Barbara Roden (left) chats with visitors during her art exhibit at MLA Ravi Kahlon’s constituency office on Monday, Feb. 4. (Saša Lakić photo)

North Delta artist’s work showcases whimsy and social commentary

Barbara Roden’s series Westcoast Whimsy includes a painting inspired by the Charlottesville protests

In her new series of paintings, North Delta artist Barbara Roden offers her renditions of B.C.’s Sunshine Coast, as well as commentary on the deadly Charlottesville protests.

Barbara Roden’s Boats by the Bay is one of the “whimsy” landscape pictures of the Sunshine Coast, where Roden has a cottage. (Saša Lakić photo)

At the opening of her new show at Delta North MLA Ravi Kahlon’s constituency office on Monday (Feb. 4), Roden told the Reporter that landscapes, as seen in her Westcoast Whimsy series, are relatively new to her as an artist and she has been painting the surroundings of her cottage for about three years.

In the early 2000s, after graduating from Kwantlen Polytechnic University (then called Kwantlen University College), she focused more on conceptual paintings, exploring themes of isolation in the community, as well as motherhood and the resilience of women in a series of 30 paintings called The Sturdy Shoes.

“A lot of my paintings in the past were very much about community, serious issues,” Roden said. “So this whimsical landscape series is really fun for me.”

The series is a collection of bright, colourful paintings of the cottage country north of Vancouver done by Roden over the last year or so. As visitors walked about Kahlon’s office Monday evening, Roden would every now and then put a red sticker on the paintings’ labels, signifying a sale.

SEE ALSO: Keen eye for detail key for North Delta artist

Weathering the Storm is a commentary on what Barbara Roden said what the lack of action by the White House following the deadly Charlottesville protest in August 2017. (Saša Lakić photo)

Not all of her works on display at Kahlon’s office are whimsical landscapes, however. Roden explained how one painting in particular, called Weathering the Storm, is an allegory of the events in Charlottesville, Va., in August 2017, in which a white supremacist rammed his car into a crowd protesting a march by right-wing extremists opposed to the removal of a statue of Confederate Civil War General Robert E. Lee. One woman died as a result, while several others sustained a range of injuries.

“That’s the fastest painting I have ever painted. I painted it in a fury,” the soft-spoken Roden said of the work depicting a row of houses set up on stilts with waves undulating below them. “I was so disturbed by the White House’s lack of response. This is showing a community on stilts, and the White House in the middle. It bears a little bit of a resemblance to the KKK mask.”

She said there is an innate hope in the painting that a “seventh wave of love” will come through and knock over the middle house, which stands on just two stilts.

Roden’s exhibit can be viewed until Feb. 27 at Delta North MLA Ravi Kahlon’s constituency office, located at 8350 112th St. To see more of her art, visit barbararoden.ca.



sasha.lakic@northdeltareporter.com

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