Vernon-raised artist Katie Brennan has been making waves ever since she picked up a paint brush.
Currently the curator at the Lake Country Art Gallery, and the founder of the new online arts and culture magazine, oook.ca, Brennan continues to immerse herself deep in the trenches of the Okanagan arts scene.
Next week she will be the focus of attention when her solo exhibition, aptly titled Chasing Waves, opens at Vernon’s Headbones Gallery.
“Brennan’s social outreach is an extension of her work,” said Headbones co-owner and founder Julie Oakes. “She generates a broad swath of positive influence so that we are disarmed to move towards a positive engagement. She moves mountains and increases the flow.”
After graduating from Kalamalka Secondary School, Brennan pursued her studies at what was then Okanagan University College, and completed her bachelor of fine arts degree at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. Completing internships at both the Helen Pitt and Vancouver art galleries, she went on to get her masters in fine art at the University of Guelph.
Returning to the Okanagan in 2009, Brennan was a sessional lecturer, instructing drawing and painting at UBC Okanagan while setting into motion a list serve that would become oook.ca. The online publication now gets from 400 visitors a week, and has extensive listings covering the valley.
Brennan also fulfilled a self-directed residency at the Banff School of Fine Arts in 2011, where Kitty Scott, once the curator of The National Gallery of Canada, was the director.
Her work was the subject of an introductory exhibition previewed in Headbones’ Drawers Gallery in October, with large paper pieces based on corporate car logos. The striped monochromatic works laid the ground for a new series that first appeared while Brennan was completing her artist residency in Banff.
Challenged by the grandeur of the surrounding landscape, Brennan’s head turned from materialistic subjects to nature, said Oakes.
“Sounds of the mountain streams were pervasive and seeped into her work. The stripes became water runnels, currents and effervescent bubbles. She completed a wall of water drawings that mysteriously related one to the other as if they were all en route to the sea.”
Besides Brennan’s water-based work, Headbones will also show watercolours and ink drawings by Ontario-based artist Lorne Wagman in its Drawers Gallery.
The work will show the ragged, bushy, overgrown and blousy side of nature in contrast with Brennan’s architectonic handling, said Oakes.
“Wagman looks closely and recognizes every weed, lichen or stone with consideration,” she said. “He lives near Tom Thompson’s birthplace of Owen Sound and it is as if the spirit of the famous painter inhabits his personal aura.
“Wagman’s lush canvases are deservedly recognized by Ontario’s art elite as authentic and inspired, yet his practice is down to earth and connected to the flora with a near intimate proximity. Wagman breathes nature.”
Both exhibitions open Tuesday and continue to March 17. Regular hours are Tuesday to Saturday, noon to 6 p.m.
An artist’s reception takes place Feb. 17 at Headbones, 6700, Old Kamloops Road, between 6 and 9 p.m. Musician Dale Ziech will perform with his 3 Men 1 Accordion.