Artists Fern Helfand

Artists Fern Helfand

Book showcases Okanagan artists in their studios

Patricia Ainslie launches new book, Okanagan Artists in their Studios, at Vernon's Headbones Gallery.

When Patricia Ainslie, former curator of Calgary’s Glenbow Museum, moved to Kelowna in 2006, she knew some of the artists in the region by their international reputations.

What surprised her was that some community members seemed less aware of their local artists’ fame than did the wider world.

At the same time, on the national scene, people seemed not to recognize the strong concentration of artists to the place they now call home.

That’s how Okanagan Artists in their Studios took shape.

In the hardcover book, with copy by Ainslie and photos of the artists by Kelowna photographer Glenna Turnbull, 13 professional Canadian artists who have well-established careers and now live and work in the Okanagan are highlighted.

“They are artists who have made a contribution to the development of the visual arts in Canada far beyond the Okanagan, through their own work, as well as teaching, mentoring younger artists and exhibiting their work,” said Ainslie.

“They have had solo exhibitions or been included in exhibitions in public galleries across Canada and internationally and may have dealers in major cities, such as Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary.”

Some of those artists featured call the North Okanagan home, including Falkland’s Ann Kipling, Commonage resident Bryan Ryley and Headbones Gallery owner Julie Oakes of Vernon.

Other artists highlighted include Gary Pearson, Briar Craig, Byron Johnston, Jim Kalnin and Fern Helfand, who are all professors in the creative studies department at UBC Okanagan, as well as David Alexander, John Hall, Joice M. Hall, Jock Hildebrand, and Daphne Odjig.

All of the book’s artists currently have their work exhibited, along with other well known area artists, in the exhibition, OK Thaumaturgy aka Okanagan Wonders, at Headbones Gallery. The exhibition is open now until Sept. 27.

The public is welcome to meet Ainslie as well as some of the artists featured in Okanagan Artists in their Studios, at a book launch at Headbones, 6700 Old Kamloops Rd., Sunday, Sept. 15 from 2 to 5 p.m.