Two new exhibits at Gibsons Public Art Gallery (GPAG) have their bright and colourful moments, but they also delve into some serious and thoughtful themes.
Eva Diener, a Sechelt painter with dozens of shows in Europe and Canada to her credit, has filled GPAG’s main gallery with 16 works for her exhibit titled Joy and Sorrow. And you do know right away which emotions Diener is expressing when viewing her works here, which range from vibrant to stark. There is subtlety in her techniques, developed over an art career nearly 60 years long. But the emotional tone of the paintings is anything but subtle and comes across in a literally big way, with some of her cotton canvases measuring 6 ft. by 10 ft.
For the stark, there’s untitled (5), an emphatically desolate, post-apocalyptic landscape. For the vibrant, you can’t help but soon notice untitled (8), with its organic, waving forms dancing brightly on the back wall.
Swiss-born Diener said in her artist’s statement that her “meditative landscapes,” as she calls them, “comment on the overwhelmingly beautiful diversity of our earth and its degradation to become a plundered planet …” That might have seemed melodramatic at one time, but not so much in this arid, fire-stormed summer.
In the adjacent Eve Smart Gallery, Laura Clark has brought a set of photographs and some photo-based, mixed-media sculptures for her show, Fragrance of Time.
The subject matter – flowers placed in graveyards and memorial sites – might sound sombre, but the naturally lit, found-art images Clark has captured in locations from the Galapagos Islands to North Vancouver are not maudlin but poignant.
The tightly cropped, hi-res colour photos, most about 16 in. by 20 in., according to the artist, are not about graveside grieving over death but about ways that human cultures use flowers in these settings to honour memories of a life.
“It’s about, if you will, the feeling of hope, of love, of embracing those memories,” Clark said in an interview. “My interest is in the human landscape, or the emotional journey and experience that many of us can relate to, and what is about being human, or what makes us human, I guess.”
GPAG is hosting a meet-the-artists session with Diener and Clark on Saturday, Aug. 21 starting at 2 p.m. Clark speaks about her work at 2:30 and Diener at 3 p.m.
Joy and Sorrow and Fragrance of Time are on at the gallery until Sept. 6.