There are 52 artworks on the floor of the WAG, propped up against the wall all around the room, tentatively paired with others, waiting for their ultimate spot in the exhibition. They will be moved several times—depending on their colour and size—to create a pleasing arrangement, salon style. There are still lifes, landscapes, seascapes, abstractions and a couple of portraits, in media that range from acrylic and oil to watercolour and collage. Thirteen artists have contributed work to the exhibition, and four are currently moving about, rearranging, hammering, discussing placement.
“What do you think of this?” says Ingrid Schmidt as she balances two small autumn landscapes beside a large painting in stark swatches of brown and tan and white. A resident of Gananoque, Ingrid’s contributions include a large spring scene entitled Birch Trees. Backed by a row of muted trunks, a single birch fills the foreground with vivid greens and gold. “I used the birch in my garden as reference,” she explains. Her watercolour portrait of a young man uses a more subtle technique--washes of blue, purple and gold to create an arresting image of confident youth.
Sheila Goertzen chose a historical theme for one of the paintings she contributed to this exhibition. Her detailed acrylic in tones of brown, called 1930s Train in Brockville Tunnel, is based on a sepia photograph and commemorates the opening of the tunnel as part of Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations last year in Sheila’s home town.
Betty Matthews, from Gananoque, is working with Barb Carr to find just the right colour balance on the gallery’s south wall. Betty works in different styles, striving to achieve “something interesting”. The Jazz Trio, a bold, colourful acrylic collage, offers a sharp contrast to her watercolour entitled Foggy Sunday Morning. For this piece, Betty used Yupo paper, a plastic support that presents particular challenges for watercolour in that it has no tooth. On the plus side, because of its smoothness and non-porous nature, it can easily be washed off and revert to a blank sheet. Before it can be used, however, it must be cleaned with alcohol to remove any oil from handling, which prevents paint from adhering.
Kingston’s Barb Carr has contributed two large square collages from her series entitled Paintbox Colours. Titanium Buff is comprised of 324 small evenly spaced squares of textured buff-coloured paper, some themselves containing tiny squares in different colours arranged in different patterns: squares within squares. The overall effect is of a monotone mosaic, but a close-up inspection reveals a rich surface hiding a few random tiny images of flowers and butterflies cut from magazines, tiny strips of typed words, and coloured filaments embedded in some of the buff paper squares.
Belia Brandow, a resident of Lyn, northwest of Brockville, has dropped off several paintings in oil and acrylic. Her still lifes were set up in her studio where she has control of arrangements and lighting. Inspired by the rich colours of the Old Masters and Mary Pratt’s adept rendering of reflective material, Belia has used complementary colours to create two vibrant paintings of fruit: Pears on Foil and Turquoise and Orange Reflections, in which three oranges lie on a cobalt blue glass plate.
The Thousand Islands Fine Art Association Exhibition and Sale continues until April 1 with an opening reception on Saturday, March 10, 2-4pm.
Beyond Classrooms a Resounding Success
The WAG and KSOA moved into high gear last week as 23 Grade ¾ students from Mother Teresa Catholic School and their teacher, Andrea Fraser, spent five days with KSOA instructors and volunteers outside the classroom and in the studios and gallery. The overriding question during the week was “How do we feel when we create and view art?” Inspired by a pop-up exhibition in the WAG comprising 26 paintings, prints, photographs and sculptures by ten local artists, the students daily filled sketchbooks and journals to express their burgeoning artistic talents and their personal reactions to the world of art surrounding them.
When not in the gallery, they took part in studio activities: watercolour using different techniques, monoprinting, creating prints by etching on Styrofoam, clay modelling and assemblage. An especially popular activity was working the printing press!
As the week neared its end, the young artists were back in the gallery mounting an exhibition of their work, which they entitled Beyond Limits. While parents and a Grade 5/6 class from their school attended the “opening” on Friday morning, the students acted as docents, a fitting way to use their new art vocabulary and bring their experience to a close.