ART: SUP­PORT­ING FRESH TAL­ENT AND NEW AES­THETIC FORMS

Your Guide to Whistler’s Gal­leries

Whistler Traveller Magazine - - CONTENT - STORY BY RE­BECCA WOOD BAR­RETT

Find­ing fresh artis­tic tal­ent takes a leap of faith. There is no proven for­mula for rec­og­niz­ing a fu­ture star, and Whistler gallery own­ers and di­rec­tors rely on faith to take on new artists, and so much more. “Dis­cov­er­ing” tal­ent takes re­search, time, and con­sid­er­able sup­port to in­cu­bate up-and­com­ing artists.

For Wendy Wacko, owner of Moun­tain Gal­leries, sup­port­ing emerg­ing artists is the gallery’s mis­sion. “Young cre­ative peo­ple need a lot of sup­port,” Wacko says. “They need to know that what they’re do­ing is wor­thy and it’s right. How do you know when you’re a good painter, you’re a good sculp­tor, un­less some­one with a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence backs you and stands up for you?”

Char­lie Eas­ton is one of the gallery’s most suc­cess­ful land­scape artists. “Rock­ies Caul­dron” is a per­fect ex­am­ple of his joy­ful use of colour and ag­gres­sive rhyth­mic brush­strokes, two el­e­ments of his paint­ing style that first caught Wacko’s at­ten­tion. Since the beginning of their part­ner­ship, the gallery has been a cham­pion of Eas­ton, with part of the fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance com­ing in the form of an artist-in-res­i­dence pro­gram and a he­li­copter ex­pe­di­tion into the Al­berta wilder­ness where he could paint.

For some artists, artis­tic and emo­tional sup­port is as im­por­tant as fi­nan­cial. Cor­rinne Wol­coski first dis­played her work at Moun­tain Gal­leries five years ago, and at the time she didn’t have a lot of con­fi­dence. “She was in­cred­i­bly de­voted, clearly am­bi­tious, but she needed the sup­port of a strong team,” ex­plains Wacko. “I men­tored her in the early days and she’s re­ally taken off now and is find­ing her own voice.” The ap­peal of Wol­coski’s work is its ethe­real mood­i­ness and Zen-like qual­i­ties, as re­vealed in her paint­ing “Un­til I See You Again.”

“Rec­og­niz­ing a fu­ture suc­cess does not come with a clear recipe,” says Jea­nine Messeguer, direc­tor of the Whistler Con­tem­po­rary Gallery. Tal­ent takes time to nur­ture, and it’s usu­ally a very slow process, which means most artists — and gal­leries — must have en­durance, and faith.

Desirée Pat­ter­son is a Cana­dian pho­to­graphic artist who re­cently joined the gallery. “I was im­pressed with her work, but it was backed with Desirée show­ing com­mit­ment to her ca­reer as an artist as well,” Messeguer says. “She trav­els to art fairs all over North Amer­ica ex­hibit­ing her work. On those trips she’s also ex­posed to art from all over the world which is es­sen­tial for a young artist.” Pat­ter­son’s art­work is com­po­si­tional, and she cap­tures dig­i­tal images through pho­tog­ra­phy, which she ma­nip­u­lates, as shown in “En­rac­iné iii.” Her art­works il­lu­mi­nate the con­trast be­tween rugged, nat­u­ral land­scapes and ur­ban en­vi­ron­ments im­pacted by hu­man con­sump­tion and con­struc­tion.

Messeguer says her team never stops look­ing for new artists. “Art fairs are a great way to find new work, al­though they can be daunt­ing with thou­sands of artists be­ing rep­re­sented. We re­cently picked up an artist we loved at the Palm Springs Art Fair.” Painter Pat McNabb Martin es­chews the lim­its of artist brushes, and also uses knives, paint sticks, squeegees and uten­sils to cre­ate tex­tu­ral paint­ings with 3-D qual­i­ties like “Break­ing Waves II.”

The com­pe­ti­tion for artists to se­cure ex­hi­bi­tion space in fine art gal­leries is ex­tra­or­di­nary. Liz Har­ris, owner and direc­tor of Adele Campbell Fine Art Gallery, re­ceives more than 200 artist sub­mis­sions a year, in ad­di­tion to her own search­ing at art fairs, and on­line. “I of­ten short­list in May and in the fall and de­pend­ing on a niche I may need filled, or tim­ing or just a gut feel­ing in some cases, I will bring on a new artist, but maybe that will be only one artist, or two artists a year,” says Har­ris.

Her new­est artist, Kerry Lan­glois, paints in acrylic, but uses a high gloss resin fin­ish, shown in her min­i­mal­is­tic land­scape “Whis­per Be­fore the Waves.” Lan­glois’s ca­reer path was some­what un­usual as she pur­sued an arts ed­u­ca­tion, but also learned the busi­ness side by work­ing in a gallery be­fore quit­ting her day job to be­come a full­time artist.

Artist Jen­nifer Spara­cino made her de­but at Adele Campbell and has be­come one of its most suc­cess­ful artists in the past five years. “I adored her work the mo­ment I saw it, and said let’s give this a shot,” Har­ris says. Spara­cino is a wildlife painter who uses acrylics and has a fresh take on her sub­jects, as de­picted in “North­ern Gi­ant,” by us­ing vi­brant colours and strong graphic blocks, pat­terns and tex­tures.

Al­though Mark Richards is a wellestab­lished artist and the owner of the Mark Richards Gallery in Whistler since 2006, he is con­stantly evolv­ing his tech­ni­cal and artis­tic process. “I’m al­ways look­ing for new ma­te­ri­als, the lat­est and great­est art can­vas, ink, var­nish — those have all been up­graded in the past few years.” Richards em­ploys his own artis­tic process called photo-sten­cil­ing, in which he trans­forms his dig­i­tal pho­tog­ra­phy us­ing elec­tronic pens on a tablet to give them a rich, painterly qual­ity. “Red Maple” is an art­work that uses im­proved ma­te­ri­als, and Richards ex­plains the dif­fer­ence: “The can­vas gives you more bright­ness, the inks give you more colour, and the var­nish gives you more depth, and rich­ness.”

While the tech­ni­cal con­sid­er­a­tions are al­ways an im­por­tant part of his prac­tice, Richards re­veals that the real essence of his process is to dis­cover new lo­ca­tions and sub­ject mat­ter. One of his most re­cent pieces is “Snow Ghosts,” pho­tographed near the peak of Whistler Moun­tain.

He adds, “Some­times you re­al­ize you don’t have to go far at all. You just have to re­visit, look at what you’re fa­mil­iar with in a new an­gle, and then you see new things than what you’re al­ready fa­mil­iar with. And some­times it’s just a mat­ter of tak­ing the time to see it. And some­times my­self as an artist, I don’t see it un­til I have the ma­tu­rity and ex­pe­ri­ence to see it.”

Rock­ies Caul­dron - Char­lie Eas­ton - Moun­tain Gal­leries

Un­til I See You Again - Cor­rinne Wol­coski - Moun­tain Gal­leries

Snow Ghosts - Mark Richards - Mark Richards Gallery

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