Tuesday, May 6, 2008

East to West Travels

East to West Travels: a Review

An abundance of Lora Armbruster paintings in oil and acrylics fill the Back Room at the Hope Arts Gallery. From miniatures a few centimetres in dimension to almost picture-window size (with a price range to match, from $20-something to $1200), these scenes express a passion for travel and a love of Canadian landscape. They move from Annapolis to Niagara Falls, through abandoned prairie homesteads, Alberta Hoo Doos, to fallen rainforest totems and west coast lighthouses, interspersed with scenes at a beach, boat rentals on a lake, a lazy morning river, and colourful flora and fauna--hydrangeas, larkspur, tomatoes, red peony, cow parsnip, orchid, mixed bouquets, a magnificent owl, hens, a herd of powerful buffalo, and watchful antelope alert amongst the hay bales.

Armbruster identifies one of her goals as "using harmonious colour to communicate something to the viewer--feelings, memories, and more." Some of the paintings go beyond representations of nature's beauty, becoming wise commentaries upon the passage of time, the importance of memory and nostalgia. In 'All in Passing" a grandfather and grandson watch an old train slide by a row of elevators. An abandoned house almost disappears into a magnificent sunset in the same way that fallen totems sink into the "Land of Spirits".

At the well-attended opening May 4, Lora was introduced as: "She came to BC for the Commonwealth Games in 1954 and never went home." Audience reactions, ranging from envy to inspiration, is best summarized in another' painter's succinct comment: "Wow!"

East to West Travels stop in the Back Room at the Hope Arts Gallery, Hope, BC, from May 1 to May 28, 2008.