Gibsons Public Market might be a place to shop, hang out, and hear some live music. It’s also an art gallery – with two sections in the atrium and another upstairs – often exhibiting as many works in its shows as conventional local galleries, and always featuring Coast artists.
Nature is the theme of the market’s current exhibit, with pieces from two artists using markedly different mediums and subjects.
Bodhi Drope’s bird photographs have often been displayed locally, and here he offers up 15 more lovely images. All have been spontaneously captured in the wild, and some Drope has digitally massaged into works that look more like fine paintings. It’s a form of artwork that the Gibsons artist said reminds him of his days as a successful printmaker after graduating from art school in Winnipeg.
“It dawned on me some years ago when I first set up the computer and printer that I have completed a gestalt,” Drope told Coast Reporter. “I’m back in my print studio. It’s just that I’m using contemporary technology. I have several programs to manipulate the image. I might take one section out of one photograph and introduce it to another, and the finished image might comprise four or five shots.”
Drope said he operates a fine-art printer which, rather than dye-cartridges, uses pigment ink to meet the archival standards established by the National Gallery of Canada, and which produce images said to last 100 years without fading. He emphasized that he doesn’t digitally alter photos just because he can, but to better convey an experience.
“I’m not interested in birds for identification purposes,” Drope said. “I’m more interested in capturing the experience I had when I encountered these birds. In some of my images, you might find that the environment is more important than the bird.”
Also part of the current market show are a dozen delicately rendered works by self-taught water-colourist Tegan Ceschi-Smith. All the paintings depict the West Sechelt artist’s current favourite subject – whales. “I love whales, I just love the shape of them,” Ceschi-Smith said. “I do paint other subjects, but mostly it’s whales. I guess I haven’t exhausted it yet for myself.”
Interestingly, the medium in which whales live – salt water – is also a component of her paintings, which, while an apt poetic touch, is also a useful material technique. “It’s water-colour and salt – sometimes salt water from the ocean here. The pigments react to the salt. It’s beautiful. That’s how you get that kind of mottled, crusty look. It gives it a texture.”
When the multi-talented Ceschi-Smith isn’t using a paint brush, she’s brandishing a bow as violinist for the Vancouver-based Celtic folk-punk band The Dreadnoughts. Classically trained, Ceschi-Smith also has just joined Delhi2Dublin fiddler Serena Eades as a teacher in Eades’s newly opened local violin instructional academy.
Drope’s photos and Ceschi-Smith’s paintings will be on display at Gibsons Public Market until Oct. 12.