CASTLEGAR — This year the Kootenay Gallery of Art’s exhibitions will focus on place.
The gallery has announced its 2018 exhibition schedule and this year will see six shows that reflect place, as well as the annual Christmas at the Gallery exhibit.
“When I say place, I mean explores some of the ideas and the spaces and the things that are relevant to us here in the Kootenays,” explains Maggie Shirley, curator and gallery assistant.
The first show, running March 2 to April 14, features work from two artists who interpret data related to glaciers and climate change.
Paul Walde’s Alaska Variations generates sound using data.
“It’s called data sonification,” explains Shirley. “So he makes art where the notes come from data relating to the local environment.”
Shirley says Kootenay residents might remember Walde from his exhibition Requiem for a Glacier — a show about the Jumbo Glacier.
“With Requiem for a Glacier, he used all sorts of data and he took a choir up to the glacier and filmed up there,” says Shirley. “And he’s done a similar thing for Alaska Variations. He’s done a musical piece and he’s exploring how the plant life is starting to creep up the mountains now that the glaciers are melting.”
The other artist included in the show is American Jill Pelto.
She is a scientist and an artist who does work in the Columbia Basin.
“She’s done what he [Walde] does, only she does it with visual art,” says Shirley. “So … she takes a chart for example and then turns it into a visual painting.”
For example, she might paint over a graph showing the increasing frequency of wildfires in an area so that flames climb the graph.
From April 19 to May 26, the gallery will exhibit student work, which it usually does in its Young Visions exhibition, but this year is different.
Selkirk College and Emily Carr University of Art and Design are hosting the Rivers Arts Symposium: Reimagining the Columbia Across Borders, and to complement the symposium the Kootenay Gallery will be organizing an exhibition of art from students in School District 20.
“Nick Conbere, who’s from Emily Carr, approached us about having some sort of a show here, so we came up with the idea of going out to the schools and doing some workshops around some of the issues that are facing the Columbia River,” says Shirley. “And of course this is a great time with the negotiation starting again.”
The curator is hoping to receive both visual and written submissions from students, and the exhibition will likely include some professional artists as well.
That exhibition will be followed by another show featuring local artists from June 1 to 8.
The West Kootenay Camera Club Photo Salon is an annual photographic competition by members of the West Kootenay Camera Club.
“It’s adjudicated by judges from the National Association of Photographic Arts so that locals can have the chance to get feedback on their photography. And I think it’s a useful thing, the public loves it and the local photographers get a chance to grow in their skill and get good feedback and get a ribbon or two,” says Shirley.
The show running the rest of June and through July (June 15 to July 28) is somewhat bittersweet.
It will feature the work of Nelson artist Carol Reynolds, who has been diagnosed with dementia.
“I felt it was really important to have a show while she’s still able to be part of the process and enjoy it and appreciate it,” says Shirley. “So I’ve been working with her to select some of her work and to come up with some of the ideas and I’m really moved by working with Carol. She’s just an absolute delight. She’s so positive.”
Reynolds painted the mural on the outside of the Kootenay Gallery of Art and Shirley says most of her paintings are based on the Kootenay landscape.
The same show will include work from two young Sylix artists, Sheldon Louis and Csetkwe Fortier.
Louis is also of Sinixt ancestry and one of his grandfathers was the hereditary salmon chief of the Columbia.
“He’s done some work with the Salmon Ceremony and designed their posters and whatnot, and he had a small show in Vernon … and I approached him about doing some more work around the theme of salmon and bringing back the salmon to the river,” says Shirley.
Louis is working on the show about salmon with Fortier, who is a photographer.
From Aug. 3 to Sept. 17, the gallery will host Mapping Language by local artist Natasha Smith and GLOW by Quebec artist Sonia Haberstich.
“[Smith] is really interested in how language gets translated into visual,” says Shirley. “And so she’s looking at … how her mark making can become more of a visual language, and so in this part that I’m looking at, her images are quite biological to me.”
Shirley paired Smith’s work with Haberstich’s pieces because the latter is about biology and marine life.
“She [Haberstich] is starting to create them out of … glow in the dark paint, so … her work is going to be suspended in the dark space of the west gallery,” says Shirley.
The penultimate show of the year is a teacher and student exhibition that will run from Sept. 21 to Nov. 3.
Deborah Thompson’s Like Cures Like explores the homoeopathic understanding that a small amount of a substance can cure the symptoms it causes in large doses. The show also sees Thompson working in 3D and exploring the theme of anxiety.
“She’s kind of looking at if we reflect our anxiety back at ourselves, does that help cure us?” explains Shirley.
Thompson’s work will be shown in the east gallery, and at the same time, her student Carol Wallace’s work will be shown in the west gallery. The exhibition is called Geologic Time and Shirley believes it is Wallace’s first gallery show.
“She’s also a geologist, so she’s bringing her love and knowledge of the geology of the area into her paintings,” says Shirley.
To finish up the year, Christmas at the Gallery will run from Nov. 9 to Dec. 24.
Upcoming events at Kootenay Gallery of Art
The gallery also has some upcoming events in January and February.
Life Drawing with George Koochin is a five-week course taking place Jan. 18 to Feb. 16. Classes are Thursdays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
“It’s for everybody of all levels. George will be there offering some feedback, but I don’t think he’ll necessarily be giving formal instruction for the classes,” says Shirley. “But you’ll have access to live models for the sessions.”
The cost is $140 for members and $160 for non-members. Call the gallery at 250-365-3337 to register.
And the gallery’s popular fundraiser, Soup for the Cultured Soul, will take place Saturday, Feb. 24.
Tickets have not yet been printed, but Shirley says anyone interested in attending can phone the gallery at 250-365-3337 to reserve and pay for tickets.
Submissions for 2019
Proposals for exhibitions in 2019 will be considered by the Selection Committee in mid-May.
Submissions are accepted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and by mail at Kootenay Gallery of Art, 120 Heritage Way, Castlegar, BC V1N 4M5.
Submission guidelines can be found at kootenaygallery.com/submissions and Shirley asks that those who submit proposals are sure to follow the instructions.