Take Five is both the name of the exhibit (at the Turnbull Gallery, Aug 20-21) and an implicit invitation – an opportunity to meet five very different but complementary artistic talents on the Semiahmoo Peninsula.
Even though I was able to meet with only four members of the ad hoc art group last week (painter Laurie Thomasson, who brings a magic realism/post-expressionist flair to her bright florals and landscapes, was, alas, unavailable) it’s evident the group is one of those serendipitous combinations that occur from time to time in the arts.
As member Gail Nesimiuk lined up four group works side by side, it was evident that – while their genres vary widely, and this is the first time they have showed together – the painters (who also include Joanne Avery, Doris Anderson and Sheila Symington) share a similar aesthetic and colour sense that creates a powerful ensemble ambience.
“There’s a very nice cohesion,” said Nesimiuk, who specializes in linear landscapes (or ‘strata-scapes’ as she terms them) and will also include some works she co-paints in collaboration with fellow-artist Sandra Tomchuk.
“The way we have divided the (gallery) space, we each have a different place on the long wall, and another wall, but there’s a nice flow between the works,” said Avery, who added that there will also be easels positioned in the middle of the floor and tables to display smaller works and art cards, and Nesimiuk’s original jewelry pieces.
“We want to make the area visitor-friendly,” Nesimiuk said.
The group came together because all five applied for a small exhibition opportunity in the gallery – one of three to be presented during the remainder of this year.
“We were assigned August, while the other two will be in October and December,” said Anderson.
“It was a small group and we’re quite happy with it being a small group.”
Anderson describes her acrylic paintings, typically on medium-sized canvases as “abstract expressionism, very fluid and free and intuitive.”
Like the others in the group, she enjoys the opportunity to share inspiration and participate in classes that organizations like the art society offers.
“I’m going to continue my exploration of abstracts and see where it goes – I’ve signed up for a workshop with an abstract painter in September,” she said.
Avery, by contrast, paints realistic landscapes employing a very colourful palette.
“They’re usually from memory, or from photos I take whenever my husband and I travel,” she said.
“I’ve always got my camera with me when I’m on the golf course, or wherever I go.”
“I haven’t changed – I still just paint whatever is happening in my head and heart,” Nesimiuk said.
Well-known Peninsula artist Symington is also adhering to her own distinctive style, she said.
“It’s mostly abstracts, with all kinds of bits of pieces added in a kind of collage,” she said, adding that she welcomes the opportunity to team with the other artists in the show.
“And since people got down on their knees and begged us to do this, we had to oblige,” she quipped, with a typical twinkle in her eye.
“We don’t have any big agenda or meaning in this show,” Nesimiuk said.
“Speak for yourself,” interjected Symington, which prompted a laugh from the others.
“Sheila has a secret agenda that she’ll reveal later,” Avery said.
“Sheila has got some amazing pieces,” agreed Nesimiuk.
“And Doris has got some mildly explosive canvases – although that’s probably an oxymoron.”
“It’s neat to shake people up,” Anderson commented. “Although it can be subtle. It doesn’t have to be spelled out – it’s just like a good novel.”
For the spectator who finds resonance in the canvases displayed in Take Five, there’s also, of course, the bonus that all the works are for sale.
“The thing with purchasing a piece of art is that it’s created by somebody – so you’re also getting the energy of that person,” Anderson said.
“It’s not just a print from HomeSense that’s totally flat – there’s also the intent of the artist in that piece.”
“I always say that if it feeds your spirit, buy it,” said Nesimiuk.
“When you have it at home on your wall, it will continue to feed you.”