Vancouver artist Karen Bagayawa digs rocks.
Not literally, though she's collected some from around her home in Greater Vancouver, and even a few from here in Whistler. Selections from that colourful collection are part of the inspiration for her series of 17 unique pieces, made of woven linens and tile grout, on display at Art Junction in Whistler beginning Saturday.
"I started a rock collection in the last three years," Bagayawa explains. "I was really inspired by the colours."
More broadly, nature is her muse. "I've done series in the past based on changing colours of fall leaves or textures that I see in nature. I worked on pieces where I really loved — let's say the shiny textures of slugs compared to a matte finish. It's inspiration I found when I go hiking or for walks."
Bagayawa has developed her process — and canvas — slowly over the years. First, she takes natural, unbleached linen, weaves it, then puts tile grout on top of it, allowing it to dry. The effect is abstract, full of texture and wholly unique.
"It deals with a lot of texture and a lot of people really want to touch the pieces," she says. "I really hope people try and understand that it's about the process, not necessarily about the finished product. I love textures, so I hope people can see what I love."
Whistler artist Lisa Geddes, whose mixed media acrylic paintings will make up the other half of the show, also deals in texture. "Our work, side-by-side, from what I've seen, they (will) be quite complimentary," Geddes says.
For her pieces, Geddes interpreted the natural beauty that surrounds her. "They sort of revolve around an inner and outer landscape, in that I'm always inspired by the landscape around me, forest or trees. I've been working with that subject matter on a more symbolic or metaphorical level. I've been interpreting it expressively."
For example, one piece, with dark, rich colours, of a tree with roots thrust deep into the ground works on two levels: the literal roots and "interior soul life."
"I'm interested in the duality of pure aesthetic appreciation of something and deeper meaning somebody might have," she says.
Like Bagayawa, her technique has continued to evolve. Geddes has begun taking photographs and using a photo transfer method to add them to the paintings. She has also included original drawings.
"I'm fairly new to that," she says of photo transfer. "What's intriguing about it is it (has) a very strong, representational effect that then contrasts quite beautifully with texture and colour."
See both artists' pieces at Art Junction during an opening reception Dec. 29 between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. There will also be live music and refreshments. For more visit www.artjunction.ca.
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