New artistic venture in Ancaster
Fresh from the Studio offers a cornucopia of work by local artists
THE BURBS are striking back.
Arthur Greenblatt, charismatic ex-DVSA director, put together a Fine Arts Committee to oversee an exhibition of local artists for Ancaster’s Fieldcote Museum.
“We decided to do a juried show out in the burbs, not on James North,” Greenblatt said defiantly.
The call went out before Christmas. Greenblatt says more than 100 pieces were submitted and the committee chose 45 for Fresh from the Studio, a new venture.
The exhibition comprises mostly paintings and photographs with some sculpture, textile and stained glass work. The artists, some well established, others emerging, tackle a great variety of subjects including landscapes, still-lifes, portraits and abstracts.
A big landscape filled with radiant colour by Marike Scholtens is one of several examples of the genre.
In “Pathway to the Top,” a winding path takes over the whole of the foreground and makes it easy for us to enter the painting. Yet a row of trees, some bare, others in leaf, stop us from barging into the rest of the scene.
Scholtens paints in a loosely lifelike style, using the strokes of the brush to suggest shapes rather than picking out individual details.
Michelle Teitsma’s “Grapes,” a dramatic oil executed in a lifelike style, establishes a close and inti- mate relationship with the viewer. A pair of over-lifesize hands emerges from the darkness holding out bunches of red and green grapes and fills the pictorial space.
Irene Klymenko’s “The Tea Party” tempts the eye with a less healthy yet tasty feast painted in sunny tones. Slices of lemon meringue pie await in the foreground, tea and cupcakes in the back. Klymenko tilts the table so that we won’t miss all the goodies.
“Contemplation,” a dynamic abstract by Richard Zazulak, is filled with sharp-edged geometric shapes and lines running in many directions, creating a strong sense of movement. The restricted palette of black, white, grey, yellow, blue, red and green adds to the composition’s clarity.
Pamela Lakin takes a quieter approach in “Thoughtful,” a striking portrait, a genre Lakin is excel- ling at. She’s placed her sitter, a bearded man, in an interior. Slightly hunched over, hands clasped and forehead with a slight frown, he looks lost in thought, unable to return our gaze.
A portrait of “Frida Kahlo” by Margaret Pottinger looks at first to be almost too familiar in a ho-hum sort of way. But up close, it turns out to be a wonderful interpretation in fabric of one of the Mexican artist’s self-portraits.
Pottinger layers and appliqués plain and patterned fabrics, securing them with hand embroidery and machine stitching. And a final inspired touch: she’s given Frida a real earring.
There’s one problem with the show. While some works are undoubtedly fresh from the studio, others have been round the block a few times.
But, yes, I know how hard it is to strike the right tone with an exhibition title, having wrestled with this myself as a curator.
Regina Haggo will be giving a talk, Picasso’s Brush, an introduction to an artistic genius best known not for subtlety, but for shock and sex. It takes place at the Carnegie Gallery, 10 King St. W., Dundas, on Wednesday, Feb. 15, starting at 7 p.m. For information and tickets, contact the gallery at 905-627-4265.
Marike Scholtens, Pathway to the Top, acrylic on canvas.
Michelle Teitsma, Grapes, oil on canvas.
Pamela Lakin, Thoughtful, oil on canvas.
Richard Zazulak, Contemplation, acrylic on canvas.