Archive for the ‘Artemis in the Cove’ Category

Olga Khodyreva

April 17, 2012

Stepping stones, acrylic on canvas, 24×18 inches Olga Khodyreva

Olga Khodyreva has painted all her life, encouraged by private lessons when she was a child. In her young years, though she studied to become an engineer and obtained her degree, she spent spare moments in the many galleries and museums of Moscow. These housed large collections of Modernist works. It was there that she picked up a taste for abstract art. Her favourites were Wassily Kandinsky, Matisse, Alexej Jawlensky, Picasso, and Joan Miro.

Now as a member of the contemporary Fort Gallery in Fort Langley, Khodyreva is offering us her two latest series of paintings. The first is based on Joan Miro’s “Carnival of Harlequins”. In the Surrealist tradition, she works from simple geometric sketches portraying two facial features, eyes and nose, as the common thread in these seven paintings.

Dream of the Penguin, Acrylic on canvas, 24×18 inches Olga Khodyreva

“The hardest thing,” she says, “is to avoid rationalization.  The purpose is to free the mind to come up with dream–like, subconscious imagery.”

In the series based on Miro’s  “Carnival of the Harlequins”,  she maintains a consistent colour choice for each painting. The red frames are an exciting addition, allowing the images to sing and helping them to hang well together in the exhibition. Her inventiveness with the nose-and-eyes iconography is  delightful, bringing widely different elements to vary the surrealist dreamscape. Added to this, the technical skill that she brings to her paintings is now working together. The flat areas are really flat; the textured ones do not intrude or interfere with them though they sit side by side but provide an illusory dimensional quality in their contained shapes.

If this were figure skating, this series would merit a ten out of ten. She has brought together technical polish with poetic artistry so that they transcend the mere image.

In the second series, “In Close Proximity”, she begins her paintings with layer of textures,  then places abstract lines and rectangular shapes to create movement. She is investigating tension created by the closeness of objects. She favours the colours red and black.

When Khodyreva came to Canada twenty years ago, she changed profession, becoming a Registered Nurse. “I’ve had little formal training in Fine Arts. So now I am working towards the Certificate program offered by Emily Carr University.”  Who knows? A degree in Fine Arts may not be far off.  “I am happiest when I am painting, or when I am studying. I love to go to school, ” she says as we finish an interview prior to her show.

Compromise, Acrylic on canvas, 24×18 inches Olga Khodyreva

I hadn’t seen any of this new work before I walked into the opening reception. It took me aback in a very positive sense. This show was a stunner.

Each of us at the Fort Gallery has an opportunity to put up a three-week exhibit once a year, not counting the group shows that give us extra showing opportunities. In between shows, be carefully produce another body of work. Some artists stay the same, year after year with their styles. Others create somewhat related bodies of work to that which came the year before, with a change of over all colour use or a shift in pattern or subject matter.

Olga Khodyreva had produced paintings in her last show that were focused on experimental textures, with Greek or Roman-style classical sculptural figures and motifs intertwined with other more modern symbols for subject matter. So this shift to almost entirely non-representational in the new  series “In Close Proximity”,  characterized by rectangular shapes in red and black, is quite a change from the figurative. The colours are bold. The shapes are clear. The textures emerging from behind the squares and rectangles give a feeling of depth and of mystery, with each textured block acting as a vignette or cameo in an otherwise hard-edged painting. It’s a bold statement and a consistent one too.  There’s not only a sense of movement forward and back, but a contradictory sense of two dimensional flatness and illusory perspective (depth) at the same time.

In Close Proximity #1, Acrylic on canvas, Olga Khodyreva, 18 x 24 inches

In Close Proximity #3, Acrylic on canvas, Olga Khodyreva, 18 x 24 inches

That City, Acrylic on canvas, Olga Khodyreva, 30×30 inches approx.

The sixth in this series is a transition. Already Olga is searching out a new dimension. The squares are less predominant. There is more texture and freely expressive brush work. which remains in balance with the flatter areas.

Blue Tango, Oil on canvas, Olga Khodyreva, 40×30 inches approx.

Blue Tango is seriously moving on from the Proximity series. There are still organized shapes, but there is more linear work defining the shapes – a form of outlining. The spatial relationships are strong with the red carrying the eye through the painting and not really letting one’s attention fall away.

This year’s exhibition is over, but information on Olga Khodyreva can be obtained through the Fort Gallery in Fort Langley,


Artemis in the Cove – A new Art Centre

March 22, 2012

Contemporary exhibit at the Artemis Gallery.

There’s a new Art Centre  in Deep Cove, called Artemis in the Cove. It’s a beautiful store-front place with window surrounding on two sides, the interior beautifully and sparely fit-out to accommodate classes, meetings and art gallery.

Interior space by candlelight.  Great for an opening. Transforms to studio in a jiffy. See the sink at the back?

The owner, Shannon Browne, has designed the interior space, with a custom made stainless counter with two big sinks for washing up in it. It takes up the whole back wall. Drawers, a trash can cupboard and fridge are built in underneath the counter and a microwave oven is hidden away in the above counter cupboards for a clean, modern look.

The floors are washable vinyl that looks like weathered barn-board.  Had I not asked, I would have assumed it was real, it looks so good; but it makes sense to have a vinyl floor so that  art spills can easily be cleaned up. The walls are a restful white – great for exhibiting work; not distracting if an art activity is going on. There are two long tables for activity; and two modern shelving units in blond wood from IKEA that form a demonstration table.

Looking out to the front, you see the charming village of Deep Cove with its small boutique stores – lots of them are restaurants for the many summer visitors and there are galleries, artisan jewelers, spas and other shopping treat places to visit without any of the corporate chain stores.

Looking out to the side, there is a courtyard with a planter garden which, even in winter, is green and lovely with small rhododendrons and azaleas.

For a lazy day outing, it’s worth the hour long drive from Vancouver to North Vancouver – the Iron Workers (Second Narrows) bridge is the easiest route, going North, by taking the Dollarton Highway, the first off ramp, going east;  and following it to its end.

Take a look at the web site for more info and pictures and sign up on their mailing list if you are interested in knowing what courses and events are coming up.

I took a very informative course in monotype printmaking a few months ago and discovered that Shannon was interested in having more classes. I proposed a beginners course in drawing and she accepted. I’ve now taught the two days of course and was really pleased with the results. The participants dug right into the activities with enthusiasm. The facilities are exactly what is needed – a calm, well-light space with lots of room to work in.

See the previous post for details on the Drawing course I gave. The results for all participants were spectacular. I was really pleased with each one.