Group effort

Joan Sullivan
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St. Michael's Printshop puts 22 artists on display

St. Michael's Printshop has its first group show up on the walls. Normally, the gallery off-season is occupied by work from the Don Wright scholar and Sir Wilfred Grenfell College graduates. Through the summer and fall it functions as a general sales outlet, a popular stop on the tourist trek.

This exhibition tries something new.

The 22 visual artists here are not restricted to prints, as you might expect, but delve into photography, oil and acrylic paintings, a small assemblage, and even a hooked mat. But prints are predominate: lithographs, etchings, mono prints. Many artists have more than one work, often in more than one media. There are landscapes and still lifes, representative imagery and more abstract and impressionistic scenes. A range of colour scales and mixture of forms is apparent. There is a wealth of sensibility, of ways of looking, up close, drawn back, exact, expressionist, finding the essence in precision or feeling.

Top photo, "Village Within," by Ginok Song Lee; bottom left, Louise Sutton, "Woods," oil on panel; and bottom right, Rachel Anstay, "Untitled," photogravure. Submitted photos

St. Michael's Printshop has its first group show up on the walls. Normally, the gallery off-season is occupied by work from the Don Wright scholar and Sir Wilfred Grenfell College graduates. Through the summer and fall it functions as a general sales outlet, a popular stop on the tourist trek.

This exhibition tries something new.

The 22 visual artists here are not restricted to prints, as you might expect, but delve into photography, oil and acrylic paintings, a small assemblage, and even a hooked mat. But prints are predominate: lithographs, etchings, mono prints. Many artists have more than one work, often in more than one media. There are landscapes and still lifes, representative imagery and more abstract and impressionistic scenes. A range of colour scales and mixture of forms is apparent. There is a wealth of sensibility, of ways of looking, up close, drawn back, exact, expressionist, finding the essence in precision or feeling.

Carl Schraefel's "Alien Communications," painted with oranges, creams and deep blues, shows a pair of bird-like figures, surrounded and framed by crosses and dots and streaming twigs of colour. The parts, the pretty colours, and the basic objects look simple but the effect is of something mysterious.

Ginok Song's pair of paintings are small, articulate daubs, while Sheila Coultas' painting is the largest piece on display: "Behind the Ship Inn at 3 a.m.," which shows the recognizable view (not that we've ever been in such a place, at such a time, of course ... at least not lately) of the back windows, inner lit, layered by chain link and an outline of the rough foliage.

Christine Koch's "Green Point Time Lines" (hand-coloured lithograph) is mesmerizing, the Tableland mountains organic in purple, with small wedges of green about midpoint to either side, one indicating the sea, the other a grassy field. The whole piece is overlaid by falling white dots, seeming to be both stars and snowflakes, lending motion and volume.

There is an untitled forest scene by Louise Sutton, a small oil both realistic and a bit dreamy, the tree trunks and limbs overshot with arcing white lines signifying both light rays and bare branches. Then there is the playful, stylized vista of Carolyn Morgan's "The Narrows," with the colours - orange and brown, with zaggy tendrils of green and aqua - working against the natural type, the hills and fort set against a wedge of harbour and block of sky.

There is a quartet of tiny mono prints from Margaret Best, spare, delicate lines of browns on greens, hints of the arboreal. Mitzi Smith has "Storm City," a mixed-media construction of a hand width of black in a frame of white, set with clusters of circles like tiny doughnuts and a series of rectangles. It looks like a heavy metal square set on a v-frame.

Cathy Dreidzic's "Dreaming the Dance II" (collograph) has two sleeping figures beneath a line of dancers in formal choreography, all culled and shaped and lit from shades of brown, while Evelyn Peyton Murphy's set of etching both feature kimonos and are focused on patterns and offset by small arrangements set flat on the same plane. Altogether, these works provide an indication of the wealth of imagery, scope and detail found in the show.

The exhibition continues until March 6.

Organizations: Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, Alien Communications, Ship Inn

Geographic location: Green Point, Tableland

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