Never on a Monday

All photos posted on this blog are posted with the permission of the artists, and they hold the copyright. All rights reserved.

I was in Vancouver today looking after some business.  I finished earlier than I thought I would  so I took about an hour to look at current shows on Gallery Row just south of the Granville Street Bridge.

I parked just in front of the Diane Farris Gallery and when I got to the door, I was not permitted to enter. They were in the middle of changing shows. “We have a lot of glass around, you understand, and we are concerned about breakage,” said the nice young man who was contributing to the installation. I handed him my calling card and asked him to tell Diane that I had come by.

“Oh, you know her then?” he asked. “Well, come in. There are a few paintings in the back to see. But be careful of the glass. ”

Once in side the door, I could see why they might be worried about glass breakage! The Dale Chihuly exhibition that was going up and the art glass pieces were huge and delicious. At one end of the gallery, a series of Chihuly’s drawings were already up, flamboyant, direct and gutsy. If you can get out to see this show, it really will be worth it.  Just being in the presence of these monstrous, luminous vessels is awe-inspiring.

Next I walked down to the Heffel Gallery, primarily an art auction house. Again I met with an apology. The most recent auction exhibition had just been taken down and they were installing the next batch of work to be auctioned off. The only paintings left up were those that had not met the reserved bid price.
The Equinox Gallery was closed but it had a large Gordon Smith painting in the display window. His paintings are uncannily realistic in the small version, but when you see them in their large dimensions, they are very expressionistic and abstract. For his snow pieces, he works with a restrained palette of colours that is almost greyscale in nature so that when he throws in a  dash of leaf green, it sings. It’s like playing in a single note on the piano and then listening carefully as it slowly vibrates into nothingness. What resonates for me on his snow pieces is the way he has captured the silence of freshly fallen snow in the depth of the forest.

For examples of his work, take a look at the Equinox Gallery website at:

Next, I walked uphill to the Atelier Gallery where the new show of David Edwards is on. I had come especially to see it. Unfortunately, the Atelier was also closed but one David Edwards painting hung in the window. I was really sorry not to see the rest of them.

David Edwards Working River, Oil on Canvas, 45 x 72″

The pictures posted on the Atelier’s website show the David Edwards’s genius in handling paint.  When I received the invitation, I could have been bowled over. Photo images that I have been collecting to do a series on urban landscapes could have been superimposed on the ones Edwards chose to paint and there would have been no difference. It was as if he had somehow gotten inside of my brain and extracted this series wholesale. He’s painted them with such luscious, painterliness that I wish I had done them myself.  Again, this painter appeals to my preference for a very restrained palette; and I firmly believe that an artist who can handle greys in all of their variations is a master of his craft.

His art website is noted below and links to the Atelier Gallery web site which has examples of his work for this exhibition.

I passed several other galleries and they were all closed, so I retraced my steps and went home. I was glad that I had seen Hycroft Gallery at the University Women’s Club of Vancouver earlier in the day. If I hadn’t seen a show in any other gallery, at least I’d had a good half hour viewing the works on display there.

Two photographers are showing – Wendy Deakins and Michelle A. Demers. There is also a showcase of hand made jewellry by Elizabeth de Balasi.

Wendy Deakins “Jackpot” Photograph (copyright)

Wendy Deakins has used a grid-like pattern to digitally collage photos of  plant forms together. She’s fascinated with nature and likes to look at it with a macro lense. It produces an interesting mix of imagery when she compounds photos of one single plant from different angles or different lighting.

Having singled out one of Deakins’ photos for this post, I realized how rich these photos are. As a note for the gallery’s hanging committee, I found that the space was too small for these photos. There is so much to be seen in a single photo that when they are grouped together closely, it’s overwhelming. I would have like to have fewer at a time with more spacing between them.

Michelle A. Demers “Anthurium” digital photography

Michelle A. Demers is also using digital photography to alter her photos. She enhances them by pushing the colour to  limits. They are rich and lively. I don’t really know how she accomplishes the transformation but they were stunning – crisp, crystal clear, colourful- and she has a way of emphasizing the rhythm of the petal edges to create a flow in the images that keeps the eye engaged.

Elizabeth de Balasi Seed Bead Bracelet.

Hycroft Gallery generally shows two artists concurrently and has a small display of hand crafted jewelry on display as well. For the month of September, Elizabeth de Balasi has had this coveted spot.

She crochets ropes of seed beads with a tiny number one crochet hook. The ropes are so precise and beautifully crafted it’s hard to imagine that they are hand done. Her web site only has a few images on it, but it will give you an idea of the jewellry she creates.

Next time I have a business appointment in Vancouver, it’s going to be on a Thursday. Then maybe I can  steep myself in the work that is being shown in our very active artistic community.

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