February is that in between month, just after Christmas and just before
Spring. It’s a time when the members of Muskoka Arts & Crafts
buckle down to prepare new work for the upcoming season.
year, the Chapel Gallery Committee for Muskoka Arts & Crafts thinks
of a concept for its annual gallery challenge.
This year, the Chapel
Gallery Committee asked the members to create work about being “in
between.” Members were encouraged to explore the theme from a
compositional viewpoint, focusing on the spaces in between the elements
of a painting or delve into the theme of transition between two pieces
or life phases through their choice of subject matter.
“It’s always a
surprise and an inspiration as to what our members will create for these
annual gallery challenges, I’m constantly intrigued how our members
interpret the themes the Chapel Gallery Committee thinks up to challenge
their imagination,” remarks Elene Freer, the executive director for
Muskoka Arts & Crafts.
puppy was the perfect subject for her painting that shows a sleeping
puppy with its head poking out from beneath a blanket and sandwiched
between two pairs of human feet. “The love of our pets inspired this
painting I titled Puppy Love: The Only Love That Comes Between Us.
Anyone with a dog or cat has had the experience of sharing their bed
with their furry companion. It tickled my funny bone thinking about the
human feet and the puppy paws all sticking out of the bed covers.”
Puppy Love by Wendie Donabie
The setting sun
captivated Andrea Ross’ imagination. “Between daytime and the sunset
there is a short time of long shadows and warm reddish light that falls
on the landscape. This is the in between time that I have hopefully
captured in my oil painting, Late Summer Sun.”
Late Summer Sun by Andrea Ross
“The opportunity to
show with fellow members in a non competitive atmosphere often produces
whimsical works that may not have happened otherwise,” says Hilary
Clark Cole, a Gravenhurst based sculptor and member of the Chapel
Gallery Committee. For this exhibition, Hilary hand built a steel, two
foot high wall sculpture of pollywogs, in various stages of development,
looking up at a fully grown frog sitting on a lily pad. “I called the
sculpture, Aspiration, adds Hilary with a quiet chuckle.
exhibition is also a great opportunity for the members of Muskoka Arts
& Crafts to experiment outside of their normal subject matter. For
some artists, it can even inspire a whole series of new work. “Every
winter, I get excited to discover what the next challenge will
entail,” says Bracebridge painter Pat Whittle. “Normally, I paint or
design my art around themes or colours that just plain excite me, but
having to work in the framework of someone else’s dictate can present
a challenge which can take you down a new path and a new discovery.”
members’ challenge is also intended as a way to artistically shake off
the winter doldrums and get the creative juices flowing. Huntsville
painter, Carol Pollock comments: “The theme is appealingly
broad. In the depths of a long, hard winter, the challenge offers
a chance to be seasonally effective.” For Janice Feist, the
gallery’s challenge stimulates her creative mind. “It helps me to
re-focus on painting. It is a great exercise which expands the scope of
subject matter for me to tell a story."
Betwixt & Between
will be on display at Muskoka Arts & Crafts’ Chapel Gallery from
February 14 until March 7. An opening reception takes place on Saturday,
February 14 between 1pm and 4pm.
The Chapel Gallery is
located at 15 King Street in Bracebridge. Gallery hours are Tuesday
through Saturday, from 10am to 5pm with admission by donation.