Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

BC Artists: On or Under the Radar

August 27, 2019

by Janet Nicol

My recently published book about artist Sybil Andrews joins a growing list of biographies and memoirs of BC artists who have dedicated their life to creativity, experiencing an array of struggles and successes along the way.

Check out  Off the Page, part of  ‘49th Shelf,’ an on-line publishers’ website where I recommend eight other reads, all beautifully illustrated with the artists’ work. Link at –

https://49thshelf.com/Blog/2019/26/BC-Artists-On-or-Under-the-Radar

Also, the following is a write-up about my book in Preview, an art magazine available at no cost in galleries around BC:

ON THE CURVE: THE LIFE AND ART OF SYBIL ANDREWS is historian Janet Nicol’s deeply researched account of an outstanding artist whose career has cycled in and out of critical focus. The book traces Andrews’ progress from her Suffolk childhood and her art education in London through her enthusiastic embrace of the democratic medium of the linoleum block print. Nicol’s focus is on Andrews’ life and impact after World War II in the then-isolated community of Campbell River, and her eventual international recognition.

Softcover, 158 pp., C$28.95. Available at bookstores, caitlin-press.com or amazon.ca.

Link to Preview page at – http://preview-art.com/catalogues/sep-oct-2019-exhibition-catalogues/

Drawbridge – a book review

July 26, 2019

Drawbridge: Drawing Alongside My Brother’s Schizophrenia
by Joan Boxall Halfmoon Bay: Caitlin Press, 2019

Reviewed by Janet Nicol

A memoir told in ten lyrical essays, Drawbridge: Drawing Alongside My Brother’s Schizophrenia is Joan Boxall’s moving tribute to her brother, Stephen Corcoran. In the early 2000s, Joan became co-trustee of Stephen following the death of their parents. So began her enlightening ten-year journey supporting a brother with a mental illness. Joan intersperses research, observations, and thoughts with her poetry, each essay framed within a theme of art — the powerful tool that provided a path for Joan and Stephen to connect.

The pair spent many Tuesdays mornings figure drawing from live models at Basic Inquiry studio and gallery on Vancouver’s Main Street. Stephen held two exhibitions at Basic Inquiry prior to his death from cancer following a short illness in 2013, aged 64.

The full review is available at The Ormsby Review, an on-line journal.
Link at – https://ormsbyreview.com/2019/07/26/584-brother-artist-at-the-edge/

Steven Corcoran drawing, May 2011

‘On the Curve’ book event – Silk Purse Arts Centre

July 17, 2019

‘On the Curve’ book event at Silk Purse Arts Centre
Sunday, September 29, 2019 at 4:30 to 6pm

As part of the Creative Voices program sponsored by the West Vancouver Community Arts Council, I will be giving a presentation about my book, “On the Curve: The Life and Art of Sybil Andrews” at the Silk Purse Arts Centre on Sunday, September 29 at 4:30 to 6pm.

Following a power point presentation and Q and A, copies of book will be for sale, along with an author signing.

The event is free and will be accepting pay-what-you can donations. Registration is at  –
https://westvanartscouncil.ca/event-3482194

More about “On the Curve” at “All Lit Up” newsletter – link at https://alllitup.ca/Blog/2019/Beautiful-Books-On-the-Curve-The-Life-and-Art-of-Sybil-Andrews

Thank you to all who came out to the book talk at the Silk Purse.  It was a lovely afternoon of art talk in a ‘cottage’ style space with opened French doors leading to the beach,  in the distance, cruise ships heading out to sea.

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Glenbow museum holds Sybil Andrews exhibition

June 27, 2019

Sybil Andrews – Art and Life
October 19, 2019 – January 12, 2020
Glenbow Museum, Calgary Alberta
Curated by Hana Leaper

According to the Glenbow’s website:

“Glenbow’s connection with Sybil Andrews began in the early 1980s, when the museum organized an exhibition of her linocuts. As a result of this interest in her work, Andrews gifted more than 500 of her artworks to Glenbow, as well as the contents of her studio, which included personal papers and objects, making Glenbow the major study centre for Andrews’ life and work.”
Link to full page at https://www.glenbow.org/exhibitions/sybil-andrews-art-and-life/

Dr. Hana Leaper, curator of the exhibition, is employed at Liverpool John Moores University, England and author of “Sybil Andrews Linoctus: A Complete Catalogue.”

Leaper wrote of “On the Curve: The Life and Art of Sybil Andrews” –

“Nicol has produced a compelling narrative of Andrews’ life, from her early years in Bury St Edmunds, to the artistic and musical communities she nurtured in the remote town of Campbell River on the coast of British Columbia. It is impressively researched and sensitively written.”

Copies of “On the Curve” are available through independent book stores and select Chapters/Indigo stores.  I will be selling copies of “On the Curve” at Dundarave Print Workshop (Granville Island) on Thursdays (11-5pm) over the summer months and am available for book talks/clubs.

 

“On the Curve: The Life and Art of Sybil Andrews”

April 12, 2019

by Janet Nicol

Published by Caitlin Press, Halfmoon Bay, May 31, 2019
$28.95 paperback, fully illustrated

Sybil Andrews was one of Canada’s most prominent artists working throughout the late twentieth century. From a cottage by the sea in Campbell River, Andrews created striking linocut prints steeped in feeling and full of movement. Inspired by the working-class community that she lived in, her art is known for its honest depiction of ordinary people at work and play on Canada’s West Coast.

Although she was raised in Bury St Edmunds, England, “On the Curve” focuses on Andrews’ life after she immigrated to Canada in 1947. Settling in Campbell River, Andrews taught private art and music lessons and created artwork that gained her recognition across the globe. In the final years of her life, retrospective exhibitions of her prints in Canada and Britain skyrocketed her popularity. Prints of her artwork became even more valuable after her death in 1992.

I visited England, the Glenbow in Calgary and Campbell River in 2018 and in this biography, interweave stories from Andrews’ letters, diaries and interviews from her former students and friends, to create a portrait of this determined, resilient and gifted British-Canadian artist. Andrews’ work is as popular today as it was in her lifetime and continues to celebrate the cultural, industrial, agricultural and natural world of Canada’s West Coast.

Watch for announcements of a book launch in Campbell River this upcoming June, 2019 followed by book talks in Vancouver. For more information, go to caitlin-press.com

A lithograph print of Sybil Andrews by author Janet Nicol, inspired by an archival photograph of Sybil on Sark Island, off the coast of Normandy, France in the 1930s.

That Seventies Show

January 30, 2018

by Janet Nicol

The cleverly titled Rereading Room, an installation by Vancouver artist Alexandra Bischoff, is a centerpiece for Beginning with the Seventies: Glut, which celebrates art, archives and activism as they pertain to the women’s movement. On view at UBC’s Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery until April 8, Bischoff’s work consists of some 100 books assembled on shelves lined along a wall, covers facing outward.

Viewers browsing the collection are transported back to the 1970s, when women awakened to the pervasive sexism around them aided by books such as Germaine Greer’s The Female Eunuch, Margaret Atwood’s The Edible Woman and Our Bodies, Ourselves, which takes a frank look at women’s health and sexuality. Bischoff based her archive on an early inventory list from the Vancouver Women’s Bookstore, a downtown fixture from 1973 to 1996.

Additionally, 13 female artists and activists are occupying the installation, here in its second iteration, giving the work a performative dimension. At various times, they sit at the installation’s table or on the couch, reading and writing reflections that will be archived later. Visitors are welcome to join in.
The Rereading Room underscores the importance of feminist texts and the once-pervasive network of independent women’s bookstores across Canada, both for the wider community and for artists. The Vancouver bookstore was the first, and like the others, created a space for women to gather, engage in dialogue and offer mutual support.

Curator Lorna Brown says social movements of the 1970s are of keen interest to young artists today. “They have observed the activism and cultural production of the 1970s, but there is a gap in their knowledge about many of the organizations in this period,” she says.

Feminist, environmental and anti-racist movements, to name a few, left a document trail in public and private archives throughout Vancouver’s Lower Mainland. The exhibition exposes, celebrates – and critiques – this abundance (or “glut”) of materials. “We are able to build a complex and rich understanding of our histories as a result,” says Brown.

Other artists in the show explore language as a medium and material. These pieces include a series of provocative posters by Winnipeg-born Divya Mehra and Vancouver artist Allyson Clay’s Double Self Portrait, an unsettling photograph of books being tossed from an apartment window. Also on view are works by two Vancouver-based artists – Kathy Slade’s text-embedded weavings and Gathie Falk’s glazed ceramic piece, 14 Rotten Apples. The gallery’s commissions include Lisa Robertson’s Proverbs of a She-Dandy, a limited-edition book. Also in the show are Jamelie Hassan, Germaine Koh, Laiwan, Kristina Lee Podesva, Elizabeth Zvonar and others.

Re-printed from Galleries West Digital magazine, January 30, 2018 – link at http://www.gallerieswest.ca

Historic Photos of the North

February 28, 2017

When Geraldine Moodie created a 1906 portrait of several Inuit mothers with their offspring, including two naked babies, her camera captured an atmosphere of maternal ease and warmth. “Inuit women and children at summer camp, Fullerton Harbour, Nunavut,” like many of her other images, reflects her affinity for northern women.

Like her subjects, Moodie, who lived from 1854 to 1945, raised a family in isolated communities. Once her six children were grown, she and her husband, Douglas, a senior officer in the North-West Mounted Police, travelled to the Far North in 1903, where they documented the way of life in settler and Inuit communities for the following seven years.

Now, the work of this talented and adventurous couple is the subject of an exhibition, Historic Photographs of the Canadian North, on view at Calgary’s Glenbow Museum from Feb. 18 to Sept. 10.

See my full review in Galleries West digital at –

http://www.gallerieswest.ca/artists/previews/historic-photos-of-the-north/

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Lethbridge’s Galt Museum explores life of early artist

May 7, 2015

Kirk.4

by Janet Nicol

“She sought adventure and she had courage,” says Wendy Aikens, who organized an exhibition about early English-Canadian watercolorist Edith Fanny Kirk at the Galt Museum and Archives in Lethbridge, June 6 to October 12.  Watch for the full article in summer, 2015 issue of Galleries West magazine.

Watercolor painting above by Edith Fanny Kirk is entitled “Banff at November,” 1947.

Ruptures in Arrival: Art in the Wake of the Komagata Maru

May 31, 2014

komogata

“Ruptures in Arrival” at Surrey Art Gallery, April 12 to June 15, 2014

Reviewed by Janet Nicol

This powerful group exhibition is one of several events this year to mark the 100th anniversary of Canada’s refusal to allow entry by 376 Indian migrants aboard a Japanese steamship, the Komagata Maru. Much has been written about the incident, part of Canada’s troubled history of thwarting immigration from Asia, but curator Jordan Strom believes this is the largest exhibition to engage the topic. The show includes 10 artists who use painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, video and installation to reflect not only on the specific incident, but also on more recent histories of oceanic migration. It features work by Vancouver artists, including notable figures such as Ken Lum and Paul Wong, along with artists who live elsewhere in Canada, as well as India and the United States.

Full article in Galleries West magazine, Fall/Winter, 2014.
Link at http://www.gallerieswest.ca/art-reviews/exhibition-reviews/%22ruptures-in-arrival%3A-art-in-the-wake-of-the-komagata-maru%2C%22/

Artwork shown above is created by Raghavendra Rao

Gordon Smith Gallery

May 1, 2014

art4kids

A “one of a kind” Art Experience for Kids

By Janet Nicol

Vancouver artists, both young and old, have been creating great works beneath North Shore’s twin lion-shaped peaks.   Among them is Gordon Smith, internationally renowned for his art–and as an art educator.  So it’s no surprise a unique artist program for youth, “Artists for Kids,” which Smith helped establish, has been thriving in North Vancouver for more than two decades.

A year ago, the organization moved to the newly-built Gordon Smith Gallery of Canadian Art, housed in the North Vancouver School District building. In the lobby, students’ art work from the area’s public schools is displayed.  The exhibit changes each month—and since the building opened—has been in high demand.      

The lobby exhibit is only a small portion of this unique ‘teaching gallery’ for “kids,” supported by the Gordon and Marion Smith Foundation and conveniently located near retail shops at the top of Lonsdale Street. A visit, whether to register your child for art classes, or to take the family for a gallery walk, is a great weekend outing.  

The concrete and glass building is fronted by a small park, with a meandering path to the entrance foyer.  That’s where I met up with the Smith Foundation director, Astrid Heyerdahl and Artists for Kids director, Yolanda Martinello, to have a tour of the building and learn more about the programs offered.

“We have many public events,” Astrid says as we move through castle-size cedar doors, beautifully carved with storied images by Xwalacktun (Rick Harry), a Coast Salish artist.  Astrid says the Foundation is just getting started with its plans for outreach events for youth and families all over the Lower Mainland.   There is plenty of parking space nearby and transit access is only a sea bus and chain of bus stops away. “Our location really opens this up,” Astrid says.  

Below the gallery’s high ceilings is a maze of low partitioned walls.  The current exhibit, pulled from more than 500 art pieces from the program’s collection, has many recognizable works by Canadian artists, including Artists for Kids’ other co-founders, Jack Shadbolt and Bill Reid.

“We offer a one day program to grade five classes across the Lower Mainland,” Yolanda says.  “In the morning students view and critique the gallery exhibit and in the afternoon, they work on their own art.”

At the back of the gallery is a space for students to watch videos and examine artist tools, such as print makers’ carving tools and wooden blocks.

“We hire Canadian artists and critque Canadian art,” Yolanda emphasizes, although she says educators will discuss art influences from other parts of the world.    “Canadian art is very rich, she says, “British Columbia especially.”

Yolanda says the grade five program captures a keen age group, willing to take risks.  It’s a popular “school field trip,” and interested participants can then consider enrolling in Art for Kid’s after school program and the summer camp.  

The after school program targets youth from kindergarten to Grade 12 offering courses in everything from jewelry making to acrylics painting. Classes are once a week, for eight weeks, at an affordable cost.   Students’ works are exhibited in the gallery space when the course ends.

At the summer camp, youth of all ages have an exciting opportunity to create under the direction of a Canadian artist.  Last summer’s guest teacher was Vancouver-based artist, Attila Richard Lukas.

 “It’s an enriched art experience,” Yolanda says.  “Students work with highly qualified artists who collaborate with art educators.”

The visiting artist also donates an original work of art from which limited edition prints are made.    Every year Artists for Kids sells the prints to the public and the original piece is added to the program’s valuable collection.  

 “We have alumni from our program come back to teach at the summer camps,” Yolanda says. “Some of these students go on to be artists and art teachers.”  The artistic process allows for youth to work in a non-judgemental atmosphere, Yolanda believes.  “They become self-aware, confident and can voice their opinions,” she says.   She has also observed students who are at-risk in school environments may “fit well in an art room.”

“We nurture their creativity and this stretches in to other aspects of their lives.   It’s life changing.”

For more information go to:  http://www.gordonsmithgallery.ca/