Nanaimo artist Pattiann Withapea has exhibited her dyed resin paintings far overseas but at an upcoming Vancouver Island show she’ll be displaying her resin creations in Canada for the first time.
From July 28 to Aug. 29 at the McMillan Arts Centre in Parksville, Withapea is presenting Designs From My Abstract Mind. It’s her first Canadian solo show featuring abstract paintings done using resin as well as alcohol ink. The exhibition is also dedicated to Withapea’s mother, who attended the MAC as a student when it used to be a schoolhouse.
“Resin is generally used as a sealant,” Withapea explained. “It’s a clear, hard coating and there are artists that paint paintings and seal it with a coat of resin. I actually tint the resin with pigment and paint with it.”
Aside from being a fan of unconventional painting media, Withapea is also fond of incorporating special visual effects into her work. Some of the paintings in the show feature holographic and thermographic elements while others glow in the dark to reveal a second painting within the first, an effect which required the installation of a special lighting system in the gallery.
Withapea’s experimental tendencies contrast with the more traditional work she was doing at the start of her artistic career.
“In my first three years of painting I painted portraiture and representational work, lots of pet portraits, and just teaching myself to paint,” she said. “And then I discovered abstract art and found my voice as an artist, so it’s been ‘off to the races’ ever since then.”
Every Saturday in August, Withapea will be at the MAC to meet with guests. She said she’s received a lot of support in the mid Island and many of her collectors have since become friends. She looks forward to discussing her work with those who attend the show.
“There’s a personal connection between an artist and their art and so for me one of the greatest things is sharing that, the story of the painting,” she said.
WHAT’S ON … Pattiann Withapea presents Designs From My Abstract Mind at the McMillan Arts Centre, 133 McMillan St., Parksville, from July 28 to Aug. 29. Thursday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visits must be booked in advance.