art exhibits in Kamloops


Andrea Mantegna: Battle of the Sea Gods (left side)
Engraving on laid paper 28 x 42.7 cm.
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa

On our recent visit to Kamloops, our daughter took us to see several art exhibitions. The major ones were in the Kamloops Art Gallery:

Beautiful Monsters: Beasts and Fantastic Creatures in Early European Prints and Picasso’s Beasts, both on loan from the National Gallery of Canada

unlimited edition, prints by Indigenous artists in the Kamloops Art Gallery’s permanent collection

– Andrea Kastner’s The Waste Land

All were fascinating and beautiful exhibits. The large selection of Early European engravings, etching and woodcuts by many well-known artists was an impressive collection requiring close study of their dense and highly detailed work. The Picasso etchings were a selection from his Vollard Suite, some familiar and some new to me and all marvellous work, of course. The KAG’s collection of prints by well-known Indigenous artists was wonderful to see all together. Such a variety of periods and styles of printmaking in these three exhibitions – food for a printmaker’s soul, also much enjoyed by our daughter and my husband.

Kastner’s large contemporary paintings are very beautiful, yet horrible in their look at our industrial and household “waste lands”.

Please read more about these exhibits at the Kamloops Art Gallery website. They provided a lovely booklet to take home, from where I captured the above image. No photos were allowed.

Other exhibits we visited were at The Old Courthouse Cultural Centre which houses the Kamloops Courthouse Gallery, The Kamloops Arts Council, a gift shop, and the Arnica Artist Run Center gallery. The latter space had another print exhibition organized by the Kamloops Printmakers, an International Print Exchange (more details here).

One more interesting print exhibition that we saw was at the Thompson Rivers University – work by the first and second year printmaking students and some guests. We were pleased to meet the artist-instructor and share stories about techniques, educational experiences and more. What a weekend of art shows, thanks to our daughter for organizing this tour!

I’ll write a bit about the university in another post as this is too long already.

Ukiyoe art works


There is an exciting exhibition in town: Ukiyoe Spectacular – Japanese Woodblock Prints from the 1800s

Over one hundred woodblock prints from a private collection in Japan are on display at the West Vancouver Museum and at the Nikkei National Museum in Burnaby. There are works by such masters as Kuniyoshi, Yosifuji and Hiroshige and more, with images of supernatural and epic myths, samurai, historical and theatrical events and even humour. Read more and view the slide shows at each museum’s site.

Ukiyo-e means “pictures of floating world”, referring to the lifestyles of the period, as well as becoming the name for the method of woodblock printing. This art came to influence European artists in the late 19th century and even today’s popular manga art in Japan.

We visited the West Vancouver Museum’s installation a while ago and found all the work quite fascinating and absorbing to view the amazing workmanship and fine details. Some amusing work even made me think of ‘Where’s Waldo?’, heh. We hope to visit the Nikkei Museum soon to see more.

More reading: about Ukiyo-e in Wikipedia, and about
a demonstration of this technique as adapted to contemporary work.

Eyes as Big as Plates


Eyes as Big as Plates # Agnes II © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen


Eyes as Big as Plates # Velkkari © Karoline Hjorth & Riitta Ikonen

The first time I saw Eyes as Big as Plates and its many amazing photographs of elders set in nature, wearing materials from the earth, blending with the earth, sometimes half lost in moss or pond, I was completely stunned and awed by all of it. Learning that the artists are a Finn, Riitta Ikonen and a Norwegian, Karoline Hjorth explained a lot behind my feeling of a deep connection to the images – our Nordic roots, folklore and nature.

Riitta and Karoline worked with volunteer elders in Finland, Norway, New York, France, Iceland and the Faroe Islands. (I must say the settings in Iceland are the most dramatic!) They captured a wonderful sense of beauty, wisdom, humour and love of adventure in these models in their various home places.

This body of work has stayed with me as some of the most exciting I have seen. I have followed their blog since and now learned that they will have their first comprehensive solo exhibition of Eyes as Big as Plates in Oslo, opening January 23rd. How I wish I could be there to see the work and meet the artists!

Many thanks to Riitta and Karoline for permission to use a couple of their photos. Congratulations on your stunning project and best wishes for your continuing successes! It would be wonderful if their exhibition were to come to Vancouver!

Dutch Art in Burnaby


Image Credit: Rembrandt van Rijn,The Windmill, 1641,
Etching on cream laid paper, 14.7 x 20.7 cm, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa

This afternoon we visited the Burnaby Art Gallery and its two exhibitions of Dutch art, Storms and Bright Skies: Three Centuries of Dutch Landscapes and Inner Realms: Dutch Portraits.

These were mostly small drawings and etchings with some watercolours and a couple of oil paintings from the Golden Age, 1600’s to 1800’s. Very fine detailed work (magnifying glasses were on loan), really quite lovely and romantic images of the countryside and people of the day. One image of skaters on a frozen pond had husband wondering if the sticks being used were precursors to today’s hockey sticks? A few Brueghels and several Rembrandts were the highlights. Naturally all the printworks were my favourites and those of Rembrandt most superb, both landscapes and portraits including a self-portrait.

With the dim lighting calling for flash, I did not try to take photos, even were it allowed. It was surprisingly busy, as if it was an opening event, with many families taking advantage of the Sunday afternoon children’s art activities in another room. I think this kind of exhibition of traditional and historic work probably appeals to a greater number of the public than some contemporary work, do you suppose?

Here’s more about the exhibitions in the Burnaby Newsleader, with an image of Rembrandt’s Self-Portrait.

As always when we visit the BAG, afterwards we went for a walk in the lovely garden around the gallery and down to Deer Lake – photos to come tomorrow!

found photos


Left: Dream Vessel    Centre: Dream Structure    Right: Memory/Dreams IV


Left: Memory/Dreams I    Centre: Memory/Dreams III

These two photographs dropped out from inside some papers I was sorting through while looking for something else, as often happens. They are installation photos of some of my printworks in an exhibition called Forms and Figures at the Ferry Building Gallery in West Vancouver back in 1993. This was noted on the back of the photos but with no mention of the other two or three artists also in the exhibition. Memory fails me now, though I think I might know but don’t want to make any mistakes. If I come across the information in an another poke through my messy files, I’ll add it here.

Should you be interested in a better look at these pieces, please check out the Dreams series

On my summer break from the print studio, I really must get back to my small home studio to continue the tidy-up I started last summer as well as sort through a new mess!

more Robert Young

Over five years ago I wrote about BC artist Robert Young and his visit to the printmaking studio at Capilano University. Please read that article then come back here.

Last week by an odd chance, Robert and I had a lovely email conversation. He had not seen that early post I wrote about him and had some nice things to say including this:

You may be interested to know that the print reproduced in your article contains a black and white landscape image which I made at art school in England and which is partly derived/inspired by Akseli Gallen-Kallela.

This certainly surprised and delighted me as I had researched and written a major portion of my written thesis for my BFA Honours on this famous Finnish artist.

I’ve seen and admired Robert Young’s work here and there over the years and most recently in 2009 at the Burnaby Art Gallery. In researching for this post, I came across an excellent and insightful review by Robin Laurence of that BAG exhibition.

So I was sad to learn from him that I had missed his major retrospective in 2011. He has kindly given me permission to use his images and exhibition information to update us on some of his recent work.

This is from the Evergreen Cultural Centre’s website:

Mystique Povera, 2008-09, egg tempera, acrylic and oil on linen. 48 x 59 inches. Collection of the Artist
Robert Young: Lacunarian Picturing
June 18 – September 3, 2011

The Art Gallery at Evergreen, in partnership with the Simon Fraser University Gallery, is pleased to present Lacunarian Picturing, a Robert Young retrospective exhibition. The Vancouver artist, born in 1938, has produced art for most of his adult life and continues to work from his home studio.

The Art Gallery at Evergreen will focus on a chronological exploration of Young’s paintings while the SFU Gallery will focus on Young’s depictions of architecture and interior spaces. On display will be works ranging from the 1970’s, to his much-debated Tart, 1993 from the Vancouver Art Gallery Permanent Collection, to his most recent painting from this year titled, Lacunarian Picture, 2011. (more…)

Then a year later came his Unveiling of Axis Mundi:
LEFT: Lacunarian Picture, 2011. RIGHT: Axis Mundi, 2012, acrylic, egg tempera and oil on linen, 152.4 x 121.9 cm. Collection of the Artist

[At last year’s exhibition] the signature work showcased at the Art Gallery at Evergreen was Lacunarian Picture, a work in progress that Young began specifically for the exhibition in Coquitlam. Now, over one year later, the work is completed and it gives us great pleasure to unveil it here at Evergreen Cultural Centre.

I understand the title changed from Lacunarian Picture to Axis Mundi and you can see both versions above. I wish we could view the work larger in order to see all the details full of stories, so typical of his work. Also, do read Robert Young’s statement (pdf) found on that page. I think it gives fascinating insight into his artistic and thematic process. It is something I can identify with in some of my work where I do not always know what it will be about until it is done. I’m sure some other artists experience that too.

Last but not least, when I asked if he was still painting, he wrote: Oh yes, still painting and doing my best work…. He still follows his own path, true to himself, and is an inspiration for all artists, especially for those of us ‘getting on in years’.

Added MARCH 4th morning: Robert Young has just told me that his work can be seen at the Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art Database. His page is here. Excellent, I had forgotten about this site! (But why did a general internet search of the artist’s name not come up with this site?)

More later in the day: I have just spent an hour browsing through Robert’s work on this site – wow! The images can all be viewed larger. Do especially have another look at Axis Mundi, the very last one! I also love his famous Tart. Enjoy!

Michiko Suzuki: A Feeler


Michiko has a solo exhibition of her latest prints coming up at the Bellevue Gallery in West Vancouver. The opening is on Valentine’s Day, Feb 14th, 6 to 8 pm. and the exhibition continues to March 16th, 2013.

Read about Michiko’s current theme and view some of her older works on Bellevue’s pages.
Michiko’s name and numerous exhibitions have appeared often on these pages — here are links to the most recent:
~ A four person exhibition in the Embassy of Canada in Tokyo
~ Our Institute group’s exhibition in Tokyo
~ Michiko’s previous solo exhibition at the Bellevue
Hope to see you on the 14th!


With low energy and needing to catch up with other things, I want to just quickly share several exciting-to-me links I’ve been enjoying this week, on the subjects of archaeology, art and story writing:

1. Lascaux’s Picassos – What prehistoric art tells us about the evolution of the human brain. A gorgeous slide show and many great links on a favourite subject of mine, and something I’ve written about a few times before.

2. Cuts that heal: Barbara Hepworth’s hospital drawings. I love her sculpture. Now seeing her fantastic drawings in the provided slide show puts her in the class of the Renaissance artists in my book! The second work Concentration of Hands II is my favourite. I had many of the same thoughts as Jonathan Jones mentions in his review (link on the side). How I wish I could go see this exhibition.

3. Margaret Atwood joins the zombie craze:

Just in time for Halloween, Canada’s most decorated literary doyenne – Margaret Atwood – has co-written a serialized zombie novel with a promising British author that will be posted chapter by chapter at the Canadian-based story-sharing website Wattpad.

I’m not into zombies but curiousity sent me to check out Wattpad and The Happy Zombie Sunrise Home where the first three parts are up. I read, I laughed, I will be back.

exchange exhibition opening


left to right: Ritsuko Takeda, Haruko Cho, Sachiko Kawamura, Prof. Hiroshi Maruyama, Haruki Sakuraba

by Hiroshi Maruyama

by Yusaku Fujiwara

by Isao Kobayashi

Here are a few photos from last week’s opening of the exchange exhibition of works by Japanese printmakers in the Studio Art Gallery at Capilano University. Five of the 17 artists came to Vancouver for this event. It was very well attended, with a gracious welcoming speech from Capilano University President Dr. Kris Bulcroft, who highlighted the benefits of this kind of international art exchange. I was not able to capture all of the artists’ works but I hope these few give some idea of how exciting the exhibition is, well worth a visit while it is up until October 20th.

The works that had been exhibited by the Art Insitute members at the B-Gallery in Japan are displayed downstairs in the studio space. Interestingly, Haruko Cho, one of the artists from Japan, is also the director of the B-Gallery. Ritsuko Takeda, another of the artists, compiled the catalogue for this exchange exhibition.

Japanese exchange exhibition


You may recall that our Art Institute printmakers had a wonderful exhibition in Tokyo, Japan in May/June of this year. As an exchange, we are hosting an exhibition of works by Japanese printmakers in the Studio Art Gallery at Capilano University, North Vancouver. Several artists are traveling here and will be at the opening on Thursday, October 4th, 2012, 7 to 9 pm. Everyone is welcome. The exhibition continues to October 20th, open Monday to Friday 8:30 am – 4:00 pm.

Also, one of the artists, Professor Hiroshi Maruyama of Tama Art University, Japan will give a lecture on Friday, October 5th at 12 noon in the gallery. I understand he will be giving a demonstration of traditional Japanese woodblock printing with watercolours. It will be an exciting week!

If you need directions to the campus and the Studio Art building, please check out these maps.