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Shavasana Gallery is closed until May

It’s January 9, 2018 and I’ve just returned to Mayne Island and Shavasana Gallery after a 3 week Xmas break. Winter is in full swing and the days alternate between cool and cold and wet and drenched. Today, the surprise visit of the sun, offered a very welcome respite from the seasonally monotone grey skies. As one who suffers from a touch of Seasonal Affective Disorder (apt acronym S.A.D.) any hint of blue sky is greeted with enthusiasm.

I’m on a five month hiatus from running the Gallery/Café side of my business and will be using the space as my personal studio: www.clayandbone.com for the duration. I have several masks that I’d like to work on, perhaps a few new necklaces, and – if time and inspiration permit – sketches and paintings. It’s also my intention to do a little writing on my two websites, and – God-willing – a trip to warmer climes. Receiving this photo today from my friend Jon – who is on extended vacation in La Manzanilla, Mexico – provides ample incentive to assist God in this matter 🙂

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One thing I like about writing as a creative outlet is that it’s very portable. If I do make the trek down south I’ll definitely dedicate time each day to either journalling or creative writing. I have a lot of material, it’s just a question of connecting with the Muse and buckling down – doing the work as it were.

Cheers & Hasta Luego!

George

ps. The feature image of masks as shown is from a dedicated wall at Shavasana Art Gallery & Café where I exhibit some of my ceramic work. The next actual Art Opening is scheduled for May 17 – details to come sometime in early May – hope to see you there!

Previous Show! Kriss Boggild “Hard & Soft Edges” Nov.11 – Dec.19

It’s the night before Kriss’s show and I am just putzing around the Gallery getting ready for, what will be, the last show of the year. I wanted to capture some photos of her artwork before tomorrows exhibit, as pieces do have a habit of exiting the Gallery undocumented – with their little red dots. I also like to create a walkthrough video as a record of the show, and I always try and find a quiet time to do this so I can have a little uninterrupted commentary on each artists work.

Kriss and I hung the show yesterday with her husband Shawn and it all went very smoothly. Always nice when the artists are as organized as they are talented. Here’s Kriss

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with several of her new geometric pieces for the exhibit which she has named “Hard and Soft Edges”. These paintings are a departure from her usual realist landscape paintings & textile art and are from a series she calls “Interrupting the Program” which was “born out of a desire to surprise myself and others with whatever image resulted when I intuited that it was “finished”. In her own words:“I set myself the task of using only three primary colours and taping the canvas  in a geometric composition that was pleasing to me. I then filled the untaped  portions in a manner that was somewhat random, removed the tape and taped the painting again in another configuration. I painted the untaped shapes again, using the same three primary colours. Some of the paintings were taped and re-taped three or four times and overpainted each time.

As I progressed in  the series, I began to incorporate images I had seen during the day,  images which arrested me due to their  graphic qualities – “Bernadette’s Coat” is the first example of that: after I ran into Bernadette who was wearing a  deep blue coat with white polka dots and a beautifully woven red, black and white scarf, I immediately returned to my studio and laid down tapes and painted. It was after painting that image that I  also allowed more white back into the compositions.

I also “broke” my “rule” about using three primary colours, I realize!

While I was working on the “hard edge” paintings, I was also working on textile pieces, a

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And that is one story about how the exhibition “Hard and Soft Edges” came to fruition!

Kriss’s diverse array of talents were nurtured by her extensive travel and broad array of life experiences which “informed her art and enriched her visual vocabulary”. This  vision has been supported with a thorough educational background in “drawing, painting and creative process at Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design,Vancouver, BC, and Langara College.” She also “took  part time courses toward a  Diploma in Advanced Textile Arts at Capilano University, North Vancouver, BC. , which built upon the needlework skills she had been taught by her mother and grandmother”.

Here is another beautiful mixed media piece called “Boats and Sun” which will be at the show…

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Here are a few words from Kriss’s Bio which attest to the diversity of experience which has broadened and deepened her artistic expression, and added excitement to her expression…

“I was honoured to be asked by Tania Godoroja to assist her in painting the Canadian mural for the “World Wall Project” , curated by Judy Baca of SPARCinLA.  Tania’s  imagery of a “World without Fear” resonated for me : our continuing depredation of the natural world has created a culture of fear throughout the world and Tania’s thoughtful vision of how we can heal the wounds and create a new/old paradigm of respectful co-existence with the land and all of our citizens inspires me. I happily spent two summers in the “Tractor Shed” on Mayne Island, BC assisting her in the realization of that  vision. The mural, “The Inuit Sent Us a Canary” , was showcased from July- October 2017 at the SPARCinLA Museum in VeniceBeach, California.

I have also worked as an editor for a legal journal, legal researcher, environmental lawyer , a set-painter, a seamstress, a knit-wear designer, a freelance sweater repair person, a sales person, and was the executive director of ARTROPOLIS 2003 – an  exhibition held in the CBC -TV studios in  Vancouver, showcasing the work of over 500 artists from the province of British Columbia in Canada. For several years, I volunteered as “the sewing lady” at a downtown Vancouver free clothing shop serving very marginalized people.  There, I also hosted sewing bees.  The diverse skills of the participants were  showcased in a quilt that was auctioned at a fund raiser for the community.

I am excited by colour, gesture and expressiveness. I am moved by the panorama of each day and always grateful to be able to share that excitement through my art.”

If you’d like a preview or, are unable to visit the show in person, here is a walkthrough video of what is currently on the walls of Shavasana Art Gallery & Café:

 

  • For a selection of images of paint and textile work by Kriss Boggild, please visit www.krissboggild.ca

 

The Drunk, the Blind Man, and the Ukulele Player

Small islands seem to attract their fair share of dreamers, spiritualists, creative types, rogues & non-conformists.  Some come to escape the cacophony and rigor of urban existence, some come to build their alternative universe retirement dream, while many come to relax and play on this part-time fair-weather-friend holiday rock. The absence of police or any recognizable form of authority can add a lawless frontier edge to peoples activities and expectations. When you operate a small Gallery Café on just such an island – as I do – any and all of these people may walk through your door, and indeed, are encouraged to do so. On occasion they all arrive at once, and interweave into a lovely Felliniesque tapestry. I always consider it a blessing to be part of a notable absurdity.

It’s a warm & lovely Friday in July 2016. It’s late morning, all the windows of the Gallery are open as is the front door which offers an inviting access for all who wish to drop by for coffee & chitchat and a glimpse of Anita Edward’s art show, “Forgotten Gardens”. While I am otherwise engaged in pleasant mindless café duties, an off-island woman named Dralene wanders in, plunks herself down, and asks if it would be ok to play tunes on her ukelele for the smattering of guests.  I’m always delighted when musicians show up unannounced so encourage her to play freely for as long as she likes. Apparently she IMG_1456was on Mayne to attend the annual “Bob-b-que” with friends – a celebration of the life and music of Bob Dylan at which she would contribute her ukelele chops. She sings a little Bob, a little this and that, “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again” as memory (and my Journal) attests, and generally proceeds to entertain my guests and I for the next couple of hours. Shortly after she began, my friend Paul G. appeared while on a bike trip from Vancouver followed by two island friends Angie & Tim. Tim – a truly admirable & remarkable fellow – had recently lost his vision with a sudden onset of blindness which, understandably, had thrust him into new challenges and steep learning curves, which he accepted without complaint in his good-natured manner.

I introduced he and Angie to Paul and Dralene while a few others sat sipping their drinks at outside tables. Just as Angie excused herself to go, another friend – Gail – wandered into the shop, also sporting a ukelele which she proceeded to play with Dralene. You can never have too many ukeleles at a farce. My musicians soon realized that maybe it was best to take their jam outside and allow inside guests to have quiet conversation if they were not so ukelele inclined. Paul & Tim and I began some important dialogue about issues and opinions (God knows what we talked about – Donald Trump wasn’t in office yet)…and then, the drunk showed up.

I don’t remember the drunks name and indeed it’s not important to the story. It’s shortly before noon on Friday and he’s noticeably pissed. He’s carrying a bottle of what seems to be Coke and what I gather was laced with rum – “for aye! He were a seafarin’ man” By his own braggadocio, “One of the best boat designers in Canada…came here by boat…just down at the dock” He slurred in his slightly wobbly aggressive way. It seemed that he’d either lost or forgotten his cell phone charger and was now on some kind of angry rampage to track one down on our island. Finding all islanders collectively responsible for his stupidity and our failure for not having an electronics supply shop for his needs. “This is a shitty island, ye can’t even buy a cell phone charger.” “Where can I get one? You’ve got one, I’ll buy it from you” “Uh no, sorry, mine’s not for sale” I said. “C’mon…I’ll give you a hundred bucks – how much do you want? I need it because I’m part of the Emergency Disaster Response team” he belligerently blurted. “Dude” I thought, “you are a disaster – how can you possibly be part of an emergency response team?” I was starting to get angry with this guy, and, as one does with unpredictable drunks, was sizing him up in case I had to physically evict him from the Gallery. Like I mentioned earlier, there are no cops on Mayne so people sometimes feel empowered to break the rules. Meanwhile the ukeleles kept playing and my dialogue with my friends became intermittent as the obnoxious comments and demands of the drunk kept superseding our collective rationality. Trying to be a nice guy I said, “Tell you what, you can charge your phone here with my charger and that will at least get you on your way” (and you can take your unpleasant tirade to some other island, I thought) When you are dealing with such an obvious out-of-control alcoholic you need to be on your guard though, for their thoughts and actions can be chaotic. This ramps up the stress level. After 20 or 30 minutes of annoying commentary, he asked me to give him my Social Insurance Number to show me how good he was at memorizing numbers. My level of tolerance was reaching it’s end, and this request tipped it over into mild anger “I’m not giving you my fucking Social Insurance Number” I glared. The ukelele ladies kept the background music steady and incongruous when suddenly, Tim changed the subject. “Do you know anything about Razors?” he asked. “Huh?” I turned to look at him, welcoming the distraction from the Drunken Sea Captain, “You mean like, shaving razors?” I said, “Yeah” said Tim as he pulled a little baggie from his pocket with a shaving razor in it. “Since I lost my sight” he said, “I can’t figure out how to open this up, can you show me?” We are now operating at max-Fellini. I take Tim and his razor outside because I’m afraid of dumping his beard hairs on my floor – preferring to do it on my front lawn beside the Ukelele Duo. Meanwhile the drunk is swigging and staggering his way around my gallery. Paul is absorbing the spectacle. I’m picking up pieces of my blind buddies razor off my front lawn, as Jeffery the quirky Karl Marx look-alike shows up with his rather demure Japanese girlfriend Meg.

I’m in some kind of strange inexplicable heaven – a conductor to all of these collective moments on the stage of my café. But like all moments, they must pass, the participants have to move on to new adventures. Paul had to hit the road to continue his bike trip. Tim armed with his new manageable razor picked up his white cane to walk home. The ukulele sisters collected themselves to rendezvous with the rest of their day and the drunk, with his newly-charged cell phone in hand grumbled his way out the door and down the street to his next misadventure. Like an unexpected summer storm, the players breezed in unannounced, gave a dramatic show and then left. I returned to the pleasant tasks at hand..greeting more guests…pouring a little coffee, and talking about the beauty of the art upon my walls.

Addenda: Later, over dinner on the lovely deck of the Springwater Lodge, my friend Paul and I commiserated on the days events when Paul pulled a book from his backpack “The Course of Love” by Alain de Botton, a book which he felt I might like. The premise being  “the magnificent, sometimes frightening, developments we can make as we slowly realise that love is in essence a skill we need to learn rather than an enthusiasm we simply experience.”  It was a glorious day. 🙂

 

 

 

Donna Williams & Joella Grymaloski “Nature of Reflections” @ Shavasana Art Gallery & Café- Friday October 20, 7 – 9 pm

It’s Sunday evening in mid-October. The fire ban has been lifted on this small water-challenged island on which I reside, and residents are taking this opportunity to clear months of accumulated debris by having autumnal fires.  These are the first fires we have seen in 4 or 5 months, and smoke now drifts down the cool valleys of this picturesque enclave.

Donna Williams – one of two artists who are showing with me right now – and I, hung her and Joella Grymaloski’s art several days ago. We are just gearing up for her Artist’s Opening on Friday October the 20th at 7 o’clock, and had decided to have a “soft opening” on Friday the 13th when her and Joella’s beautiful and beguiling pieces were made accessible to visitors to Shavasana Art Gallery & Café.

The show is called “Nature of Reflections” and centres around Donna’s intriguing collection of abstract photographs which were captured on a recent trip to Toronto. The compelling images are shots of the downtown urban landscape as viewed through reflections in high-rise glass towers. The effect is almost painterly in some instances and reveals the beauty of glass in its ability to capture and change reflected shape and colour.

This collection is beautifully complemented by Joella’s quilting artistry and her sewing and painting talents which she displays so nicely with a series of hanging prayer flags.

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If you happen to be reading this before October the 20th please join us at the opening on Friday night. There will be refreshments, Conviviality and Art – and a chance to meet the artists! Below is a little walkthrough video to give you a better idea of what you might see at the show, which runs until November the 5th. Hope to see you there (or, in this case -here! 🙂 )

Previous Exhibit – Famous Empty Sky “NNots – A New Twist” Aug. 17 – Sept. 24

On Thursday August 17th we had a fabulous opening for our current artist: Famous Empty Sky, and her new show “NNots – A new Twist”. Empty Sky brought a gallery-full of her beautiful “Mysterious Mixed Media Works”…

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…to Mayne Island residents and visitors alike. The gallery was packed and lively, the food and refreshments were delicious, and for two hours we were serenaded by the melodious guitar of Jim Heshedahl – bliss! 🙂

Catering was provided by the talented Astrid Bellem (right) and the lovely Mikela Jay (left) assisted with the evenings logistics – IMG_2279

Famous Empty Sky shared the stage with budding young artist Thea-Rose Mitchell whose small colourful paintings and bone china teacup candles were quite popular with guests.

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The fascinating beauty of Empty Sky’s NNots draws one in for a closer look at their intricate complexity, and often leads to new revelations as the viewer is treated to visual discoveries both large and small. In an effort to answer the many questions that were posed during the course of the evening, I’ll quote directly from her Artist’s Statement:

 “These new works are called the “Nnots”. They are true works of mixed media containing elements of drawing, printing, collage, photography, and painting. A fresh energy carries me along, producing images that reflect all my earlier work but with a new twist. Now, I have created over 60 individual pieces.  

           It begins with a simple knotted piece of fine handmade paper and sucks me into a vortex of art making unparalleled in my 40 years of visual art creation. My compositions simplify toward a complete form of abstraction, moving toward pure sensation. Details enlarge to a point where they are no longer recognizable and assume true abstract character.    

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       I make no other work. I am at the mercy of the Nnots. It is glorious and hard. It is the most demanding work I’ve ever done. Requiring intense meditative concentration and constant honing of all my earlier skills, they take on a life force of their own. I am along for the ride and very grateful for the opportunity to be their humble scribe.

It’s all in the Nnots.

              They reflect all of my experiences and they get me through. They are the light in the dark. They reveal the beauty in the darkness. They are about capturing the moment of transition, that moment of stillness in the act of transformation.

             The Nnots are innocent, childlike but also, dark and dangerous. They mimic ancient forms and sing songs of science fiction sirens while referencing veins, arteries, orchids, and Japanese samurai. Archaic, totemic, architectonic, both crisp and soft, they float in a contemplative space. Synthetic yet organic, they reveal multiple faces like other worldly fairies bringing hints of the “oversoul”, of Buddhas, too. Wizards, princesses and dragons lurk between the folds.  

The more one looks, the more one sees.”

Several years ago, Mikela Jay produced a video about Empty Sky’s NNots which, in her own words was “a hauntingly beautiful journey, literally navigating in/out of magical landscapes, layer upon layer of soulful imagery…” here is that video – with a serene soundtrack by John Williams and a cello solo by Yo Yo Ma:

This show will run until September 24th – don’t miss it!

 

Previous Exhibit: Terrill Welch Solo Exhibition, “West to East Coast Canadian Landscapes in Paint” June 30 – Aug 13/2017

I’m writing this on the morning of June 30, 2017, just a few hours before our next Art Opening here at Shavasana Gallery. For the next 6 weeks I’ll be showcasing the talents of Terrill Welch, one of Mayne Islands’ pre-eminent landscape oil painters. Terrill and I hung the show a couple of days ago – a relatively painless and fun hanging session – so I’ve had a couple of days to enjoy Terrill’s work prior to today’s show.

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This is a Solo Exhibition, and is called “West to East Coast Canadian Landscapes in Paint” and will be running until August 13.  Although her brush is often busy capturing the beauty of the region in which we live, the  “mysterious and rugged southwest coast around her home on Mayne Island B.C.” she has also captured stunning vistas  from her travels to the east coast of Canada, Europe and the United States. The current show comprises local and Maritime land & seascapes.

Here are a few words from Terrill about her artistic process…..

………….”Stripping away the human illusion of our separation from nature is at the core of my work. This illusion extends to a presumption of a separation between land, water and sky. I explore the interdependency of these natural elements. These works reflect the surrounding landscapes. The brushstrokes render the light, shadow, movement, smells, sounds and emotions I am experiencing as I paint. The resulting paintings are my complete sensory experience, expressed.The work is an invitation to join me in exploring the relationship between the innate elements of our environment and ourselves. My intention is for the viewers to find themselves within the landscapes as I have – filled with curiosity, wonder and discovery.”

Here is a little walkthrough of Terrill’s show just prior to the Opening:

Though locally appreciated, Terrill’s work is internationally collected.  Her paintings can be found in the homes of art collectors throughout Canada and the United States as well as in Australia, England, France, Italy, Norway and Switzerland. As well, her work is in collections that also include such renowned Canadian landscape painters as Emily Carr, A.Y. Jackson and Lawren Harris.

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It’s a glorious day here in the Gulf Islands, lots going on this weekend in honour of Canada Day tomorrow. I feel fortunate to be able to gaze out the window at the same vistas that Terrill Welch has captured – so beautifully – on canvas…

Previous Exhibit – Pam Carr “Go with the Flow” May 13 – June 29/2017

Pam Carr is a multi-talented painter, musician and fabric artist who seems to have a boundless supply of energy and creative vision.  Despite being immersed in the complexities surrounding the construction of her new cob house on Mayne Island, Pam was able to create an entire body of abstract art within a brief 6 week period. From March 25 until opening night on May 13, Pam produced well over 65 beautiful abstracts which are now displayed at Shavasana Art Gallery & Café.

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This is from Pam’s descriptive of her current creative process: …”Explore fluid art and wonder at how it flows. This art form is unpredictable and well-suited to those who live in the moment. Featuring abstract art created by pouring, swirling and swiping.” My own description of Pam’s new work includes the words, “thought-provoking eye candy”…I liked it so much I bought 3 pieces before the show opened 🙂

Opening night was a well-attended, fun event,  with great food (thanks Astrid!), and a happy, convivial crowd. Judging by the number of “red dots” that adorn her “sold” pieces, I’d have to say that that Pam’s Art was well-received and has made purchasers, the artist and the curator (me! 🙂 ) pleased with the outcome. Here’s a little video walkabout to give you an idea of what you’ll see at Shavasana while Pam’s show is up and running. The show ends on June 29.

Butterfly Moment

It’s Wednesday May 3, 2017 and I am at the main branch of the Vancouver Public Library doing a little writing for my Art Gallery blog. Most of my recent blog-based writing has been done at coffee shops, or at my studio on Mayne Island, however, for the past three weeks I’ve been coming here to write with my friend Janis Harper, as a little experiment to see if writing with another person can be more focused, productive, or…fun. Thus far, the experiment has been working on all three counts. At the very least it removes some of the insularity associated with putting fingertips to keyboards.

It’s raining out…cold and grey…and we are now about 7 months into one of the shittiest, longest, coldest, wettest winters in living memory. Perhaps the lousy weather has contributed to my prolific writing jag since late last November. The launch of my two blog-friendly WordPress websites (this one and www.clayandbone.com ) last fall has certainly been an encouragement to recommence the creative process. There has been a considerable hiatus since I last wrote plays for my theatre group –  Just Push Play – in the 90’s (www.justpushplay.ca) so this current flurry of word-based creativity feels good. We’ll see how it evolves.

But I digress…the butterfly moment…. Considering how grey and monochromatic it has been in this region for such a long time, I felt like posting this little video I took during a pause in one of our jam sessions on the porch last summer as a reminder that it will not always be thus. Have hope! Songbirds have begun returning from their winter time shares in Mexico, and it is only a matter of time before we are visited by gorgeous little creatures such as this…

…an idyllic moment at Shavasana Art Gallery on Mayne Island  🙂 (courtesy of the great video capabilities of the iPhone 6+)

 

 

Previous Exhibit – Angie Carson & Trish Mitchell – Nov. 11 – Dec. 22/2016

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We have a fabulous show opening tonight – Nov. 11, 2016 – showcasing the talents of Trish Mitchell (Mosaics, Mixed Media, Collage) and Angie Carson (Acrylics, Portraits)…here are some photos of the show and a video which will give you a taste of the beauty that is being exhibited here!

Previous Exhibit – Linda Dzus & Abbey Manellis – March 31 – May 7/2017

Local Artist Linda Dzus and her good friend Abbey Blair-Brown from Tsawwassen are sharing this months spotlight here at Shavasana Art Gallery & Café. Linda and Abbey have been friend for over 20 years and decided several months ago to combine forces and exhibit their talents here at the gallery. The show is called “Halos, Landscapes Mud & Stone”.

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Linda is a photographer and has mounted a fabulous series of prints that reflect the natural beauty of Mayne Island. She is also exhibiting a series of whimsical yet realistic paintings of local fauna on various sized beach rocks. Abbey has produced a gorgeous series of paintings, ceramic plates, bowls and figurines that focus primarily on the female form with iconic inclusion of bird imagery, text, flowers and colourful patterns to evoke – in her own words – “a sense of humility”…here is a short video walkthrough to give you a better idea:

The opening on Friday March 31 was a lively and  fun evening of art, delicious snacks (catered by Astrid) and good conversation…the show runs until May 7.