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Go on a gallery crawl this week

Spring is bustin' out all over the Coast, and nowhere is it more evident than in the many galleries where seasonally-themed shows have opened this week.

Spring is bustin' out all over the Coast, and nowhere is it more evident than in the many galleries where seasonally-themed shows have opened this week.

The Landing Gallery, on Marine Drive in Gibsons, has Spring Fever, a show of accessible work from a variety of artists and artisans that glows with refracted light from Sue Furze's intricate stained glass window plaques. Jack Ploesser's rust-toned pottery highlights Greta Guzek's richly-toned paintings, counterbalanced by a variety of airy florals and still lifes in watercolour, acrylic and oils on facing walls. A highlight of this collection is Coralie Swaney's cheerful dolls. These one-of-a-kind items are quickly snatched up by knowledgeable collectors, who are already starting to crowd historic Gibson's Landing.

At the Gibsons Public Art Gallery on Gower Point Road (downstairs, next to Trinkets and Treasures), Wendy Harford offers a multi-media showcase of family inspirations in her Generational Show. Incorporating treasured work by family members (her mother's paintings, father's woodwork, granddaughter's daubs and her own uncle-inspired sculptures), Harford's show is intensely personal, even to the point of recreating her living room in one part of the gallery, and as amazingly varied as her own life. Harford's physical journeys are reflected in her paintings' subject matter. Her spiritual journeys are more often reflected in her sculptures, which incorporate found objects and items of personal significance.

All of these influences mesh in her poetry, songs and stories, which she will present in a special live performance at the gallery on Sunday, April 18 at 2 p.m.

While in Gibsons, check out the work on display at Westwind Gallery and Gift of the Eagle. Both galleries offer exclusive Coast representation to certain local artists of international calibre as well as emerging artists and artisans. Ever since the Twodoor Gallery closed last December, Roberts Creek has lacked a venue for the many artists Kathy Dunlop fostered.

The Creek Hair Salon and Gumboot Café have leapt into the breach, offering wall space to local and visiting artists. Currently, the often lusty and always offbeat work of Junco Jan Williams is on display here.

Junco Jan is also showing at the Sunshine Coast Arts Centre, where her Avoidin' Freud collection hangs in wacky counterpoint to Ursula Fritsch's intricately stylized Abundance. Both are rich in primary colours and complex in mood and thought.

Junco Jan's works are usually termed cartoons, with bold Picasso-like drawings in primary colours on scrap wood captioned with a sly, offbeat commentary.

The underlying message is the point at which Freud enters or exits the picture (forgive the pun; it's Junco Jan's evil influence).For example, the collage Carcinoma incorporates endless lines of toy cars spewing up and out of a gaping, wildly and helplessly staring head, a gentle nudge to think about the automobile as a cancer on the earth, or a carcinogen-producing vehicle or well, you get the picture. Fritsch's collages use found paper almost exclusively and are extremely intricate. In recent years, she has burst from work that was dark and moody into bright primary hues. Most of the work on display in the Abundance show, however, is rich with springtime pastels and motifs of love, romance and rebirth. For those familiar only with Fritsch's vivid acrylics and cheerful hand-built pottery, this show will provide a surprising insight into the abilities and personal patterns of this complex artist.

Many Coast galleries are operated seasonally.

The Gambier Gallery, Daffydowndilly Gallery (in Gibson's Landing), Harbour Co-op Gallery (in Madeira Park) and Egmont's Three Ducks on a Roof will open in June - just in time for another major gallery crawl!

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