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Creativity abounds at annual juried Surrey art show

Above are a selection of paintings included in ARTS 2014 at the Surrey Art Gallery, including Eileen Fong’s Sisters 2 and David Kilpatrick’s The Pathfinder. Below is Kay Bonathan’s sculpture of five mothers, called Our Future Hope and Jeannette Sirois
Above are a selection of paintings included in ARTS 2014 at the Surrey Art Gallery, including Eileen Fong’s Sisters 2 and David Kilpatrick’s The Pathfinder. Below is Kay Bonathan’s sculpture of five mothers, called Our Future Hope and Jeannette Sirois' winning painting, entitled Defying Age.
— image credit: Evan Seal / The Leader

To have your artwork chosen for this year’s juried art exhibition at the Surrey Art Gallery was no small feat.

While there are about 60 diverse works gracing the walls and display cases inside the main gallery space for ARTS 2014, jurors had to select the pieces from 160 that were submitted by hopeful artists.

The result is a carefully assembled exhibit showcasing the skill, creativity, emotion, innovation – and often, humour – of dozens of experienced and emerging artists working in an array of media.

There are paintings with oil, acrylic and ink, and drawings with pastels and pencil crayons. And sculptural items that have been woven and carved, stitched and moulded.

The works were chosen by jurors Liane Davidson, Stephanie Jonsson and John Cranswick.

“We got a lot of photography – a lot of interesting photography, with people experimenting,” says Brian Foreman, assistant curator of the Surrey Art Gallery.

More and more, the lines between the art forms are blurring. For example, Helma Sawatsky’s photo Construction Sites Phase II: Fisherman’s Wharf is a compilation of layered digital images, creating an almost-familiar landscape of architecture and landscape, portions of which have been digitally painted. Amberlie Perkin’s piece, Broadway to Oak, blends a photograph of an old bus with paint, some collaged torn Bingo cards and even a piece of aged timber.

The imagery portrayed ranges from the traditional to the experimental.

The gaze of Surrey artist Catherine Sheppard’s green-eyed snow leopard (entitled Born Free) draws you into the show from the entrance, where several other still life works and nature-inspired pieces, such as Deborah Strong’s Butterflies and Goosebumps greet visitors.

One area features a series of buildings and outdoor scenery, while another wall spotlights landscapes that appear more aquatic.

The show also contains a lot of figurative work, such as Michelle McCutcheon’s soapstone sculpture SeaBreeze of long-haired reclining woman, a larger-than-life portrait called Defying Age, a coloured pencil piece by Jeannette Sirois of her mother, or David Kilpatrick’s mountain man painting called The Pathfinder.

The whimsical is also front and centre, like Colin Mitchell’s Bodhisattva with a Kite, wherein a 3D box kite flies from a string from the top of the painting, Ferdinand Maravilla’s comic-like painting/drawing Skytrain Fashion and Elizabeth Carefoot’s curio-filled curtain Fragments of Desire that features dozens of tiny objects – domino, bottle cap, rubber frog, doll hand – that she collected over four years in her alleyway.

Artists were awarded prizes in four categories. First place went to Chloe Juwon Kim’s Journey of Life, a modern take on Chinese brush painting, in the Works on Paper category. Top spot for photography went to Helma Sawatzky’s Construction Sites Phase II: Fisherman’s Wharf. In the Drawing and Mixed Media category, Jeanette Sirois’ Defying Age, a large-scale coloured pencil drawing portrait, was first, while Cora Li-Leger’s Colonial, a cloth-covered keepsake box filled with embroidered gloves, family traditions, and history won in the 3D Works and Fibre Arts category.

An opening reception for ARTS 2014, organized by the Arts Council of Surrey, takes place Friday (June 27), 7-9 p.m. at the Surrey Art Gallery, 13750 88 Ave. The show continues until Aug. 30.

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