July 25-August 15
Opening Reception: Saturday, July 25, 1pm-4pm

Sisters, Jane and Karen Gray are showing their paintings and pottery in the exhibition, Sunflowers and Shorelines.  

The inspiration for this exhibition came from their time living on the Canadian Shield. For three seasons, Jane lives in Algonquin Park while her sister, Karen, now lives on the west side of the park where she has her own pottery studio.  

The sisters spend a lot of time outdoors and are avid paddlers, on the water in sight of shorelines as much as possible. Many of Jane’s oil paintings are based on her time spent in Algonquin Park, a place she describes a having thousands of shorelines. Sunflowers as well as windswept pine trees, loons, poppies and cottage docks find their way onto Karen’s functional pottery that is also inspired by the provincial park.  

To create her paintings, Jane’s uses oil on raw masonite. She paints in the black areas to find the “bones” of the painting. “I let it sit for a day while I procrastinate getting back to it,” Jane admits. “By the time I am back in front of the easel, the painting flows out as if it has been subconsciously worked out.” Jane enjoys that moment when she has wrestled a seemingly impossible mess of oil paint into an image that engages her. “The work is usually on the edge of chaos and I think the more out of control it is, the better the end result. Therefore, it is the lack of control or the ability to let loose and see how it goes. In the end, feeling something is right is a joyful feeling.”  

Jane likes strong images and colours, which creates excitement in her paintings. “I like some of the odd but beautiful images that are rare or fleeting,” remarks Jane who attended the Ontario College of Art and Design, graduating in 1981 from the fine arts program. “Things like rainbows, lightning bolts, northern lights, stars, sunrises and cloud shadows. While these things are fleeting, they are also powerful. If the images seem exaggerated, it is because I felt that way about the experience. If the painting goes well, a bit of my life experience remains alive and shared.”

A full-time potter since 2009, Karen started to make pottery as a hobby in 2001. She signed up for a four week Sunday afternoon course at a small studio in Kearney. That led to another session, then more sessions. Later that year, Karen attended the Halliburton School of Art, earning a ceramic certificate after three months of study.

Karen’s work has dramatically changed since she began. At first, her pottery was decorated by dipping it into one or two colours of overlapping layers of glaze. In 2012, Karen broke her leg and the cast forced this active woman to stay seated for long periods. During this interlude of inactivity, Karen started to carve images into the clay. Now, most of her work involves carving, a technique known as sgraffito. Most of the pottery is finished in black and white, but colour is used.

Like her sister, Karen’s imagery for her pottery comes from many sources. Sometimes it is her surroundings, an image from a newspaper, a customer’s request or just looking out the back door of her studio. She enjoys carving images that create an emotional response in the viewer that remind them of a time or place in their own lives.

This exhibition is the first time that Jane and Karen have shown their work together in a gallery setting. “We are looking forward to our show at the Chapel Gallery because it is an interesting space in which to exhibition, set in an area of Canada we love,” remarks Jane. “We feel our work is complimentary and it is a pleasure to work with another artist whose vision is compatible with your own, and of course, working with my sister is always more fun.”

Sunflowers & Shorelines opens with a reception on Saturday, July 25 between 1pm and 4pm. The exhibition continues until August 15.

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please send an e-mail with your request including your full name and e-mail address.

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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Muskoka Arts & Crafts Inc. is located in the District Municipality of  Muskoka, Ontario, Canada.