Monday Magazine staff
Victoria is home to a number of longtime professional artists who have helped create a diverse and vibrant cultural scene and inspired younger artists to pursue a career in visual arts.
Art Gallery of Greater Victoria director Jon Tupper has great respect for the variety of artist-run centres and galleries in the region that feature the works of such people, like Open Space, Xchanges Gallery and Studios, Fifty Fifty Arts Collective and Coast Collective.
“We can show historical art and intuitive culture and retrospectives of major artists in the community – and young artists as well,” he says. “But really it’s those smaller places than can serve as a petri dish for culture and the visual arts in our community. It’s really exciting and really a vital part of this ecology of visual arts.”
Major private galleries such as Winchester, Madrona, Legacy, The Avenue and the Robert Bateman Centre round out the offerings for local art enthusiasts. In terms of our population, Victoria has a healthy number of galleries per capita.
Here’s a sampling of some of the exhibits happening in April and beyond at local galleries:
Eclectic Gallery (2170 Oak Bay Ave.) presents the works of two artists, Sheila Watson and Stephanie Harding, through April 7.
Watson brings bold colour to her work which spans abstraction, impressionism as well as figurative realism. Taking influences from surrealism, or figurative works across the centuries, her art is intended to uplift and expand the consciousness.
Though generally an oil painter, former Victorian Harding paints a variety of styles, from classic to contemporary, often exploring themes of nature and humanity.
Bateman’s Beginnings, a collection of 20 rare originals from his impressionist past (1942-65) appear at the Robert Bateman Centre (470 Belleville St.) through June 10. Taking a deeper look at Bateman’s impressionism, cubism and abstract landscapes, the exhibit highlights his long journey into nature realism. From early childhood doodles, to impressionist landscapes and abstract wintery scenes, he has always painted what was close to his heart: the natural world.
An exhibition of new paintings by Rick Rivet appears at Alcheringa Gallery (621 Fort St.) through April 27.
The series is soft and sensory and highlights Rivet’s emotive exploration into Shamanistic beliefs in a contemporary Canadian context. Set in his distinctive expressionist-primitivism style, the mix of Aboriginal imagery and abstraction creates a dreamlike canvas that captures an otherworldly aesthetic. An opening reception happens April 7 at 2 p.m.
At the Gage Gallery, 2031 Oak Bay Ave., Diana Durrand’s 100 Sleeping Dandelions will shed some golden light on the question of whether this plant in an invasive species or a hardy, adaptable, edible plant that has flourished against all odds to the benefit of humankind. The reception for the show will be held April 15 from 1 to 4 p.m.
American philosopher and naturist Ralph Waldo Emerson eulogized weeds as plants ‘whose virtues have not been discovered.’ It’s in that spirit that Durrand portrays the common dandelion using bold paintings, delicate drawings and elegant sculptures, all intended to override the entrenched suburban bias against this much-maligned species. 100 Sleeping Dandelions is on display April 10-21.