Heidi Rita Burkardt

Linda Kristin Blix

July 12-Augst 9

Ontario’s rugged northern landscape is dramatically portrayed in relief prints by Linda Kristin Blix and Heidi Rita Burkhardt.  

The roots of ancient trees slowly scrambling over rugged moss covered rocks in search of tenuous footholds in shallow crevices, delicate foliage briefly flowering in the warmth of spring and summer days, and majestic wildlife are strikingly illustrated by the two artists.  

Relief printing is the oldest and most durable method of making prints, dating back eleven hundred years to hand printed scrolls made in China. “The term relief refers to a plate having raised and lowered areas,” explains Linda who studied at the University of Manitoba School of Fine Arts and the Ontario College of Art and Design. “The prints on display have been created using rubber flooring, battleship linoleum, Wonder Cut and Softolium. Each material has its distinct advantages and disadvantages.”  

Linda’s imagery comes from her fanciful imagination while Heidi’s linoleum prints are created from sketches, paintings or photographs completed in the field. “I travel to collect imagery for processing on the spot or later in the studio,” says Heidi, a retired high school art teacher. “To translate the image into black and white, it is done on the block with a broad tip permanent black marker. The broad tip encourages a bold design. This is what commits the final image to be a powerful expressive statement suitable to represent the wild Canadian landscape.”  

Cutting into the linoleum is a slow and demanding process. Hands are stressed and calluses develop from repetitive actions with knives and gouges. The cuts create smooth, sharp rhythmic lines that flow with movement and form organic shapes.

When the raised areas of the block is inked with a brayer, the lower areas will remain white when the paper is placed on the block and rubbed with a wooden spoon or put through a press to transfer the ink onto the paper. “As the image prints in reverse to the carving, the artist must not only think backwards but in a positive and negative manner,” says Linda.

The relief prints that will be on display at the Chapel Gallery present the ruggedness of the Canadian Shield and its flora and fauna. Although the style of each artist is individual, there is a harmony between them that creates a unified exhibition. “Relief prints have characteristics that can feel uncontrolled, rough, bold and strong,” describes Linda who met Heidi while both women were teaching for the Scarborough Board of Education. “This dramatic art-making process perfectly suits the intense, muscular and richly textured landscape of our northern landforms.”

Both Linda and Heidi have making art for as long as they can remember. “I think after 50 years of work, I feel confident to have reached a level of competence,” admits Heidi. “That’s how long it takes to get mastery in anything. I have a favourite quote by Pablo Casals, a Catalan cellist and conductor. When asked why he still practiced four hours a day at the age of 94, he said ‘I think I’m making progress.’”  

About their two-woman exhibition, Linda hopes viewers will gain an appreciation for the work involved in relief printmaking. Heidi sums up the question by saying: “Hopefully, my prints will help the viewers to see the way I see as I drive around the near north and they can delight in rhythmic textures and dancing lines as much as I do.”

Heidi Burkhardt                                                        Linda Kristin Blix

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Located at 15 King Street in Bracebridge, the gallery is open year-round, Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm. It is closed during the last week of September and the second week of October as well as between Christmas and New Year’s Days. Please check the Calendar of Events for the actual dates. For a map, please follow this link.

Exhibitions are booked one year in advance.  To learn how to apply for a show, please follow this link: Exhibition Application.

The Chapel Gallery was opened in September, 1989. Housed in a reconstruction of the first Presbyterian Church in Bracebridge, the Chapel Gallery hosts exhibitions of art and craft by our members and other local and provincial artists. Exhibitions are selected by the Gallery Committee and change every three to four weeks.

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