Summer selection

J.M. Sullivan
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New works from three artists at the Gerald Squires Gallery

This exhibition of new work comes from three visual artists at notable points in their careers. Gerald Squires is established, to say the least, but always moving forward with his imagery, sculpting his work into something more and more elemental and spiritual. George Horan, an accomplished watercolourist, took a long hiatus from exhibiting, and is now producing and showing a steady stream of work. And Julia Pickard creates and creates with great imagination and consistency and is yet slightly unsung among Newfoundland artists. Perhaps because her work is always so pretty it is taken a bit for granted, or accepted as decorative, not challenging. But any one of her pieces here - or any one of her pieces in any gallery, for that matter - display a complexity, interplay and scope that is truly eye-catching.

"Hare's Ear Ferryland," watercolour George Horan. - Submitted image

This exhibition of new work comes from three visual artists at notable points in their careers. Gerald Squires is established, to say the least, but always moving forward with his imagery, sculpting his work into something more and more elemental and spiritual. George Horan, an accomplished watercolourist, took a long hiatus from exhibiting, and is now producing and showing a steady stream of work. And Julia Pickard creates and creates with great imagination and consistency and is yet slightly unsung among Newfoundland artists. Perhaps because her work is always so pretty it is taken a bit for granted, or accepted as decorative, not challenging. But any one of her pieces here - or any one of her pieces in any gallery, for that matter - display a complexity, interplay and scope that is truly eye-catching.

This summer exhibit at the Gerald Squires Gallery is a selection of works from all three visual artists.

There is one piece that first grabs attention. "Moon & Green Sky" (oil on canvas, 54" x 72"), painted by Squires, is stunningly unusual, even for an artist who continues to produce stunning and unusual work.

It is not just its size, but also its perspective, with a big bare tree dominating the foreground, its branches giving an interlacing pattern to an orange moon in a green sky, and the view grounded with a low-lying glimpse of a winter outport glinting in the background. And its palette, with the vast green sky, big ginger moon and almost ghostly frozen landscape should feel way off, but it doesn't.

Squires has called the piece a "mindscape" as opposed to a "landscape", meaning in part that the vista is distilled with emotion. He also has the more representational "High Tide" (oil on canvas, 4ft x 8ft), another big painting, and other, smaller works.

Horan has several breathy, dauby watercolours, of seascapes and rocks, headlands and the coastal architecture of solitary lighthouses and clustered dwelling.

Titles include "Study for Fort Amherst From the Sea," and "Evening Light - Bonavista."

Most are mid-sized but there are a couple of big, horizontal pieces, like "Fort Amherst - Harbour Mouth," where the choppy water is strikingly topped with pure white, and "Hare's Ears - Ferryland," showing the land slowly losing form and receding into mist.

"Summer Sky" has lots of white space, and beautifully controlled colours in lots of nicely differentiated shapes, such as a green wedge of land, little points of trees, and balloon-animal oblongs of clouds.

A number of pieces in pen and ink, watercolour, pen and watercolour, and mixed media are presented by Pickard.

Most are small- to medium-sized. These include landscapes, urban scenes, pastorals and florals.

The subjects range from "P.E.I." and "Poppies" to "White Carnation" and "Champney East."

They are so articulate, both with and without the lines of ink. Pickard is ever deft with details, even as the forms are skillfully run and blurred, or crosshatched and outlined.

"In The Flower Patch" is configured with white curls, and "Chrysanthemum" poised with purple, orange and olive petals.

There is a swiftness and energy to these pieces that is well directed, never busy or hasty. And the works do have great attraction and appeal.

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Bonavista, Ferryland

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