Posts Tagged ‘Suzanne Northcott’

Gallery Hopping in Fort Langley

August 19, 2008

My sister, also an artist, is visiting from the Kootenay region. Today we went over to Fort Langley. We saw a Local Artist exhibit of about thirty different amateur artists. It was some collection! Mostly flowers, several paintings of horses and other domesticated animals, pet portraits, a few fashion figures in imitation of Erte. We didn’t stay long.

Sierra, my sister’s collie dog, was with us and very frightened of the rumblings of thunder and lightning. We’ve had extremely hot weather (for us) in the 30s Celsius, and we would welcome some rain – it’s hot and humid to an uncomfortable degree.

We had to pick up some merchandise at Opus Framing Supplies in Langley, so we hurried on in order to get there before closing time. On the way back, we stopped in at the Fort Gallery, a collective of artists, each exhibiting for three weeks in succession so that there are plenty of interesting shows all year round.

Suzanne Northcott is the driving force behind the cooperative and for these three weeks, this is her show. Her current work is all figurative with large paintings on canvas 4 foot by 5 foot, that is, almost life size. Here’s a web address for you to enjoy the paintings too:

I find her craftsmanship excellent. She works with varying points of view – many of them looking straight down on her subjects. There is a compositional boldness and clarity like Egon Shiele’s and a simplicity of background which gives greater force to the figure itself. She has a good handle on textural contrasts and a lovely sense of colouration, shifting through several shades of warm red glazes through cool ones in the skin tones to achieve form and shape.

Her drawing is draftsman-like but not too much so. The hands and feet are well done and anatomically very believable.  She doesn’t avoid doing them, nor does she hide these extremities that are often hard to draw well. In fact, she often makes them a focal point in the composition.

She leaves sufficient to the imagination and asks her viewers to enjoy some of the mysteries that she creates within her paintings. What is the relationship between two figures? What is this person waiting for? Why the melancholy look? The people that stare back at you, that engage you from inside the canvas, they have lives lived; have issues with others; have emotional quotients.

There is a liberty in her drawing, a looseness that speaks volumes about the years of work she has put into figure drawing in a painting medium to arrive at this apparent ease in her imagery.

If you are in the Fort Langley, British Columbia are, try to see this show before it ends. It’s excellent.

Suzanne shared a glass of wine with us, saying that Art and Wine were two things that should always live together. While we chatted, several gallery visitors came through, each staying quite a time to absorb the work before them. This is not work you want to see in the traditional three seconds per image, the museum and gallery average. You will want to focus on each painting and the delicious painterliness therein.

Eventually we had to go. I live on the other side of the river in Maple Ridge, so we parked our car in the Albion Ferry line-up and waited an hour before we got on the ferry. It’s a short ride to the other side once you are on it. It would be lovely if the Provincial Government could keep the ferry going after the new Golden Ears bridge across the Fraser River has been completed. It’s a charming trip, great for tourism.

And so I’m home again. I’ll have these visions of paintings in my mind for a long while.