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Art full of Heart at Vernon gallery

Image of love celebrated for February show

It’s all hearts at Headbones Gallery for the month of love.

The Old Kamloops Road gallery features the symbol for its February show with Jim Dine, AJ Jaeger, Cecilia Stelini and Pedie Wolfund. A royal high tea and reception kicks off the show called Heart Feb. 5 from 2-5 p.m. The exhibition runs until March 19, open by appointment Wednesday to Saturday from 12 – 5 p.m., call 250-307-5595.

“Extrapolated versions of heart iconography are now commonplace from the relentless emojis that pepper messages today to the ubiquitous joys and pressures of Valentine’s Day,” Headbones owner Julie Oakes said.

Dine, muscly abstract painter and self-described romantic, uses the symbol as a template for exploring colour, texture, composition – tools of the trade – and unavoidably context with the implied meaning and graphic relief of the commonly understood symbol.

Jaeger has explored heart imagery with boundless commitment, in a variety of materials and perspectives, channeling through her hand. Gestural expressivity is uppermost in all her heart works – the impact of traces left by her hand manipulating the symbol, either in paintings or sculptures.

Jaeger’s installation of seven sculptural hearts that occupied the satellite space at the Kelowna International Airport from 2016 – 2017, titled Wanderlust brought heart before the eyes of thousands of travellers. These giant hearts rendered in paper, film tape, felt, twigs, painted canvas, metal and gauze used the same heart shape rekindled each time it was reworked by the limitations and freedoms inherent in the diverse materials. Six of these hearts now reside in the University of British Columbia Okanagan collection granting students within diverse disciplines the respite of a symbol recognized as positive and yet unique.

Stelini approaches affairs of the heart from a visceral stance. A multimedia artist based in Brazil, her works include performance, installation, sculpture, and photography often using her own body as an element in the construction.

The sculptures, displayed in plexiglass boxes as if worthy of worship or so rare as to have to be protected, use heart (the organ) shapes. Stelini had in fact used pig’s hearts in her performances, not the least squeamish of the interior body or of using other species as she acknowledges that “people’s bodies, the natural elements, and the ritual become the hybrid universe of these works.”

Stelini’s large photographic works are a visual diary of the various phases of works completed between 1998 and 2014. She has used a rich wine-colored palette throughout with a formality to the poses that is reminiscent of cultural rites of passage. She has titled these figures Guardians which places them on our side – we are protected without having to have a graphic realization of just what might be out there that we must be protected from. Comforting in their dignity, collected in aspect, the expression “her heart is in the right place” comes to mind, without sentimentality - more as an objective truth.

Wolfund is best known for large abstract works, associated with the Ninth Street Women, conversant with them, literally. Her works have been recognized within the same arena as Dine where her hearts are clearly hearts but not without a good wish. She adopted the imagery and used not only the shape and form but also the unavoidable innuendo of love. A publication of her heart paintings came out in 2011, Find Your Heart Book Two. The author Dianne Collins put it best: “This book is more than an extraordinary collection of paintings. It is an experience of transformation and unity, of light and love.”

“Then there is the other side to Heart - the wounds and scars. Bonaventure wrote: ‘Who is there who would not love this wounded heart?’” said Oakes. “Pains and pangs of the heart whether in terms of ‘love’ or maladies of the physical body – the sense of life giving, growth and love associated with the steady pumping of blood, miraculous as it is, must also contain the opposite. The cessation of the heart’s functions mean death just as the loss of valentine love can create a rent in spirit. The significance of the heart shape can be all encompassing.”

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Jennifer Smith

About the Author: Jennifer Smith

Vernon has always been my home, and I've been working at The Morning Star since 2004.
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