night dreaming oil painting on canvas by Canadian contemporary artist Barbra Edwards, Pender Island, BC
April 14 2019
H o m a g e

I’m excited to be part of the group exhibition of southern Gulf Islands artists opening this Easter weekend at Mahon Hall on Salt Spring Island. Last fall we were invited to produce a piece in tribute to a creative person who has influenced our personal work. H o m a g e, curated by Patrick McCallum, will showcase drawings, paintings, prints, sculpture, ceramics and installation art. Part of McCallum's show overview read:

“As artists, our work remains the unique assimilation of our influences. Never truly working in isolation,

we draw heavily from the creative minds whose genius, innovation, and courage have helped to shape our own voice.”

 
As a painter I realize I stand on the shoulders of many accomplished artists who have gone before me.  Rather than narrow down to one from the many artists whose work I’m passionate about, I jumped to another genre. That decision turned out to be an intense and expanding challenge!
 
I celebrate the poet Mary Oliver whose poetry I’ve spent both happy and teary-eyed hours with. Oliver’s words make me feel we are kindred spirits who share this deep love of nature; that her passion was in sync with my own. Her intimate observations celebrate the quiet occurrences of nature with an uncomplicated, direct gaze.
 
I’m interested in words and paint. Not words that are drawn or collaged into a painting but rather how a line of poetry can be completely, gorgeously visual. Oliver’s poems help me see what she saw. Her words continue to influence ones thinking long after reading them. I strive for that kind of clear language in my paintings, a visual story where content draws you in. Abstraction is ambiguous by nature so it’s a challenge!

Three of my fellow Pender Islanders are also in the H o m a g e  show: photographer Diane MacDonald, painter Kenna Barradell and fibre artist Joanna Rogers. If you are on Salt Spring Island over Easter or the following week, please come by and say hi. (I'll also be sitting the show Wednesday afternoon April 24)

H o m a g e    Mahon Hall, Salt Spring Island

exhibition opens  -  F r i d a y   A p r i l  1 9 - A p r i l   2 8   2 0 1 9
artist's opening  -    F r i d a y   A p r i l  1 9    6 - 9  p m
 

for artist list, weekend events and panel discussions, click here:
Salt Spring Arts Council

studio shot of my painting Night Dreaming homage to Mary Oliver) 
(click for details)

 

Sleeping in the Forest  (by Mary Oliver)

 

I thought the earth

remembered me, she

took me back so tenderly, arranging

her dark skirts, her pockets

full of lichens and seeds. I slept

as never before, a stone

on the riverbed, nothing

between me and the white fire of the stars

but my thoughts, and they floated

light as moths among the branches

of the perfect trees. All night

I heard the small kingdoms breathing

around me, the insects, and the birds

who do their work in the darkness. All

night I rose and fell, as if in water, grappling

with a luminous doom. By morning

I had vanished at least a dozen times

into something better.

                                                                                                                                                              

 

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