Exhibition features ‘The Works’

Joan Sullivan
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Christina Parker Gallery hosts roster of pieces

If solo exhibitions are a vehicle for one artist’s vision, and duets or a group show configure around a sensibility, or a subject, then an expansive assembling like “The Works,” which features recent pieces from two dozen artists, illustrates nearly all a gallery’s entire stable, as well as its essence and tone.

Every gallery is different, not just because of whom it represents, but also in what it seeks to present.

As seen in “The Works,” Christina Parker Gallery has built a roster of very strong painters, photographers, printmakers and sculptors, and the interplay between them and their works, established and promising, in abstraction and realism, a posed figure here, a composed seascape there, ranges in effect, but never drops in quality.    

There are four oil paintings from Grant Boland, including “Diner.” Here, the tables with their red-and white-checked cloths, framed photos, globe lights and Coca Cola machine are somehow diffused, as if viewed through cut glass. The colours are sumptuous, the details exact and tactile, and yet there is a perceptive squint.

Janice Udell has two graphite and coloured pencil drawings that are fabled in subject and convey magic in impact; both “Syrinx, The Damsel Fawn,” and “Artemis” are full of personality.

Michael Gough’s “December 1903” is five connected panels (acrylic, ink and graphite on panel) like a story board in minimalist palette and details. One simply shows some type, including the title; another is a streetscape like a chalk drawing; others are faces or figures where some colours brim forward and others recede.

A second piece is titled “Leon” (permanent marker, hairspray on polypropylene) with the face and figure both emerging and eroding, a skein of image.

Greg Bennett’s “Little Harbour” (oil on canvas) pulls wedges of colour and buff motion into a horse at some convergence of stillness and race.

Robin Smith Peck’s “Turn The Beat Around,” and “Springback Warning 3/5” (digital media and Epsom ink on Arches Cover) blend  a bold, graphic, patterned, utilitarian crispness with an elegant, mottling background. These are like illustrations from a 1950 Physics textbook that have strayed into a new, complex, refined, somehow Asian setting.

Helen Gregory has two ink drawings, studies for her larger paintings, and these are alluring in their paisley intricacy. Her “Elegy I” is a set of four pairings of bones and petals, stones and feathers, configured in, even celebrated with, rich, lush pinks, creams and oranges. Kym Greeley’s four paintings (acrylic on canvas or panel) first seem like four segments of one long image. In “Without Her Glasses,” “Relish,” “Like Rot In An Apple,” and “The Sun Lasts Longer,” the titles echo counter intuitively over white snow layering brown/black rock against the whitest-blue of sky. The snow and rock form each other, drifting into a depth or scouring off a surface; these are quiet pieces, but there are undercurrent suggestions of motion.

These are simple in shapes and colour, almost stylized, yet deeply compelling.

Tara Bryan has three small oil on linen landscapes, their colours blushing into blue mountains and pink skies. Laurie Leehane’s “Skeleton II” (oil on panel) is a light-drenched, organic view of a near-submerged, beached, rotting ship, its framework bones jutting from green water.

In “Timelines,” another vessel, a dory, rests on reddish golden grass under a blackening sky. The colouring is firm, and almost Gothically contrasted.

Running concurrently, Scott Goudie’s solo exhibition, “Mountains and Rivers,” includes a series of new monoprints, such as “Lake St. John Overcast,” “Lake St. John Blue,” “Lake St. John Sunset.”

In these, his marks more impressionistic then expected, worked in furrings and curls and undulations. The other works of new pastels and monotypes continue to show Goudie’s skill and style as a topnotch landscape artist.

“The Works” and “Mountains and Rivers” continue at Christina Parker until Dec 20 and Dec. 18, respectively.

Organizations: Coca Cola, Apple

Geographic location: Little Harbour

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