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Artists bring dynamic nature scenes, bright colours to Greater Victoria galleries this month

At The Galleries: check out what’s on display in May
Paul Jorgensen’s playful, colourful landscape paintings, like West Coast Mill Town, portray intricate vignettes that draw the viewer in. His collection will be exhibited from May 15-27 at the West End Gallery.

With spring in full swing, Greater Victoria galleries are welcoming bright, whimsical exhibits by artists exploring everything from colourful acrylics to mesmerizing woodworks.

The Avenue Gallery’s May exhibits will showcase the work of feature artists Rob Elphinstone, William Liao and Laurie Ward.

As an impressionist, Elphinstone works to capture the essence of the Canadian West Coast landscape in his textured, flowing oil paintings. He’s inspired by the feeling of wildness rather than realistic details, and moulds thick layers of oil paints into swirling nature scenes. His work will be on display from May 2-8.

Later in the month, from May 9-16, another feature artist Maria Josenhans will present a collection of oil paintings created both outdoors on location and in her North Vancouver studio. Whether she’s capturing a sprawling landscape or an intimate pool by a stream, she strives to create a tender tribute to the ordinary.

Work by painter Liao, a professionally trained artist who grew up in Beijing, will also be in the gallery this month. His work is influenced by a childhood spent surrounded by both classical Chinese culture and new European art. Ward, a woodworker with more than 50 years of experience, will also be displaying a collection of his unique woodworks. Over the years, the Ontario-born artist discovered a passion for the distinctive colours, grains and spalting found in the different trees across Canada. While turning rough chunks of wood into smooth works of art, Ward tried to retain elements of the natural state – from living edges and bark to knots and holes.

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At the West End Gallery, the playful, colourful landscapes and intricate vignettes of Paul Jorgensen will be exhibited from May 15-27. In his collection, Colouring Outside the Lines, Jorgensen invites his audience to view the world from skewed perspectives, and uses interconnected shapes to form secret pathways, city-scapes and lush gardens.

“In the time of COVID-19 I have had more time in the studio to reflect and expand on my process,” he said. “I have been excited to experiment with different paint applications and palettes and am revisiting the places I hope to see again, one day soon.”

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From May 8-22, the Madrona Gallery is welcoming artist Clayton Anderson’s new solo exhibition – his third at the gallery – which explores intimate, close-cropped nature scenes with a limited palette. While this exhibition centres on Anderson’s exploration of new venues and his own process, it’s also a celebration of his homecoming to the Sunshine Coast – his former home for more than 25 years.

The B.C.-born artist is influenced by 20th-century landscape painters such as Emily Carr and Lawren Harris, and Anderson works to present his viewers with an experience that goes beyond the physical. His work has been displayed in galleries around the world for the past three decades.

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This month, the Winchester Gallery is displaying Dynamic Reflections, an exhibit that features the work of Chin Yuen and Brubey Hu, Canadian abstract artists.

Yuen, a Malaysian artist who has studied and travelled around the world, uses her diverse experiences as inspiration to create dynamic abstract paintings. She is dedicated to crafting new, exciting artwork that reflects the joy of creating as well as her introspective problem-solving process. Her works have been featured internationally.

Hu, an up-and-coming artist born in Xiamen, China, came to Canada in her teens and earned her BFA and MFA degrees in Maryland and Waterloo respectively. Her time as the artist in residence at the Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity in 2018 gave her the space for creative exploration. Her abstract paintings focus on topics ranging from dualism and feminism to translation and colour theory. The collection will remain in the gallery until May 12.

The subsequent exhibit, A Mystical Approach, will be in the gallery from May 12 to June 16 and showcase the work of Teresa Smith and Trish Shwart and their impressionist interpretation of connection to the land.

Shwart’s luscious otherworldly landscapes are where she explores her “conflicting feelings about (her) relationship with nature” and the knowledge that she is part of a society that puts the natural world at risk. Inspired by walking around her city pushing a baby stroller and working in interior architecture, Shwart’s paintings blend the real world with dreams and memories. The award-winning artist has shown her work in Canada and Australia.

Smith too portrays alternate worlds through her art. The painter was raised in rural Quebec where she developed an admiration for the deep woods and pays close attention to nature. She now resides in Washington state and explores the forests on her Arabian horse with her Irish wolfhounds by her side.

She described one of her pieces as “a mosaic of light” that blends pattern and colour, representing “the mystery beneath the surface.” Many of her paintings are currently on display across North America.

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Distant Sea Stack by Rob Elphinstone’s painting, Distant Sea Stack, and many other impressionist paintings will be showcased at the Avenue Gallery this month from May 2-8.
From May 9-16, feature artist Maria Josenhans will present a collection of oil paintings created both outdoors on location and in her North Vancouver studio at the Avenue Gallery – including her painting, San Josef Bay Reflections.
Spalted Apple Hollow Vessel II and other unique woodworks by Laurie Ward will be displayed at the Avenue Gallery this month.
William Liao was inspired to create his painting, Hustle & Flow, when seeing a city from far away and thinking of the blurred stories of the individuals and the flashing lights that act as the pulse of the city. His work will be displayed at the Avenue Gallery this month.
Brubey Hu’s abstract painting, Playground, will be among many displayed in the Dynamic Reflections, an exhibit that also features the work of Chin Yuen, at the Winchester Gallery until May 12.