Local artists come out of the dark

Kaanapali Beach Hotel by Emily Geen, oil on inkjet print mounted to foam board, is one of the pieces in Things I Bumped Into in The Dark, opening at the Lake Country Art Gallery Jan. 9. - Photo submitted
Kaanapali Beach Hotel by Emily Geen, oil on inkjet print mounted to foam board, is one of the pieces in Things I Bumped Into in The Dark, opening at the Lake Country Art Gallery Jan. 9.
— image credit: Photo submitted

A number of Vernon area artists are about show what they bumped into in the dark with the opening of the Lake Country Art Gallery’s latest exhibition.

The gallery is holding the joint exhibition, Things I Bumped Into in the Dark, featuring work by Okanagan-based contemporary artists alongside work of artists from Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Newfoundland.

The crafting of this exhibition, which includes everything from painting and drawing to installation and photo-based work, began with curator Katie Brennan asking herself “what does my curatorial practice look like?”

“Curation, the selection of what is or is not shown in a gallery, and the personal voice of its curators, when delivered right, takes the work in an exhibition and composes in such a way that emphasizes and activates particular aspects of each piece of art,” said Brennan.

“While the selection of work is fairly diverse, there is a thread that runs throughout. All of these artists are interested and engaged in artistic practices that allow room for surprises, personal growth and discovery.”

The show will include Vernon’s Kevin Spetifore, whose highly graphic paper work  has been seen at the Caetani Culture Centre’s Splash of Red event as well as at Headbones Gallery in Vernon. Another local artist, River Lewis, himself the curator of Brew Gallery in the Bean to Brew Coffee House as well as an instructor at the Vernon Community Arts Centre, is showing his large-scale atmospheric painting.

They join ceramics artist Carolina Sanchez de Bustamante, owner of Ashpa Naira Gallery on Westside Road, who will show her ceremonial, sculptural masks, Lake Country’s David Alexander, whose sketching practice through to finished painting will be shown, along with the fantastical blanket fort installation by Julia Prudhomme and the photo/painting work of Emily Geen, who both  have studied fine art at UBC Okanagan.

“This exhibition highlights an engagement with contemporary art and contemporary art issues, such as personal experience, memory, play, research, landscape, artistic traditions and abstraction, that Okanagan-based artists have,” said Brennan.

Alongside these talented local artists, the Lake Country Art Gallery is also showing the abstract paintings of Montreal artist Lesley Anderson, the mixed media, painterly collages of Newfoundland artist Danny Woodrow, photo vignettes based on walks taken in Nelson by Toronto artist Sandra Rechico, and the site specific, photo-based work of Vancouver artist Joey Dubuc and Vancouver/Kelowna artist Kristoff Steinruck.

Things I Bumped Into in the Dark – an exhibition of explorations in contemporary art opens on Jan. 9 from 6 to 8 p.m. Many of the artists will be in attendance for the opening. The exhibitions runs to Feb. 8.

On Jan. 12 at 3 p.m., Lewis, Spetifore and Prudhomme will be on hand for artist talk and discussion about the challenges of maintaining a contemporary art practice in the Okanagan.

On Jan. 23 at 7 p.m., two practicing artists and students of UBC Okanagan, Kelsie Balehowsky and Lucas Glenn, will lead a discussion about medium.

The discussion will focus on the relevance of medium/discipline-based evaluation of art in art education, the market, and the art world. Artists and observers alike are invited to participate in the conversation.

And on Feb. 2 at 3 p.m., UBC Okanagan art history student Laura Wylie will present a talk on the art historical and contemporary connections that the work of the artists in The Things I Bumped Into in the Dark touch on, embrace and work in opposition to. All events and openings are free and open to the public.


The Lake Country Art Gallery is located at 10356A Bottom Wood Lake Rd. Hours and information are available by calling 250-766-1299.



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