Art Show Opening Draws Curious Crowd
Over the past few years, I’ve held art shows with three other Muskoka artist friends (Janice Feist, Lynda Lynn and Pat Whittle). We called our group shows ‘4’ – simple and to the point. We didn’t limit the shows to a theme but rather presented our best works no matter the paint medium or subject. Around this time last year, we got together over a bottle of wine to discuss the possibility of creating a group show with a theme or central idea.
Using ‘4’ as the jumping off point, we brainstormed words with ‘4’ in them until we came to foreskins. WHAT!? We laughed about it but then got serious. How could we use the idea? One of our group, Pat Whittle, had worked with acrylic paint skins years before and we all understood that dry acrylic paint might be useful. When acrylic paint is left to dry on a non-adhering surface, it can be peeled off and used as collage material.
After several meetings, we decided to try our hand at a few collaborative pieces. We each began a 16 x 20 inch canvas using acrylic skins in whatever way we were led. These original pieces were created from leftover paint from our palettes.
No direction was given. The goal was for each of us to complete approximately 1/4 of the canvas. Every few weeks we met to pass along a canvas to the next artist. Once the fourth artist finished, she would return it to the original artist to add any final touches.
The process proved challenging. Plenty of swearing and tearing out of hair and hours staring at the work another artist had done, not knowing where to go next. With no understanding of the original artist’s concept we had to take risks that our additions might alter the direction that person was headed. We could do anything. That meant we were free to take apart what was there and apply the skins in another way which happened more than once. Rather than being offended that our contribution had been removed and changed, we began to see through the other artist’s eyes. After completing the first set of four canvases, we did a second group of 24 x 24 inch canvases. At the end we produced eight abstract paintings that we liked. Here are a few of them.
Over several months, we met a couple of times to create skins – no longer dependent on leftover paint on our palettes. Some were as large as 30 to 40 inches long.
When we applied for a show at the Chapel Gallery, here in Bracebridge, we included the concept of an installation piece – a waterfall, unsure of how exactly that might come together. In January we brought our supplies to the basement of the gallery and began work on a 72 x 36 inch canvas – this would be the centre piece of our display. Everyone brought skins that might work as water, rocks, vegetation. For the last touches of the waterfall, we moved to our garage – luckily the weather cooperated!
It took several weeks of applying skin upon skin but finally it was done! On the plinths beside the waterfall are the funky fish we created from skins.
This venture challenged each of us and pushed us in new creative directions which is always a good think for an artist. Here are a couple of my individual works.
On Saturday, November 14, our show opened at the Chapel Gallery drawing 100 people and resulted in several sales. The 4 SKINS exhibit with work by Janice Feist, Lynda Lynn, Pat Whittle and Wendie Donabie continues until Saturday, November 11.