Funky and Beautiful…garbage ?
The Olde Blacksmith Gallery hosted its’ last vernissage on Labour Day weekend and it was a surprise and joy to behold. I realize many of us do not visit art galleries very often. And due to that ironic twist of human nature, many of us fail to appreciate what we have at our own back door. Hence, there are probably many locals who do not visit the local galleries. This week you may wish to make an exception.
The artists on display this week are extraordinary. Perhaps this is my personal bias, as we all have our own distinct taste in art, but I enjoyed the art so much I never touched the hors d’oeuvres and almost forgot to interview the artists before they left.
The landscapes on dis-
play are by local artists Christa Kotiesen and Libbey Griffith. Some say that to see one landscape you have seen them all. It is an artist’s challenge to create a landscape that stands out amongst the multitude on display in every gallery we visit. Griffith and Kotiesen have accomplished this. Griffith paints in oils while Kotiesen’s work is in pastel. There were a few canvasses I found outstanding. Most are scenes of the local countryside. A small oil depicting snow covered evergreens, and another of a tractor in a field, were both beautiful. The lighting depicted in the paintings was so realistic it gave one a palpable feeling of being present in the scene.
The Art-of-Garbage, which is not its’ formal title but one which I have assigned it for lack of a more apt name, was nothing short of inspirational. If you dream of a home filled with ‘funky and fun’, then the artistic creations of Brigitte Mittelhammer and Lizbeth LaRoche are for you.
The two artists both explain that their art and technique has evolved over the years to the point where they now find pieces of garbage, or ‘disowned items’, and turn them into pieces of art. And before you envision mental images of rusted bed springs suspended with dirty twine from a splintered plank of barn board, let me dispel any notion of ‘ugly’ you may have conjured at the mention of this technique. In short, the artworks are each very beautiful, fanciful and sometimes even utilitarian. From lamps to statues, the pieces are all very original and colourful. The attention to detail is magnificent. Each time I looked more closely at a lamp I continued to find details I had missed previously. There is a lot of passion and fun in the pieces that transcend the creative process and manifest themselves in the actual items in front of you. They all appear to have been fun to create, and they seem to be able to communicate that joy when you look at them.
From a lamp with tea cups in place of candle holders, floor lamps cleverly disguised as women, whimsical statuettes and wooden paintings of a wonky looking wolf, the whole exhibition was exciting. None of it looked like discarded material, which was likely quite a feat in itself.
The two artists are friends and associates. They each create their own pieces, but work together in a shared studio. At times they dismantle objects, each using parts for their own creations. They both are emphatic that they really enjoy their creative process and the results. Brigitte spoke to me of a Japanese philosophy called Wabi-Sabi, which is the art of seeing beauty in imperfection. The final piece is not the primary goal of their artistic process. Their philosophy is more about enjoying each moment, expressing their creativity freely without thought of the end result, and enjoying the journey.
Fanciful statuette made from trash.