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A Heroine of a Thousand Pieces on International Women’s Day

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.

While wearing a scarf printed with one of her Judith mosaics, artist Lilian Broca talks about how each element, from colour choices to her heroine’s stance, has been considered in the creation of her iconic images.
While wearing a scarf printed with one of her Judith mosaics, artist Lilian Broca talks about how each element, from colour choices to her heroine’s stance, has been considered in the creation of her iconic images.

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.

SDA members at the exhibition of Lilian Broca’s Judith Series, Il Museo Gallery, Italian Cultural Centre, Vancouver, March 8, 2016  
SDA members at the exhibition of Lilian Broca’s Judith Series, Il Museo Gallery, Italian Cultural Centre, Vancouver, March 8, 2016

 

Lilian shared a number of example of a textile surface designs created in glass mosaic (Spilimbergo Mosaic School, Northern Italy) She noted that what gives these examples a “liveliness” is the unevenness of the tesserae and the fact that none of the lines are straight.
Lilian shared a number of example of a textile surface designs created in glass mosaic (Spilimbergo Mosaic School, Northern Italy) She noted that what gives these examples a “liveliness” is the unevenness of the tesserae and the fact that none of the lines are straight.

 

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.

Edge of the Forest

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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.

Read all about the installation on Lesley Turner’s BLOG and see more images HERE.

Special thanks to the hanging (and photographing team) of Laura Feeleus, Lesley Turner and Barb McCaffrey.

Gathering at the Edge is almost here!

 

Edge of the Forest on Vancouver Island

 

Thanks to the Gathering Team:

Gathering TeamSpecial 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.

BRAVA!

 

SDA in the ‘burbs?

About the SDA Vancouver May meeting

by Katie Stein Sather

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.

Shamina Senaratne - "...And though the carpet maker didn't say, he now saw the world in a different way"
Shamina Senaratne with her work …And though the carpet maker didn’t say, he now saw the world in a different way , 2015.
96″ X 56″, Hand embroidery. Photo: Katie Stein Sather
Christie Lim DepartureArrivalDeparture
Christie Lim talks about her work: Departure/Arrival/Departure , 2015.
Dimensions variable, mixed media. Photo: Thomas Roach

Some impressions….

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

 

Shamina Senaratne - "Interpreting the Shadows and the Light"
Shamina Senaratne
Interpreting the Shadows and the Light , 2015.
2 of 5 panels, each 36″ X 56″, Textile/hand cutting, collage. Photo: Thomas Roach
Shamina Senaratne - "Interpreting the Shadows and the Light"
Shamina Senaratne
Interpreting the Shadows and the Light , 2015.
2 of 5 panels, each 36″ X 56″, Textile/hand cutting, collage. Photo: Thomas Roach
Christie Lim "Where are you going?"
Christie Lim
Where are you going? , 2015.
Approx. 6″ X 5″, hand embroidery on silk organza. Photo: Thomas Roach
Christie Lim "Chicken head, parsley, carrot, flowers"
Christie Lim
Chicken head, parsley, carrot flowers , 2015.
Approx. 8″ X 7″, Hand embroidery on silk organza. Photo: Thomas Roach

 

 

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.

Evergreen Cultural Centre
1205 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam, BC

Gallery Hours: Monday to Saturday 12-5

 

Read Gregory Elgstrand’s full curatorial essay here.

See a complete list of work in the exhibition here.

 

For further information on the artists,

please visit their websites:

Shamina Senaratne

Christie Lim

interactive demos at ‘mended’

Visitors to 'mended' trying thier hand at mending with Catherine Nicholls
Visitors to ‘mended’ trying their hand at mending with Catherine Nicholls

Many textile artists are grateful for opportunities to share the work that we do with a wider audience, and to provide space for us to talk about our work, show insights into process and encourage people to try their hand.

mended exhibition coordinator Catherine Nicholls and Il Museo curator Angela Clarke have programmed three demo days at the gallery. The first of these was Saturday, March 21, 2015. Exhibition artists Sheila Wex, Michelle Sirois-Silver and Thomas Roach joined Catherine and Angela to demonstrate mending along side their own work.

We saw over 60 people of all ages through the gallery that day, all of whom enjoyed an opportunity to interact directly with artists. Many sat down at the table with us and were able to create a small mending project of their own using fabric scraps, threads and canvas from kits that Catherine and Anni Hunt had put together. Included in the package was printed instruction for simple stitches.

There are two more demonstration days scheduled at Il Museo:
Saturday, April 11 and Saturday, May 9 from 11-2.
Planning is underway for more demo days at other two galleries.

Vancouver Opening of ‘mended’

It was a wonderful night of celebration on Tuesday, March 17 when over 200 people crowded into the gallery at Il Museo at the Italian Cultural Centre. SDA BC+Yukon member artists from Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast and all over metro Vancouver gathered to enjoy fabulous Italian food, wine and applaud the opening of our travelling exhibition ‘mended’

Exhibition coordinator Catherine Nicholls welcomed everyone and introduced Il Museo curator Angela Clarke, who spoke about the artistic strength of the work in the exhibition. SDA BC+Yukon Rep Sheila Wex thanked the exhibition and communications teams for their work in getting the exhibition together and promoted.

Michelle Sirois-Silver
SDA Award of Excellence recipient Michelle Sirois-Silver with her works Extraction 8, Extraction 9 and Extraction 10

Through the efforts of Jennifer Love, we sought permission to grant an SDA Award of Excellence. The recipient of the award for this exhibition is Michelle Sirois-Silver. She has four works in the exhibition from her Extraction series all handhooked with recycled hosiery waste on linen. A triptych of three (Extraction 8, Extraction 9 and Extraction 10) are featured prominently near the entry to the exhibition.

The exhibition continues at Il Museo at the Italian Cultural Centre until May 15.

Gallery Hours are Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 5pm.