Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Four Corners

Four Corners

The Back Room Show for August (2008) features four artists in at least as many different media. They have not exactly each claimed a corner, but each artist has definitely staked out her own territory. The beauty of the world, the "richness of our surroundings" inspires each artist.

Lona Munck's gentle watercolour, oil, and acrylic landscapes set a serene mood in the natural world. The delicate touch and calm muted colours are very appealing. The local, upper Fraser Valley, Agassiz/Harrison Lake scenes, including varied landscapes such as alpine, waterfalls, forest, glacier, river, fireweed, help celebrate the local. "My goal is to share with you, my joy in color, line, form, shape, and design." she says on her website www.freewebs.con/lonasviews

Diane MacKenzie's paintings are, for the most part, larger, which helps them capture viewer attention in an eclectic collection. The feature pastoral of contented dairy cows under a shady tree carries on the celebration of the local. A photograph from the 1950's of two "rebels without a cause", complete with cigarettes, undershirts, blue jeans, and old car, almost presents a lesson in creating art from life. The artist has transformed the photograph into a graphite wash sketch and into an enlarged sepia-toned watercolour, both very effective. Other subjects lean more towards farmyard and garden. Her roses are so convincing you feel as if you can smell them.

Anna Johnstad-Moller's photographs offer another way of looking. Two large iconic images, one of a Swedish thatch-roofed house, another of a white-painted church, emphasize how important is choice of subject to a photographer's goals. And an interesting collection of beach shots, from fly fisherman to close-ups of kelp and bubbles of vegetation, reminds us of how the camera both directs us and helps us to see. AJ-M also displays pine needle baskets and woven sage incense, and some beautiful postcards of her photographs.

Finally, Diane Ferguson's raku is breath-taking. Occupying the corner opposite the entrance, it sucks you right in, down on your knees, to look. Too slow, when I went back to photograph the large Chihuly-inspired bowls, they were already gone. One was dark with royal blue interior; the second was the iridescent copper I associate more with raku. Together they forced the viewer into a dilemma--how can one possibly choose one over the other? The large swimming fish sculptures are also very appealing, colourful, humourous, oozing character, personality. My flash only helped heighten the subtlety of colour and texture.

Any one of these artists could shoulder a show of her own. Together, they offer an almost over-whelming potpourri of beautiful creations which inhabit the Back Room at the Hope Arts Gallery in Hope, BC until August 29, 2008.

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