How to display a lifetime of achievement - over 30 years of art - in one show? That's the challenge for the Gibsons Public Art Gallery this month when they open a retrospective, Lifescapes, of the work of Hopkins Landing artist Patricia Richardson Logie.
Logie is a prolific, talented and professional artist, a signature member of the Federation of Canadian Artists and a founding member of the Canadian Institute of Portrait Artists. Though her subject matter varies widely, she has specialized in portraiture, often by commission, and considers her crowning achievement to be a collection of 31 paintings of aboriginal people entitled Chronicles of Pride. The Gibsons Public Art Gallery is a little gallery, with less than a year of existence, staffed by volunteers, yet they were not daunted by this huge project. Guest curator Donna Hobbs was eager. Hobbs is new to the Coast, about one year; she has minored in art, studied interior design and once ran a business making artistic custom furniture. She met Logie only recently and the two clicked. Hobbs was immediately caught up in the scope of Logie's work, the quality, the diversity and how hungry Logie was to talk about it.
"This show is a natural fit for the Coast," Hobbs says. "An artist of such quality lives here and not everyone has seen her work." Hobbs helped Logie date and catalogue the work, and then selected the pieces from various stages of her career.
"She's chosen pieces I would never have thought to put in a show," says Logie, including work from her student days in London. The show of 48 paintings, mostly oil on canvas, depicts a variety of scenes including rainy days spent in the studio, the canyons and scenery of B.C. under the hot Okanagan sun, local scenes, two engaging pictures of children in the choir, gypsy faces and a few of her rich and sensual nudes that capture the beauty of form and light. The paintings are for sale; prices are listed in the catalogue, not on the wall. The paintings should stand alone, says Hobbs, and part of the mandate of the gallery is simply to show the work of local artists for all to enjoy. One collection that is not for sale individually is the Chronicles of Pride series, portraits of aboriginal people, a project that Logie took on when she became disgusted with how native people were portrayed in textbooks and to the public. She wanted to paint the people as contributors to society, with pride in their faces. She succeeded, and has since been honoured by various aboriginal organizations for her work. Logie would like to keep the collection together and must find a home for it. Small photographic reproductions of this series will be on show at the Gallery. Like any true artist, Logie is most excited by her latest work, something new and almost abstract. She had a stroke just before Christmas, she explains, with the attendant loss of sensation in her fingers. She can't complete the fine brushwork necessary for portraits, so she's painting big and broad now. "I always told my students not to paint with just their fingers," she says. "Paint with your whole arm. That's what I'm doing now, broad paintings, and I'm so excited I can't wait to get back to them." These newer, different pieces will form a series on the spirit of trees - one of them will be on display at the gallery show and another is at Westwind Gallery.
Logie was born in Ontario and wanted to be a painter from the age of 12. In 1970, she moved to England to study at Sir John Cass College in London where she exhibited extensively. She has shown her work in Canada and other countries over 32 times and often holds an open house in her Hopkins' studio in the summer months. She will be present at the launch of Lifescapes today (July 10) from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Gibsons Public Art Gallery, 271 Gower Point Road.