Finding Pockets of Artistic Magic

I’m not sure what I would do without the magic that is art in all its many forms.

Sometimes there’s no better antidote for a crappy week than a little magic when you’re not expecting it. And when you desperately need something magical and heartfelt and soul nourishing there aren’t too many things I can think of that equal the beauty of music and art. WesleyHardisty

I left the house on Sunday and headed over to Maillardville to check out the Festival du Bois. I was motivated when I saw that Wesley Hardisty from Salt Spring was part of a fiddle jam happening that afternoon in Mackin House, a beautifully restored heritage house.

We all crowded into the tiny living room, standing room only in the hall, and I felt as if I’d been transported to what I imagine a kitchen party in Cape Breton might be like, minus the good homemade hooch.

I love the collaborative and improvisational nature of how fiddlers decide on the next tune, the banter between them, and a wee story as introduction.  I was seated on the floor directly at their feet and it just made me so happy after, okay, I’ll admit it, being in such a bad mood for most of the week.   They played and somewhere in the dining room behind us, someone had a set of wooden spoons to add to the ambiance, and they clacked out the rhythm to the toe tapping.  It was such a welcome bit of magic injected into an otherwise frustrating week.

And again, this afternoon, as I often do, I got out of the house after a morning of focus. I headed over to Deep Cove and wandered around a bit before checking out the small Seymour Art Gallery there. I came upon an exhibit which focused on repetition. It was inspired by French artist Gilles Deleuze who wrote, “I make, remake and unmake my concepts along a moving horizon.”

The press release said, “In these six artists’ work by repeating the process of depicting their subjects over and over, the original meaning of the project starts to slip and the process itself gains importance.”

facesmall

This painting, above, by Suzanne Fulbrook, is a self portrait of a kind. She has exclusively painted her own face since 2008. “When you say a word 30 times or more, it appears to lose its meaning, becomes harder to say and becomes almost meditative. What happens if you repeatedly paint an image of yourself?” I guess she could now tell us.

I had a private curated talk by Vanessa Black, an Emily Carr grad, a painter, and the gallery assistant, and of course her descriptions provided the insights that brought the process and the works to life even more.

Monstersmall

This is by Elizabeth MacKenzie, a growing series of ink drawings to consider and affirm the experience of difference through the archetypal figure of Frankenstein’s monster. She is particularly fascinated by the un-named creature that Dr. Frankenstein created in Mary Shelley’s 1818 classic novel. She draws these on rice paper and puts them directly onto the wall.

It was a really interesting afternoon topped off by a late birthday dinner with a friend.

Vanessa will be hosting a talk this Sunday and a free bookbinding workshop for kids at 11 am and for adults at 2 pm.

A new exhibit called Tattoo, Ink and Flesh, with BC tattoo artists showing photographs of their most memorable works on skin, and discussing the challenges of working on a living medium is happening, March 15 from 2-4 pm. Local poets will perform and all poets are invited for some on the spot literary sharing.

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