck Close and Philip Glass
Bjork and Matthew Barney
Marina Abramovic and Ulay… to name but a few.
When you enter the gallery you happen upon a series of paintings, a wall ‘collage’ and an installation in the back of the gallery.
Each painting and installation in the gallery is accompanied with a set of notes. A dialogue
between the three artists is recorded…contemplation, reflection, questions, ideas and lists of colours are scribble across sheets of paper.
viridian green + parchment
muted grey + titan buff
nickel azo gold
brownish paint water
For example, Leila Neverland’s words, ‘You can hide all you want, but those spirits will haunt ya…you can hide, under those covers, but you’ll never see the stars…you’ll never see the stars and the spirits will haunt ya’ , form the foundation for the painting Under Cover. Ranney and Young take these words and build a composition with paint, fabric, line and texture. By interpreting these lyrics and the back and forth of the canvas between Ranney and Young, a final image comes together.
As a viewer, you’re a collaborator. Gallery exhibitions create a relationship between you and the artist. You bring your own perspective and experience to bear when you study art. You define the meaning of each piece on your own terms. This exhibition is a celebration of how we all work together to discuss, debate, and build something new. In our daily lives, we’re all collaborators.
Even this introduction is a collaboration between writer Sean Mott and curator Wanda Lock.
Sean Mott is a reporter, a writer, and an amateur knitter. He’s written plays, short film scripts, theatre reviews, and novellas. His work has been featured in publications in Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia. He’s currently based in Lake Country.
Wanda Lock writes for Opus Newsletter January 2019
going "down the rabbit hole" has become a common metaphor in popular culture, symbolizing everything from exploring a new world to delving into something unknown. ... In Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, the rabbit hole is the place where it all begins.* [*taken from our friend google…]
Shortly after graduating from art school I was told the worst thing that can happen to your art practice is that your work starts selling, the commodification of art is a trap that sucks you in and dissolves all your ambition for being curious, exploring new ideas, takes away all critical thinking and it makes for weak work that becomes absorbed into a banal, boring, predictable, redundant world that escaping from is pretty much impossible. Making art that is adored by the masses is easy, but to travel down deep into a rabbit hole, now that takes courage…How does that saying go? … If you are making something others disapprove of, you are probably on to something.
A bit over dramatic? Maybe. But hey, don’t shoot the messenger…I’m just repeating a warning that I was given some 27 plus years ago. And I must admit, to this day, I keep those words very close to me, they have formed a foundation to which I have built an art practice on. My art work lives in a big messy Black Widow’s web that only I can navigate, there is no map or logical path to take, each studio visit is a mystery. The goal has always been to observe, think critically, do good, solid, work and to never settle for average. Of course, when it comes to my work, this is open for debate. Everything is meant to be challenged, analyzed, dissected, reconfigured and scrutinize over and over again, being relentless is good.
The ability to experiment, with subject and/or materials, means to go down rabbit holes, alone, it is what makes one an artist. Anyone can make ‘art’ but to be an artist is something entirely different. It involves taking chances, absorbing the world around you and reflecting it back to others (society).
When everything is stripped away, I am an oil painter who draws. When I walk into my studio the smell of linseed oil makes my heart sing… the intoxicating perfume wraps its big arms around me and pulls me into the room where we spend days and nights chatting, sometimes arguing, about the fundamentals of art making and how we can go about deciphering and responding to all that surrounds us. Using all the various art materials that are available to me at any one time helps put the pieces together. Am I an artist? That is not for me to decide.
I have no answers or advice for those trying to carve out a living in the arts, and maybe that is a good thing, it means the road is wide open, enjoy the ride and see where it takes you.
I took the images with me
Packed them up in a case
And sat by the shore, I listened:
Water as Noise
I wore the images, took them off
I re-sized them, tailored and trimmed them.
I spread them out over the valley and watched them fill every quiet cranny.
They didn’t fit.
Body. Mountain. Waves of flesh. Wings. Haze. My roots are heavy. Primordial now.
I needed to re-sew them so:
Frogs as time tanks
Fish as silicon boatmen
Bones as water thread
Body as horizon, horizon as body
Time as tree fingers
Water as time machine.
But when expectation shifts its gaze
It faces the perils of non-truths
And falls into the rhythm of a certain non-history.
Time stands still.
Much like Alice’s rabbit hole
Much like Eve’s forbidden fruit
We enter, we eat, or we ignore
A curiosity of what comes next
An openness to what came before.
The now is dissolving fast underfoot
Droplet by droplet.
I don my primordial gown
To hunt the now
To chase the rabbit
And catch something I have yet to understand.
I ran to the shore, seaweed green.
“Let droplets form and re-form”
Cried the mountain, guiding the water bodies.
“How do you measure it at all?”
I didn’t know
All I knew was how the breeze smelled of salt
And how my hands were pillowed secrets I could cup around it all
Never holding it in but only touching each tiny molecule for a moment.
I knew the shoreline
Like dad’s hairline
Shifted and swayed
It collected our intentions and swept them away.
I knew that wavering watery lines connected all I could see:
The cockroach boats
I knew the layers: silt, salt, and silicon
All settled among the layers of my body too.
I will keep these images and use them to listen
As long as there is silence and as there is noise.
I will keep running fast until I find the space I take up
Or some other useful notion
So I can ask why time doesn’t stand still anymore.
The LCAG Blog keeps the conversation going with various guest writers on current topics withing the local and global art discourse.