Edge of the Forest is an exciting exhibition of textile art by 53 artists from across Canada who are members of the Surface Design Association. This juried exhibition of textile art features weaving, felt work, quilts, printing, machine and hand stitched work and other techniques that give structure, pattern and colour to textile. The exhibition is designed to travel across Canada to provide Canadian artists an opportunity to showcase their work in local venues. It aims to introduce the viewers to the variety and beauty of textile art, as well as to inspire other artists to explore these art forms.
Our travelling exhibition “mended” has completed it’s tour! thanks to all the artists for their participation in the exhibition, the show has been seen and enjoyed by hundreds of people and none of that would be possible without their hard work!
Catherine Nicholls did an Artist in Residence while mended was at Place des Arts in Coquitlam. (It was sponsored by Westminster Savings and Catherine was paid). School kids (a range of ages and types of schools) came and we reached 275+ kids , 18 seniors and 22 volunteers from Place des Arts in hands on, 90 minute workshops. Students created a little book with a “mended” cover and a reference insert ( comic book style) of mending stitches.
Textile artists inspired by mosaic artist, Lilian Broca
On March 8, International Women’s Day, Vancouver area SDA members met at the Italian Cultural Centre to host a talk and exhibition tour of Heroine of a Thousand Pieces by internationally known mosaic artist, Lilian Broca.
Created out of closely fitting hand-cut smalto glass fragments or tesserae, Lilian’s work was immediately intriguing to textile surface designers. Those who attended were visibly energized and inspired by Lilian’s words, and the impressive sketches and mosaic works of her Judith Series, on exhibit.
For Lilian, “the artist’s role is to listen, question and to expose.” And over the last 20 years, her work “has asserted the powerful female” by retelling ancient stories of women heroes who, despite societal restrictions, become leaders in their communities through acts of courage and sacrifice.
The artist discussed her use of colour, light and pushing the boundaries of historical expectations of her chosen medium, techniques, and narratives, to realize a contemporary and personally relevant artistic vision. She shared with us her research and preparation for each series of her works, her personal connection to her subject matter and her approach to bringing naturalistic sensuality, light and liveliness to the pixilated design surface of her compelling mosaics. We were glad to have had the opportunity to spend some time with this kindred spirit.
In the question period after her talk, Lilian talked about her experiences having her distinctive mosaics reproduced without her permission or knowledge on clothing and other items around the world. Making her own limited edition silk scarves using her imagery is her own statement and response. For an interesting read on this topic, see the recent interview with Lilian in the Globe and Mail.
Here are a few pictures and further notes from that day.
Photos: S. Senaratne
Lilian noted that late last year, the Guggenheim Museum presented an exhibition called “STORYLINES: Contemporary Art at the Guggenheim”, a group exhibition examining how artists today forge new paradigms for storytelling. Drawing attention a kind of fashion that can sometimes sweep though artistic practice and how important it is to have confidence in your own personal vision, she went on to say, “Personally, I’ve been telling stories in my art since the 80s, when such art was hardly considered cutting edge…I formulate my own personal vision while remaining true to myself.”
Working with the aesthetics of Byzantine mosaic and creating a more naturalistic Post Modernist one, her contemporary art has been recontextualizing female narratives.
“The Bible offers humanity profound insight into tough political and personal issues. The fascinating biblical books of Esther and Judith inspired me to recreate, or retell them through my own artistic, distilled vision. Terrible things happen in both stories. The Book of Esther includes a plot of genocide, a family’s execution, and the slaying of thousands. The Judith story speaks of the gory beheading of Assyrian General Holofernes by a Jewish widow who singlehandedly saves a whole town from slavery… the Books of Esther and Judith must be understood not just literally but also metaphorically.”
“I have erroneously been called a “religious artist”, but religion is not only a story of faith, it is a story of history and social values.”
“Esther and Judith’s stories each promote an individual, and particularly a woman’s sacrifice and determination to defend the liberty of her people.”
“After extensive research of the historical period in which the stories take place, I begin with sketching from models. Many, many, sketches which ultimately get painted as mosaic cartoons. These become guides for the duration of the mosaic execution.” These preparatory sketches and cartoons were exhibited along side the mosaics and added depth and delight for visitors to the show.
Lilian Broca’s show, A Heroine of a Thousand Pieces, is currently on exhibit at Toronto’s JD Carrier Art Gallery from May 5 – July 4, 2016. In August 2016, two of the Judith series mosaics travel to the curated group exhibition called “Characters in a Book” at the Lexington Public Library Fine Art gallery in Lexington, KY. Finally, from January 22nd to April 23rd, 2017, the entire exhibition goes to The Museum of Biblical Art in Dallas TX.
An intrepid team from the Vancouver Island SDA group received and installed the National Touring Exhibition “Edge of the Forest” at the Coast Collective Gallery in Colwood, BC on Monday, March 21. The exhibition is on view until April 3.
Special thanks to the wonderful team from the Vancouver Island Surface Design Association group who have organized the arrival of the “Edge of the Forest” exhibition in BC and the associated “Gathering at the Edge” event coming very soon.
Left to right: Gina Dingwell, Barbara McCaffrey, Lesley Turner and Laura Feeleus.
Our SDA BC+Yukon touring exhibition mended has opened at FibreWorks Gallery on the Sunshine Coast. It will be on view until October 4.
The opening on Saturday August 29 was well attended despite high winds carrying over from the big weekend storm. Yvonne Stowell reports that about 70 people attended and had a grand time despite the power going off.
There are a number of dates where SDA members will be in attendance at the gallery, stitching, or working on current work. These are perfect opportunities to drop by, see the exhibition and bring along some hand-work!
Saturday, September 19 – Sharon Roye and Anne Gregory
Sunday, September 20 – Pat Crucil
Saturday, September 26 – Anni Hunt and Catherine Nicholls
Wednesday, September 30 – Thomas Roach
Saturday, October 3 – Jill Sullivan
Yes, indeed, the Vancouver SDA group ventured outside of its usual Vancouver/North Shore circuit to visit Coquitlam’s Art Gallery at Evergreen Cultural Centre, delightfully on the occasion of the exhibition of Shamina Senaratne and Christie Lim. Their two person show is entitled Here and Through and Back and Through. Each of the artists took us on a guided tour of the gallery installation and spoke about their work and their process of working together. Though they had not known each other or the other’s work previous to this exhibit, it has been a happy collaboration. Evergreen Gallery Curator Gregory Elgstrand made the connection between the two artists.
The world has a mirror, and holds up mirrors. Yet one can see through it all. Shadows have meaning. Voice comes from context and conscience.
“Each artist draws inspiration from the long and short moments of experience that provide opportunities for artistic contemplation.” – Gregory Elgstrand, curator
Don’t miss this opportunity to see the work of two local textile artists in this unique collaboration. On view at the Evergreen Cultural Centre in Coquitlam until July 11.