Speaking with trees and stones

Jan DeGrass / Staff writer
April 18, 2014 01:00 AM

Artist Marleen Vermeulen steps into one of her paintings on display at the Gibsons Public Art Gallery.

Artist Marleen Vermeulen brought her conversations with nature to the Gibsons Public Art Gallery (GPAG) on April 5 in an exhibition launch that drew an estimated 300 people to the reception.

The West Coast rain forest and ocean in all their glory are displayed in many large, dynamic oil paintings, so real and almost three dimensional that they make the viewer want to step into the forest floor and touch the trees or explore the beach.

Vermeulen has succeeded in depicting the grandness, the expanse, of nature on the Sunshine Coast. She is now celebrating 20 years in Canada after having grown up in Holland. It's a vastly different landscape there, changed by centuries of human habitation. By contrast, so much of B.C. is still wild and untouched.

I never put any human intervention in my paintings, she said. It's the beauty we experience all around us.

Her work is also marked by two other factors she considers vital: light and texture. Light is visible in the banded rays of sun seeping between the leaves or the reflection of the sun on the ocean. Vermeulen is noted for her painting of texture that captures the smooth mosses or the rough bark.

This degree of technique has earned her a place on Vancouver's gallery row at the Kurbatoff Art Gallery. She is also a part of the lively Eleven Equal Artists whose annual show will appear at the Seaside Centre again in August.

The gallery combined her show with another artist, Pauline Lawson of Gibsons, whose paintings on silk with lyrical text complements Vermeulen's work.

When Stones Speak is an installation in silk by Lawson set up in the smaller Eve Smart room. It's her first show in seven years, she told the crowd, alluding to the previous Watermarks show in which she had changed her style radically. Work that had once been detailed and miniature had turned into broad, sweeping brush strokes.

After the long hiatus, Lawson is definitely back in the art world. Painting on silk uses acrylic inks in what she describes as a new way of painting. The concept of stones that speak came to her in a dream, she notes, and the idea grew as she worked on it. She added some detailing to the work that harks back to her previous style. The result is soft and dream-like.

Vermeulen will give a presentation next Saturday, April 26 at 2 p.m. at the GPAG.

I'll give a demo and talk about how I create texture and the three dimensional feel, she said.

She's also arranged for a solo dance performance that day by choreographer Lindsey Prentice titled Magic Tree. Admission is free. For more on current shows at GPAG see: www.gibsonspublicartgallery.ca. The show runs until April 28.

© Copyright 2015 Coast Reporter


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