Perhaps it is the magic of the tranquil forest meadow, brought to life with birds, bees, beloved animals and abundant flowers; or the surrounding forest where majestic cedar sculptures that have been transformed into powerful standing images stand solo or in groupings; the home of sculptor Michael Dennis and painter Dawn Stofer is ground zero for the creative works of this Island couple.
Showing together for the first time in this, the second show of the Denman Island Summer Art Gallery season, Dawn and Michael’s works invite the viewer to reflect on how their close attention to nature has been interpreted, using two different art forms sharing minimal line, form and gesture, and essentially “two minds.”
The artists encourage the viewer to bring their own readings to the archetypes presented. Curated by Barbara Mullin, the works combine their recurrent themes to co-ordinate into a show that promises visitors to the gallery a significant experience.
Stofer has lived on Denman Island for 17 years and devotes her time to creative endeavours. She has exhibited paintings in galleries in Vancouver, Victoria and London, England over the last 30 years. In addition to drawing and painting, she writes poetry and fiction, and draws cartoons. Stofer also publishes the Mr. Stofer cartoon in The Grapevine, Denman Island’s weekly newspaper. A keen observer, Stofer works almost entirely from memory. She employs dramatic use of colour and suggestion over description.
In Dawn’s own words, this selection of her work presents several themes which recur to her: landscape, nature, human solitude. In exploring these themes, she hopes to bring vigour to the static, to disturb the placid and to provoke a closer consideration. We think she does this rather well.
|Michael Dennis piece. Michael is well known for his larger-than-life figures that grace collections on Denman Island.|
Dennis, who has lived on Denman and sculpted wood since 1985, is well known for his larger-than-life figures that grace collections on Denman Island, throughout Canada and the United States, England, Austria and Germany. His works have been exhibited in galleries in Victoria, Vancouver and Seattle.
His sculpture aims to present the essential vitality of the tree of origin so that viewers still see the nature of the tree, but combined with an element of humanity by a gesture or movement so that the viewer recognizes a familiar human form.
In 2015, Dennis began creating smaller figures which, although suited for the smaller spaces many of us now live in, they still retain the sense of stature and significance of his large-scale pieces. The “Shadow Series” featured in this show includes new works in bronze and transitional pieces of cedar that have been transformed using layers of tissue paper and lacquer; a process Dennis has developed that imparts a rich patina leaving the viewer unsure of whether the piece is metallic or wax, or of some yet to be identified material.
As Dennis says, he likes to retain the natural lines of the wood, as well as the marks of the tools that are imprinted by his hand. He likes to mess about with it “naturally.”
The outcome will delight visitors and serious collectors alike.
The show takes place at the Denman Island Art Gallery, located at 1016 Northwest Rd.
There is an opening night reception Thursday, June 13 at 7 p.m.
Show Hours: Weekdays and Saturdays 11-4 p.m. and Sundays 1-3:45 p.m.