Board member and secretary of Gallery Vertigo Brigitte Red, left, and communications director Donna Mair hang artwork in preparation for the Photo 2 Fibre artshow Monday. The Photo 2 Fibre exhibit is on display during the month of April, with an opening night reception Thursday. (Parker Crook/Morning Star)

Board member and secretary of Gallery Vertigo Brigitte Red, left, and communications director Donna Mair hang artwork in preparation for the Photo 2 Fibre artshow Monday. The Photo 2 Fibre exhibit is on display during the month of April, with an opening night reception Thursday. (Parker Crook/Morning Star)

Adding fibre to your photography

Gallery seeks to change the way people view fibre and photography as art forms

Parker Crook

Morning Star Staff

When thinking of art, elaborate contemporary masterpieces of the brush or sculpture radiating beauty come to mind, with mediums such as fibre and photography often left behind.

Gallery Vertigo, home of the non-profit society North Okanagan Artists Alternative, seeks to end that disassociation with their month-long Photo 2 Fibre art show.

“The idea that generated this was a need for people to recognize that fibre artists and photographers are artists,” said Brigitte Red, secretary of Gallery Vertigo and a fibre artist herself.

“Just because they don’t use a brush and acrylics (doesn’t mean) that their art is any less valuable. It’s always very hard for fibre artists to exhibit their work. Most established galleries consider it as arts and crafts.”

Until recently, there hasn’t been a concerted effort in Canada to recognize fibre art as equal to traditional art forms, she said, adding that many got their start in the unique art form through making quilts.

Red felt the best way to bridge that gap would be through an exhibit where photographers and fibre artists work together. The exhibit displays the picture and fibre creation side-by-side so the patron can view the fibre artist’s rendition of the original, ranging from a direct representation to an abstract interpretation.

One piece in particular, a photograph of a flower, was distributed to four fibre artists in charge of recreating a quarter of the work, each using different textiles to complete the job.

The fibre art on display is comprised of a large variety of mediums, ranging from a fabric base to embellishments such as beads, fur, and feathers.

“Some will actually use watercolour pencils to heighten the depth of colour,” said Red.

In some cases, the photographer and fibre artist are the same person, but the idea is to encourage artists to collaborate with one another.

And with 31 artists on display, collaboration is everywhere to be found.

In October 2016, Gallery Vertigo put out an open call, meaning there was no attached theme, to fibre artists and photographers through Facebook for the exhibit.

“As the pieces came in, the ones we liked, we wanted to make sure we had enough to cover the walls,” said Red. Now, she laughs, they certainly have enough to fill the walls of the downtown gallery.

“Pieces range in size from 8×10 up to large scale panels and our little gallery is going to be stuffed full of colour and texture,” said Donna Mair, communications director of Gallery Vertigo. “Our Photo 2 Fibre is going to be a very unique art show.”

Comprised of artists from many different walks of life, the art show is aimed at showcasing local talent.

“Ultimately, the goal is to encourage local and emerging artists, and to provide a venue for the just starting and mid-way. This is just one of the facets to exhibit local artists,” said Red, noting the difficulty to display work at the larger galleries as a surfacing artist.

“We just want to make sure the community knows we’re here and there are exciting things happening,” said Red.

In addition to the galleries put on to help local talent, the volunteer-run Gallery Vertigo has studio spaces available for rent, all in the name of bettering Vernon’s art scene.

In the future, Red said Gallery Vertigo hopes to collaborate more with other venues in town.

To launch the Photo 2 Fibre art show, Gallery Vertigo, located at #102-3105 28th Ave., is hosting an opening reception Thursday, April 6 from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., with light refreshments and visiting artists. The work will be on display until April 29. Admission is by donation. Visit www.galleryvertigo.com for more information.