Bringing the spring

Joan Sullivan
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The Leyton Gallery of Fine Art forces the issue with a lush 16-artist show

Brent Coffin’s “The Key Ring”;

“Wrap Yourself in Warm Colours for Winter” is a big group show — 16 or more visual artists, and many with two or more works. There are pieces in perspectives from representational to expressionistic, wrapped around an idea that might be called seasonalism; that is, an attempt to conjure spring out of winter by filing the gallery walls with bold, balmy, primary colours. It is a nice bit of colour theory, opening Saturday. The artists included have certainly stepped up, with landscapes and interiors, and scenes of floral arrangements and trout fishing, on bright and lively display.

There are two intriguing oil on canvas paintings from Brent Coffin, “The Key Ring” and “Gown of Angels.” The first shows an elaborate and suggestive scene, with a spilled glass of red wine on a black and white table, an overturned chair and a key ring on the floor, a woman in a blue dress against a yellow and green damask pattern, and a figure seen only as a reflection in a mirror. There is a drama and elegance that is also found in the more posed and stylized second piece.

Two landscape-inspired oil on panel paintings from Louise Sutton are done in energetic pulses of blues, browns, greens and whites. “Untitled” is an interlocked surge of colour that alludes to rock and water, while “Decision,” in a series of six small panels, is more architectural with markings of golden squares and spirals of orange. Iakov Afanassiev’s two oil on canvas pieces, “Daffodils” and “Yellow and Blue,” show flowers, their stems and petals in glass, either clear or blue, and the backgrounds richly, darkly worked.

Oils are a favoured medium here, but by no means the only one. Anita Singh has a number of encaustics, such as “Land Devils Purse,” a small, neatly configured look at beach, sea, headland, and sky in pretty, natural tones. Jillian Waite and Margaret Ryall also have imagery formed from these warm, think layers.

These, like other works in the exhibition, continue to sound these notes of light and texture: for example James Rosen’s “She Shall Have Music Wherever She Goes,” with a woman in red riding gear on a white horse, rendered in a strong, crisp manner; Michael Pittman’s “Red Garden with Rough Fence,” showing pale blue structures under a flow of red that scuds and orbs; Ginok Song’s “Inside Out,” with a girl beside a white table and chairs and against a yellow wall, a small birdhouse on the table offset by a window framing a rural view of winding road and houses; Elena Popova’s “Life Celebrations 2” which is alight with pinks and blacks and everything in between, a vivid collusion of garden and firmament.

Also of note are three oil on canvas paintings from Jack Botsford, formerly known more for his printmaking. “Trout Stream,” “Shore Lunch,” and “On the Flaky Downs” are well articulated with an alluring realism.

“Wrap Yourself in Warm Colours for Winter” continues at The Leyton Gallery of Fine Art until March 26.

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