CULTIVATING CREATIVITY: Local artists reconvene and “Re-Imagine” at Expressions Art Show

By Allen Steinberg/Quinte Arts Council

The Quinte Arts Council’s Expressions biennial juried art show, hosted by the Parrott Gallery, features artists and artisans from throughout the Quinte region. The show displays over 80 pieces from 44 artists working in a variety of media, including: painters, photographers, woodworkers, sculptors, metal workers, textile artists, folk artists and mixed media arts. This year, artists were tasked with applying the theme “Re-Imagine” into their work.

For many of the artists, it’s the first time their art can be viewed in-person since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Wendy Rayson-Kerr, the acting curator of the Parrott Gallery, says that Expressions is a fantastic way to kick off the gallery’s re-opening:

“The Parrott Gallery has re-opened just in time to showcase a wide variety of artwork by local artists. Expressions is such an exciting way for us to re-open to the public. If anyone was wondering what Quinte-area artists have been doing through the pandemic, this show will answer those questions. Through a large variety of mediums and styles, artists have taken the theme “Re-Imagine” and offered up an exhibition full of exciting, high quality artwork, ready for our community to enjoy, in person and online,” she says.

While artists are happy to have their work publicly showcased once again, the final result is the product of many months in the making after running into some unavoidable setbacks. Expressions’ official date was pushed back several times due to working around the province’s lockdown restrictions. Despite this, the turnout was remarkable. QAC Executive Director Janet Jarrell says: “Artists have been very patient. We announced Expressions in February and we had to push back the launch date several times. It all paid off though! The turnout has been truly special and we can’t thank the artists and jurors enough for their cooperation.”

She adds: “The resilience and tenacity of artists to continue creating throughout the pandemic has been truly remarkable. Expressions embodies and celebrates that spirit.”

Expressions was juried by renowned painter Valerie Kent and ceramic artist Bill Reddick. Both agreed it was an exceptional collection of art. Out of 44 artists, they chose three winners as well as a handful of honourable mentions.

Juror’s Choice Award: Peter Bates, Regeneration

“Regeneration shows mastery of execution. It has a lovely sense of depth and perception.

There is beautiful light in the background and in the foreground. Its asymmetry is pleasing, as is its organic patterning. It has an s-shaped composition, a landscape that juxtaposes the complementary colours which make the whole vibrate. It evokes many interpretations with its motion, balance and tension. It is like a well-crafted piece of music,” says juror Kent.

Juror’s Choice Award: Michelle Hutchinson, Voices

“‘Voices’ is loosely painted, but tightly conceived. It has an atmospheric quality

moving into the distance as if it is being looked at from the landscape above,” says Kent. “Colours are repeated around the picture plane making it both abstract yet it has an inherent representational feel, much as a landscape might, with its sky, horizon and foliage. It knows restraint in its calligraphy, has a nice balance and unique colour choices. It is textural and the dark tonalities contrast to create that sense of depth. It speaks a creative language.’

Craft Council Award: Joanne Rich, Discovering the Garden

“It is a unique interpretation with its organic forms teased out of nature, its masterful competency working with the materials and the way the paper is created to highlight the shapes. It may appear as a shell, as sand dunes, as pathways of light. The branches are critical as escaped freedom expressed by the freed branches that keep it from being an enclosed space. In fact, it is suggestive of more space. It is foraged material: earthy, naturally pigmented and of handmade papers. It has originality of idea and concept, and is so engaging. It is quiet and yet, it pulls you in.”

The Expressions art show is open to the public until August 15 and will be available as a virtual show. For more information, visit: quinteartscouncil.org/2021-expressions