Thursday, March 27, 2014

Making the Right Connections

It is said that, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”
And as we gaze at a painting in an art gallery,
or marvel at a dramatic red sun setting over the horizon,
or being mesmerized by the grandeur of a mountain scape,
or becoming saturated with love of a beauteous garden,
or filled with wonder of a mourning dove's egg hatching a wee baby,

Artists Highlight Nature, Spirituality and the Environment
in James Street North Exhibition.

Regina Haggo, art historian, public speaker, curator and
former professor at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand
teaches at the Dundas Valley School of Art.
Recently, she was featured in a Spectator article...the following are excerpts from her review.

“I believe that artists are  often the ones who create connections with things that others might not,” says Lisa Pijuan-Nomur.  She's an artist but she's also the driving force behind the exhibitions at Hamilton's James Street North Studio.  “Artists often have heightened connections with their environment ~ with nature, with spirituality ~ connections with the world around them and with others,” she comments.

Ralph Heather's Old Meets New, a striking black and white woodcut, joins past with the present.  “I had stopped about 30 minutes northwest of Hamilton to look at the Mennonite School which was going about its daily routine, a wonderful rolling field behind it and of course, no cars,” he tells me.  “As I focused on this subject matter, I suddenly noticed the industrial farm right beside it...and I started to see a story that I could tell.” He focused on a rural landscape, interspersed with large trees and buildings. A horse and buggy in the left foreground and a tractor pulling a plow in the distance represent past and present. Heather commented, “The obvious story is two  different ways of life coming together and finding a way to co-exist.  A little white fence on the left separates the two.  So insignificant, the fence was more of an understanding between the two...rather than a barrier.”

A bridge in Helga Morrison's Fluvius II unites past, present and future.  “The metaphorical meanings held by bridges, I contemplated,” Morrison says, “as a link,  a connection and as a transition from past to future...where standing on the bridge is the present”  The painting's surface is highly textured by mixing sand into acrylic paint. She paints a series of stark horizontals.  The snow covered land in the foreground anticipates, in its swirls and stains, the patterns of the bigger sky area.  White, pastels of blue, green and yellow enliven the sky. Dark red strands suggest a river cutting the composition in two.  The curve of the bridge on the right echoes those of the river bank and hills in the distance...visually connecting the human-built-structure with the shapes of nature.

John Kinsella uses a centrally placed tree and its reflections to link water, land and sky in August Field, Prince Edward County.  The tree's undulating reflection in the water draws us in. Rooted in the field among cylindrical hay rolls, the tree, a vertical shape, connects the disparate horizontals found in wooded hills and the sinuous strips of colour in the sky. 

Other artistic works can be seen at the Studio in this March exhibition.

The Water's Edge

A large picture by Carolyn Dover, which captured my attention, advertised a showing of her works at Earls Court Gallery (Hamilton) from March 20 to April 26.  The painting was reminiscent of views I'd often seen of marshland ponds in North peaceful, serene, calming in its reflection of woodland, colour shrubs and foreground lily pads.  Drawn into the picture, it took me back in time, creating a path to the future.

Messages from these artists relate wonderfully to Life!

When a man moves away from nature, his heart becomes hardened.
(Lakota ~ Native American Indian)

Humans have an amazing capacity for not ALWAYS seeing what's there, at times, ever redefining facts that fit preconceived ideas.  Take the case of the “missing caribou” that roam the Barrenlands of the central and eastern Arctic.  In 2009, the herd, last estimated in 1993 at 276,000 animals, had seemingly vanished with so-called-experts citing causes ranging from...”over-hunting” to...”the impact of climate”...and to “possible change of habitat.”
Aboriginal communities, who are spiritually connected with nature,
simply stated, “The caribou just moved further north.”

Words of Wisdom
A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry
and see a fine picture or piece of art every order that
worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful
which God has implanted in the human soul.
(Author unknown)

Merle Baird-Kerr...compiled March 16, 2014
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  1. My longtime friend, Sherrie, comments: "What a lovely blog today on how wonderful and very spiritual nature is. And you help us to connect with each other through your inspiring blog. Years ago, I made the right connection in meeting you as my friend.
    God speed tomorrow journeying across the mighty Niagara River."

  2. Thank you Sherrie for your complementary words and my friendship with you is reciprocal. Nature and Man inhabit this planet it behooves us to share this connection from which we learn much!