C’est La Vie in Summerland

A small-town gallery packed with people on a Thursday night in January? That was the scene this week as the Summerland Art Gallery opened their first show of 2011. The gallery took a unique approach, revealing the theme at a reception and giving 22 local artists ten days to create their works. The theme for the challenge: c’est la vie.

That’s life, such is life, it is what it is — the common sayings all hinge on how we deal with disappointment. We can focus on the negatives or roll with the punches. With so many artists represented, interpretations ranged from intensely personal to more general; both philosophical and practical.  An artist’s statement beside each work gave viewers some insight into the artist’s thought pattern and process. Wendy Ferlin’s delicate pots were slightly skewed to reflect the routine disappointment of losing pottery in the kiln:

Many of the artists had a whimsical take on the theme, while others approached it more seriously. Ron Stacy’s wonderful Jaws-meets-Finding-Nemo painting got some chuckles while I was standing nearby.  Enid Chin had created three clay panels representing the eras of her own life, reflecting on the differences and connections between them. Michael Hermesh’s expressive sketches and accompanying words invited reflection on what we hope to do with our lives.  There were too many other excellent pieces too mention them all, but I was also moved by the paintings of Mikaela Etter, depicting the tattooed hands of her friends with ambiguous messages tied into the theme:

Gallery coordinators Sue Gibbs and Barb Etter had the gallery looking fantastic, finding ways to display varied forms including pottery, paintings, sculpture, and photography. The opening was so successful that several bottles of the wine donated and poured by the Thornhaven Winery disappeared in the first half hour! The vibe was great, with lots of discussion and laughter. Visitors were happily wandering with their pencils and voting slips, choosing their favourites for the People’s Choice Award.

The show continues until March 12. Winter hours at the gallery are Tuesday to Friday 1-4pm and Saturday 10am-4pm. The next show runs from March 17 to April 30 — “Light Touches in Black and White”, featuring photography by Rick Gray.

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