When someone first mentions abstract art, typically we hear ourselves saying, “I don’t get it,” or commenting on the Voice of Fire piece, bought by the National Gallery of Canada for nearly $2 million, “My kid can do better than that.”
However, the Parkside Art Gallery in 100 Mile House wants to change that thinking with its upcoming exhibit of abstract art by over 30 local artists – Thoughtform.
The idea for Thoughtform grew from informal conversations among a small group of artists who were exploring abstract art, but as individuals, didn’t have enough pieces for a show.
“They put the word out and over two dozen artists brought art in,” Vivian Zuba explains enthusiastically.
“We have a wide variety of styles and mediums including paintings, digital art, fibre art (art using fibre rather than wood, metal, canvas, etc.), photographs, glass, some jewelry and sculpture.”
Contrary to what people might think, creating abstract art isn’t as easy as it looks.
“It’s much more difficult but more fun,” painter Wayne Larsen explains.
Clay sculptor denise swift, whose Metis heritage has influenced her work, adds, “It’s fun to be challenged … it’s nice to have the freedom to create something different.”
Artists agree, and Gloria Friesen points out humans are surrounded by abstract art in clothing, fabric patterns, furniture, jewelry, and nature.
Take a small square of tree bark to examine up close, swift says, and at that level, it’s abstract.
She notes that virtually every indigenous culture uses abstract designs in their art.
Zuba explains abstract art is all about the balance of colour and form and looking at things differently. Like jazz, she adds, it is full of shape, texture, rhythm and flow, and emotion.
Part of the Thoughtform statement is the acknowledgement that it’s OK not to understand why a piece touches you, but rather just feel and enjoy the spirit of it.
According to Zuba, Larsen’s painting of mountains and river in bold colours and patterns evokes not so much the awareness of Larsen stating, “Gee, it’s the Fraser River,” but rather the powerful geological forces that drove the mountains upwards to the sky.
The exhibit opens on May 31 with a reception from 7 to 9 p.m., and everyone is invited to come and enjoy this art form.
When asked what people hope to take away from the exhibit, Larsen jokes, “A new painting for their living room.”