The Artcraft Showcase Gallery
Each year the Artcraft showcase gallery curates four high quality exhibitions on the stage at Mahon hall. These can be individual shows or collaborations between artists, can be in any medium and encompass any genre from fine craft to conceptual art. The aim is to produce a summer series of public gallery quality exhibitions, allowing local artists the space and audience to showcase their work and stretch themselves in new directions.
2017 Showcase series
The line up for summer 2017 has been announced and more details will follow. The showcase artists will be:
Melanie Thompson and Judith Barnett.
June 9th to July 5th
“Mrs. Williams: Homage to a Homemaker”
Friday June 9th sees the opening of Artcraft for its 49th season, and with it comes the first Showcase of the summer.
“Mrs Williams: Homage to a Homemaker” is the work of Melanie Thompson and Judith Barnett and has been in progress for the last two years. The idea came from an old wooden recipe box given to Barnett by her elderly neighbor, Mrs Williams. Inside the box was a collection of recipes, beautifully scripted in pen and ink, which, for Thompson and Barnett, symbolised the work of a lifetime homemaker. The box engendered memories of her own childhood for Thompson; her mother having a similar recipe box and being a homemaker, spending hours of each day in the kitchen, cooking, sewing, repairing, and being resourceful.
Thompson and Barnett have always appreciated and practiced these arts themselves, and believe that “women’s work” is to be celebrated and appreciated as the backbone of society.
To bring this to life they are creating a truly unique version of a kitchen from the 1950’s: Dresses, aprons, mixing bowls and handmade books, vie for space with washing lines, an ironing board, shelving units and furniture, with repurposed materials being used throughout. Collage and painting line the walls referencing the world, skill, creativity, determination and resourcefulness of women at their work.
Acknowledging that the homemaker arts are now as important as ever, and that “ a woman’s work is never done” they have incorporated contemporary and unconventional materials in their creations, adding surprise and innovation to the feel of the installation.
An interactive aspect of the show will be a recipe box, like that of Mrs Williams, with cards on which visitors may write down their own recipes and memories of the period.
Thompson and Barnett primarily want to celebrate and focus the visitor’s attention on the arts and crafts of the woman as homemaker. These arts are by no means less skillful for being practical and “Mrs Williams: Homage to a Homemaker” shows us how art can be an inspiration and driver for society. They have created an evocative and surprising environment using the skills and creativity of the homemaker to inform and delight the visitor.
As Canada celebrates 150 years, Thompson and Barnett’s work celebrates the role of women in making the homes that make the country.
“Mrs Williams: Homage to a Homemaker” runs from June 9th to July 5th at Mahon Hall, and is sponsored by the Salt Spring Arts council and Windsor Plywood. There will be an opening celebration 6-8 pm Friday June 9th and a talk with the artists on Sunday June 18th @2pm
Artist talk June 18-2pm.
“A Celebration of Everyday Things”
July 7th to August 2nd
A new series of paintings by Nicola Wheston takes the stage at Artcraft for the second Showcase of the summer, opening on July 7th.
Wheston is well known in the Salt Spring art world having had many solo shows on Island and indeed across Canada, Mexico and the UK. Whilst well known for her figurative and landscape paintings, and being trained in a classical style, her work always seems contemporary and often surprising.
In “A Celebration of Everyday Things” Wheston returns to her fascination with composition and the relationships of shapes to each other in any given space. Here she explores this fascination deeper by adopting and adapting a quilting technique “The spinning four patch pattern technique” which involves the use of a pattern which when spun sequentially can present a completely different, but successful view of the overall image. By using this technique Wheston feels the results become more interactive and puzzling to viewers, taking them in a different direction from most painting, but still maintaining the qualities and appreciation of paintings.
Many of the objects in the series are renditions of her own household plethora of things. Wheston has an appreciation for well-crafted tools and implements, and how they can often be used to enhance their owner’s lives for decades. There can be something so personal and vital about such frequently used implements, and yet she is also aware of the unnecessary numbers of things we can accumulate in the quest to improve our lives.
The exhibition is made up of a number of paintings for the walls, with one large work floor mounted. Bright, colourful, busy and whimsical, they demand attention and invariably bring a smile to the viewers’ eyes. They have a sense of play about them that ask the viewer to interact. This urge is satisfied by her inclusion of small scale replicas in the form of magnets and coasters that can be played with, and the “four patch” system explored.
“A Celebration of Everyday Things” runs at Mahon hall from Friday July 7th until August 2nd with an opening event from 6-8pm on July 7th. There will be an artist talk on Sunday July 23rd at 2pm. The exhibition is sponsored by Li Read and the Salt spring Arts Council.
Artist talk July 23-2pm
“Homage to Mu ch’i”
August 4th to August 23rd
Long fascinated by Chinese and Japanese calligraphic painting, Michael Wall became captivated by one painting in particular: “Six Persimmons” by 13th century Chinese monk, Mu Ch’i. Wall’s Homage takes the form of a series of photographs and some watercolour and graphite pieces, exploring his fascination and obsession with “Six Persimmons”, and trying to recreate the sense of meditation before and during the artistic process. The works in the showcase will encompass large to small , to create a contemplative environment on the stage.
Artist talk August 13-2pm
The Stillness of life
August 25th to September 17th
Exploring the dichotomies between the speed of our lives and the stillness of the mundane.
Using iconic still life images of oversized botanicals, this series of works attempts to examine the deep-seated rift between the speed of our lives, and the stillness of nature as seen in still life illustrations. Plants drawn in detail, and on a grand scale, are used to challenge and ask the viewer to consider how the speed of our lives compares or contrasts to the stillness of nature as depicted in these images. The two, seem diametrically opposed. One, our lives, seem filled all the time and non-stop. The speed in which visual, auditory and sensory information comes to us seems to fill our days, rarely allowing us to just be still. On the other hand, these simple plants, represents what we are missing and what many of us have lost. Like these plants, our ability to slow down, breathe the air, absorb the sun on our fleshy skin, nourish our bodies, and be in this moment is the base to our existence, health and growth. Stillness seems to be fleeting for us, or even unattainable, yet there it is before us. Through this series of images, I hope to bring to the viewer, an opportunity to dialogue on who we are within this world, take opportunities to slow down, live this moment, see the world from a different perspective and take the time to be still.
Application forms and information documents for Showcases 2017
Applications are now closed for 2017. Applications are taken between the beginning of September and the end of October each year.
Summer 2016 Showcases at Artcraft
Peter Schnitzler. “Moving Parts”
An intense series of oil paintings chronicling the fragmentation of form. Abstract, physical and cerebral.
Opening 6pm on June 10th and running until July 6th. Artist talk: Sunday June 19th, 2pm.
The artcraft showcase gallery presents the first showcase of the 2016 season: “Moving Parts” the paintings of Peter Schnitzler.
Running from June 10th until July 6th on the stage at Mahon hall in Ganges there will be an opening celebration from 6-8pm on Friday June 10th.
Peter Schnitzler is a documentary filmmaker of great repute with over 200 completed films, often on social justice and psychological issues. He has been influenced by the jazz era, the colourfield paintings of abstract expressionism, cinema verite and by his grandfather, Austrian novelist and playwright, Arthur Schnitzler. This heady artistic melange has lead him in the last ten years or so to express himself in painting, the fruits of which make up the “Moving Parts” exhibition.
The paintings, oil on canvas, appear as semi-autobiographical, studies and emotional expressions on the mechanics of life; from well oiled machines, to fragmented, disjointed, less functional remnants of the power and symmetry of former selves. There is a real sense of time and movement that flows from canvas to canvas, charting the ups and downs of life, and the universe, and then culminating gloriously in utter rage. As the progression continues the methods of applying paint change, from precise geometric representations to explosive, angry dollops and swirls of thick, oil paint. Each work is abstract but clearly a part, a cog, in the overall journey; needing to be seen collectively and then explored individually. On leaving the exhibition the viewer is somewhat drained, as if having just alighted from a particularly fast cerebral rollercoaster.
Accompanying the paintings is a collection of autobiographical thoughts, and snippets of memoir, which offer the reader a look into the artist’s past, and the chance to understand some of the emotions expressed on canvas.
This text will form the essence of an artist talk on the stage at Mahon hall on June 19th at 2pm, when there will also be the chance to ask the artist a question or two.
“Moving Parts” is sponsored by Li Read and the Salt Spring arts council.
Sponsored by Li Read.
Anna Gustafson. “Object Lessons”
Opening July 8th 6-8pm. Runs until July 28th.
An installation posing the question “while pursuing our lifestyle, are we destroying our home?”
Summer 2016 is a busy season for Anna Gustafson. “Object lessons” is her third show of the still young summer but will be the largest and most complex of the three to date.
Inspired by a growing sense of horror at the wanton destruction of the environment to feed an insatiable and unnecessary demand for products, she, in turn exposes and covers up animals and objects, imploring the viewer to consider the consequences of their appetites.
Italian artist Federico Busonero responded to the exhibition with these words:
“Object Lessons suggests a new spatial and temporal dimension where our assumptions no longer suffice. These objects are familiar yet unknown, and with the elegant and yet disturbing X-rays of rescued wildlife, they remind us that the visible is only the surface we must cross.
It is necessary to listen to the world around us.”
The stage walls of Artcraft at Mahon hall host groupings of small and larger boards, forming a base for X-ray images of rescued animals encased in beeswax. Dark and sombre, the viewer ponders the plight and fragility of these animals, exposed on the walls just as their habitats have been stripped away and adulterated by mud top removal, ocean plastics, oil production and the myriad actions of human beings that have led to the need for rescue. Gustafson is donating money from sales to purchase esophageal stethoscopes for animal rescue centres.
Arranged on the stage floor will be a plethora of domestic appliances, tools and supposedly useful objects, all strangely attractive, wrapped in individual, hand stitched linen shrouds. The outline of each object is clearly identifiable, as is their intended purpose, however each one is entirely useless. Gustafson talks about sourcing these objects from thrift stores, where many of them had sat for years in their original packaging, often unused, unwanted, unnecessary. Dust gathering testaments to the profligacy and carelessness of current and recent generations.
There are visual and emotional contrasts: the dark of the X rays, the pale linen shrouds. The fear and concern for the subject rescued animals, and the homely, familiar forms of the household objects; causing the viewer to question their perception of what is right, what is wrong…
Gustafson is well known for presenting challenging subjects in her unique and visually stimulating installations. Always precise, she takes the visitor to new environments which on first viewing may seem harmonious, but then on exploration reveal layers of nuance and uncertainty. In “Object Lessons” she achieves this to very great effect.
“Object lessons” runs on the stage at Artcraft; Mahon hall, Friday July 8th to July 28th. There will be an opening night celebration from 6-8pm on Friday July 8th, and an artist talk on Sunday July 17th at 2pm.
Sponsored by Henri Procter.
Chintan Bolliger and Donna Cochran.
LIFE . FORMS
Within Chintan Bolliger’s current series, Life. Forms, the human figure is gone. Deciding she no longer wished to be tethered to the figure, which functioned as way to establish forms within her paintings, she has relinquished the face-less enigmatic bodies in her new work.
Bolliger now takes her cues from Nature. During walks, she pays attention to environmental, geological and biological formations. Her interaction with nature leads to multiple perspectives in her work: unfamiliar entities, ambient terrains, primordial details and microscopic views that create a sense of dislocation, drawing us to a physical, nameless, placeless place.
”I am attached to the idea of something indefinable; a contact of reality/perception/imagination.”
In ‘Streaming’ we are able to see the banks of a bog-like terrain-“an ecosystem”- with its mossy kelp-like structures of teal, green and coral reds situated along grey tributaries. ‘Earth Born’ shows a primordial, inchoate orb suspended in space – a new planetary-like organism starting from a cosmic happenstance. “This new series is a consideration of my relationship to the natural world and what it means to be alive. Awareness lies somewhere on the boundary between the landscape we walk through daily and the alternative environment of the imagination.”
Bolliger’s work alludes to nature but serves to displace.
Surfaces of Bollinger’s paintings are built up, flattened and smoothed out. “Using an acrylic medium”, she explains, “I build up the structure of the painting, layer by layer, moving paints across the surface. Further applications of colour and glazes finally bring the painting to the place I’ve been looking for.”
Pink is a new addition to Bolliger’s restrained pallet. In ‘Very Early’, finger-like tree trunks are rendered in varying hues of pink that distort into abstraction, either reflecting in water or are viewed below the root-structure. ‘Deep Discovery’ shows a blush-tinted botanical figuration alone in an esoteric locale.
Bolliger’s imagined worlds could be pre or post human. In Life. Forms, humans are not present and we are brought to awareness, through this work, that we are not the only living entities of significance and consideration in the cosmos.
Bringing another dimension to Life. Forms is Donna Cochrane ’s basketry. Responding and relating to formations within Chintan Bolliger work, Cochrane has created orb-like shapes, using natural materials in varying sizes.This combination of physical and imagined realms by both artists conveys an alternative natural order.
Life. Forms opens July 29th -August 24th
Opening Reception Friday 6-8pm
Artist talk Sunday 7th August, 2pm.
Artcraft’s Showcase Gallery
Mahon Hall 114 Rainbow Rd SSI BC
Sponsored by Windsor Plywood
“The Whitemud: Uncovering a landscape”
The Whitemud (also known as “The Frenchman”) is a river valley, close to Eastend in the very southwest corner of Saskatchewan, tucked between the Grasslands and the Cypress Hills. It is a physically and historically emotional landscape. A place where artist Leslie Corry’s grandparents settled and had a ranch; the place where her father grew up living an idyllic childhood, and a place that Corry has only recently begun to get to know and understand through family reunions and trips to scatter her aunt’s, and, then, her father’s ashes.
A landscape of strata, emotional, familial, cultural and geological with layers of history from dinosaur skeletons (which sit on the layer of white clay found in the geological strata), to the remnants of “teepee” circles and to what remains of the lives of early settlers like Corry’s grandparents.
Through the years Corry’s work has often had a focus on loss and grief and “The Whitemud”” is no exception as she explores and grieves for passed on relatives, the cruelness and insanity of the Bison slaughters, the forced removal of the native peoples from their land, and the passing of a more simple way of life. To this end the bison, or buffalo, features strongly, appearing in prints and in paintings as well as cut out forms superimposed on the landscape. These shadowy silhouettes appear as if ghosts, reminders of when the grasslands shook to the power of the herds and before the non-aboriginal settlers chose to change the dynamic, forever, with their disdain for the importance and mortality of the natural world.
Corry’s task in her exhibition at Mahon hall is to bring this unique landscape to life for those who have never been there, whilst imbuing the paintings, prints, sculpture and installations with layers of her own emotions and the cultural changes and devestations that have coloured her thinking on the area. She does so by using and accumulating a huge variety of objects: bone, paint, fossils, clay, wood and more; all are used to give the hills, sky, wildlife, characters, history and sorrow of this corner of Saskatchewan a meaning for the viewer.
It is an immensely powerful collection and representation. Corry first started this work with an artist talk at the Point Gallery 3 years ago and it is still in development, as Corry discovers ever more layers to her emotions and thoughts on the many elements of “The Whitemud”, and what they mean to her.
It is rare to have the chance to explore an artist’s explorations so viscerally, and to come away informed and excited, but not directed. A true landscape of discovery for both artist and viewer.
“The Whitemud: Uncovering a landscape” opens on August 26th, with an opening reception from 6-8 pm on that evening. Corry will give an artist talk on Sunday 11th September at 2pm. Thrifty Foods are the main sponsors.
2015 ArtCraft Showcases:
Sharon Simmonds Chia-Small studies with Ceramic pieces by Kasumi Lampitoc. August 21 to September 20.
“Interlude” still life paintings by Sharon Simonds Chia, with new ceramics by Kasumi Lampitoc.
Artcraft’s final Showcase of the summer will run from Friday 21st August to the closing of Artcraft on Sunday September 20th.
“Interlude” is based around the delicate still life groupings of Sharon Simonds Chia. She sees her paintings as “intimate, contemplative compositions of natural and man made objects in a formal arrangement.” There is a great balance to her paintings as well as a sense of thoughtfulness that combine to give the viewer a feeling of peace, and the belief that everything is “just so“ and well with the world.
This can be partly explained by Chia’s long time immersion in the culture of the “Far East”, through spending years living in Hong Kong and her marriage to her late husband Fu-Shiang Chia. Her sense of composition has clear roots in the asymmetry and interpretation of nature found in Oriental scroll paintings, creating a balance enhanced by a slow and thoughtful process of choosing and placing natural and man made objects in her arrangements. Chia chooses to use an overhead perspective in her paintings, which allows the exploration of shallow space, shadow and reflection. It is an unusual perspective but somehow works to accentuate the balance and sense of rightness in her compositions.
Her paintings are complimented by the fine ceramic work of Kasumi Lampitoc. Exquisitely crafted with great sensibility, one gets similar feelings of order and peace, to looking at Chia’s paintings, and that each piece is perfectly balanced and has been created with great attention and thought. Lampitoc’s pieces are collected in small groupings, echoing Chia’s still life compositions on the walls.
Together they create a very balanced and peaceful exhibition that should be enjoyed slowly and contemplatively.
“Interlude” runs from August 21st to September 20th at Mahon hall, with an opening night reception from 6-8pm on Friday 21st August.
Thrifty Foods and The Salt Spring Arts Council are the sponsors.
Found, the 3rd of ArtCrafts Showcase Gallery features the work of two artists, Rolando Lampitoc and Nathalie Carles.
Lampitock, a former graphic artist, who lives on Galiano Island, works full time as a visual artist and painter. His current work is influenced by reels of old negatives kept by his father. “My father was a portrait artist and had amassed a vast negative collection for a reference to his work. I knew long time ago that these negatives existed but, while my father was alive, I was never allowed to view or touch them even during his twilight years. I purposely looked for the negatives days after his passing.”
Lampitoc uses his father’s photographs of women as content for his paintings. Some of the faces he recognized as relatives, others are of complete strangers. Loose brush strokes create movement, bringing a liveliness to his subjects. Because of this technique, they appear more active rather than still, inanimate portraits. “It was actually hard for me to arrive at this style. It was more of a mental obstacle rather than a technical issue. My research of “letting go” is more of an inner search than just the practice of painting.”
Nathalie Carles necklaces are a mass of found objects: rhinestones, venetian glass beads, stars, hearts, stones and charms: Bits and pieces gleaned from others’ discarded trinkets and then newly strung together to form a new narrative “giving them a new life.” Carles, originally from Paris, would observe her mother, who, like herself, had penchant for using her hands whether sewing, knitting or quilting.
“One day, I wanted to make myself a necklace, I was still living in Paris at that time, I wore the necklace, someone asked me where I got it and that person bought it from me. I made another one for myself, wore it and sold it. I decided to make more and loved it. I get old or broken jewelry from garage sale, friends, thrift stores, where ever I can put my hands on broken things that were once beautiful.”
Found opens Friday, July 31st 6-8pm runs till August 19th.
Mahon Hall, 114 Rainbow Rd, SSI,BC.
Sponsored by Li Read of
Sea to Sky Premier Properties
Nicola Morgan – Wonderful, deep abstract paintings with layers of colour and motion: Accompanied by new wood furniture by Salt Spring woodworkers, Barry Chattell and Ian Cobane. June 12 to July 8. Opening night gala reception 6-8pm, June 12.
“HOAX” – Paintings. July 10 to July 29.
Coulrophobia is a non-scientific term for the fear of clowns. Culturally prevalent, whether as corporate mascot Ronald McDonald, or “mythologized trickster”, they have been depicted in art ,circus and opera for centuries. French literary critic Edmond de Congourt said in 1876 that “the clown’s art is now rather terrifying and full of anxiety and apprehension.”
Though the phobia is not solely the subject matter for artist and painter Mary Lottridge, an Emily Carr University and UBC graduate, she incorporates clown imagery to help her to understand the “falseness” and “forced cheeriness” she experienced during the illness of her late husband. “Clowns seemed to be a good stand in for the two-sidedness that I observed in my demeanour.”
Clowns ignite anxiety in many people. We are unable to discern who the person is under the make-up and what they are genuinely emoting behind the mask of a mischievous expression. As Lottridge explains, “They appear fun, but are mostly creepy and unsettling, and they function as a kind of visual avatar for my hypocritical behaviour”. During this period, she spent “an enormous amount of effort trying to appear normal.” Clown iconography speaks to the artifice and duality of her conduct during that difficult time.
On the surface, her work is “less-troubled” and comical, even though there is a tension within the clown dichotomy of menace and joker. Compelling and colourful, a precocious Pinocchio or a clownish monkey are placed in front of a frenetic pop-art setting. Backgrounds are a tumult of pattern and colour adding further disquiet to each piece, “illustrating the over-hyped and anxious mood.”
In one image, “What the Clown Saw”, Lottridge captures a clown, with a hint of a smile, caught in a moment of reflection or considering his own duality.
Hoax opens Friday, July 10th and runs till July 29th
Mahon Hall 114 Rainbow Rd. SSI,BC
Melanie Thompson and Judith Barnett bring “Mrs Williams: Homage to a Homemaker” to the Stage at Artcraft The exhibit runs from June 9th to July 5th at Mahon Hall, and is sponsored by Windsor Plywood. Artists Talk: Sunday, [...]
Encaustic paintings and metal sculpture exploring whaling and the viewer's response to whaling. Salvaged: Artifacts and Stories, is the final exhibition of Artcraft’s Showcase Gallery Summer season and is a collaboration between painter Rosalie Matchett-Short [...]
Seth Berkowitz A series of photographs following the island highway on Vancouver Island. Large, thought provoking, and intriguing studies of landscape and humanity. Seth Berkowitz used to drive up and down the old highway 19A,Vancouver’s [...]
Barbra Edwards and Fiona Duthie Sculptural felt clothing and objects and dramatic oil paintings explore form and the perspective of duality, with each artist's work echoing the other. There will be a fashion show on [...]
Carl Sean McMahon Opening: Friday 14 June 6pm–8pm Carl Sean McMahon presents visual representations of the four main geographical regions of British Columbia. The essence of each region is captured by an animal or bird [...]
Sophia Burke and Bob McKay Photographs, Videos, unfinished and finished wood. A study and installation on the process of fine woodturned objects. "There is beauty to be found in incompletion." As viewers, we are used [...]
Chintan Bolliger August 23 - September 15, 2013
Donna Cochran, Judy Goodman, Joanie Paterson August 2 - 22, 2013 Media: "Liberties' produce fine results" Elizabeth Nolan / Gulf Islands Driftwood Review August 7th, 2013 "Taking Liberties: Bending the Rules is the title behind [...]
Anna Gustafson July 12 - 31, 2013
Nick and Joyce Bantock Opening: Friday 15 June 6pm–8pm “Working side by side it is inevitable that we would develop shared visual sensibilities yet we remain individual—paint and paper dove tailing.”
Stefanie Denz and Laura Keil Opening: Friday 24 August 6pm–8pm Denz’ painting looks at underlying social structures: gender, sexuality and primitive drives. She incorporates found and contemporary architectural materials: reclaimed wood, sheet metal and wallpaper. [...]
Karl Stittgen and Margie Korrison Opening: Friday 3 August 6pm–8pm A renowned jewellery and interior designer, Stittgen finds a new voice in ceramics—stoneware vessels and sculptures individually formed by hand. Korrison's works are colourful gestural [...]
Gillean Proctor Opening: Friday 13 July 6pm–8pm Pillars of Strength is the first part of an ongoing series of photographs from London, Paris and Venice. Says Gillean, “I’m in awe of the scale, magnificence and [...]