An artistic couple, Jacqueline O Rogers and Matthew Talbot-Kelly of Gibsons, are redefining the term mixed media.
Their show In Media Res (meaning in the middle of things) opened at the Gibsons Public Art Gallery on Feb. 1 and it displays a wide range of innovative styles and mediums from virtual graffiti to cheeky puppets.
In the past, the two have collaborated closely on a series of stories, Moving Tales, available for the iPad, with Rogers telling the stories and Talbot-Kelly providing the graphics.
This current show is not so much collaboration as a complementary effort. Each artist echoes the other, yet they create differently. Rogers works playfully with paint, colour and wood in two and three-dimensional art. Puppet figures peer from tiny, colourful paintings, miniature trees sprout on children’s building blocks and splashes of red, blue and yellow paint attract the eye.
Talbot-Kelly works with found items mostly gleaned from the beach, coloured or left intact to make what he terms “fragmentary meanings.”
In one delightful piece he uses scraps of letters and articles in
various languages using interesting typography to create a correspondence collage that also tells a story.
His original passion is architecture and he has built a freestanding wall with a doorway that bisects the gallery and frames other work. The viewer is immediately drawn over the threshold that provides a focal point for one of Rogers’ larger sculptures and becomes a mini theatre for Talbot–Kelly’s three dimensional collage films: Blind Man’s Eye (2007) and The Trembling Veil of Bones (2010).
His career for the past 15 years involved building complex and artistic physical and virtual sets for the movie industry. He’s recently returned from Mumbai where he led a team of artists on designing visual effects such as are found in his films.
The non-virtual, very real wall across the gallery also offers a shelf for an interactive digital painting in which the viewer can “scrub” an iPad for interesting results.
The work is clustered in various ways — each group a conversation with meaning implicit to the viewer. Yet the show has an elusive, roaming quality to it, and it’s possible that by the end of the show the same work might be grouped differently. Rogers pondered the meaning of the show’s title. As artists are we always in the middle of things? When is a piece finished? she asked.
“I came to the conclusion that it takes the viewer to complete it,” she said. “They complete it and make it whole, just as we’ve completed the space in this gallery.”
Having a show in your home town is interesting, said Talbot-Kelly. Neighbours who did not realize that his work on set construction in the backyard was part of his art have now come to see the show. The couple likes to be on hand as much as possible to talk to visitors. They hope to make an e-book catalogue about the show, to be available for free at its closing.
The show is on until Feb. 27. Some weekends will include a puppet show from Sandy Buck of Deer Crossing The Art Farm and more music from John Tenbear Thompson.