At The Galleries: Nature comes calling for Greater Victoria showcases

Fall Harvest by Carolyn Houg is on display at The Avenue Gallery.Fall Harvest by Carolyn Houg is on display at The Avenue Gallery.
Forest, Sky, Ocean, Haida Gwaii oil on canvas by Rod Charlesworth is on display at West End Gallery.Forest, Sky, Ocean, Haida Gwaii oil on canvas by Rod Charlesworth is on display at West End Gallery.
May Bouquet by Tanya Bone is on display at The Avenue Gallery.May Bouquet by Tanya Bone is on display at The Avenue Gallery.
Creek Stream by Bi Yuan Cheng is on display at The Avenue Gallery.Creek Stream by Bi Yuan Cheng is on display at The Avenue Gallery.
Takao Tanabe’s The Land is on display at Madrona Gallery.Takao Tanabe’s The Land is on display at Madrona Gallery.

Rod Charlesworth presents his latest collection of new paintings in Recent Expressions at West End Gallery this month. Reflecting on previous trips to Haida Gwaii, Vancouver Island’s west coast, the Sunshine Coast and wintery playgrounds from across the country, Charlesworth uses bold brushwork and a strong sense of colour to capture the essence of each place.

Born in northern B.C., Charlesworth moved to the Okanagan Valley at the age of seven. Influenced initially by surrealism in his earliest paintings, he attended Okanagan University College in the 1970s, where he discovered the Group of Seven and impressionism. This inspired his interest in experimenting with colour and the physical qualities of paint.

Although acknowledging his education and technical training, Charlesworth still considers himself a self-taught artist.

“In my paintings I try to evoke feelings and emotions about places, instead of rendering strict analytical representations of them. I use colour as a structural tool to bring out what I feel is essential in terms of light, dark, cool and warm. This in turn brings out the spirit of the painting,” he said.

Charlesworth’s painting are sought after for collections throughout North America.

Recent Expressions – An Exhibition by Rod Charlesworth runs Nov. 6 to 18. Learn more at westendgalleryltd.com.

Madrona Gallery presents 20 paintings by Takao Tanabe this month.

Acquired over the last eight years, this exhibition provides a cross-section of Tanabe’s career and features work from every decade that he has been active as an artist.

Based in Vancouver in the 1950s, Tanabe was a central figure in the Lyrical Abstraction movement along with B.C. Binning, Jack Shadbolt, Gordon Smith, Toni Onley, and Donald Jarvis.

This era led to Tanabe’s first major solo exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery and helped establish him as a nationally recognized artist. This was a time of artistic development for the artist with opportunities to study in New York, London, and Japan, all of which greatly influenced his career over the following decades.

The works in this exhibition follow Tanabe’s career from the Lyrical Abstraction works of the 1950s, his hard-edge abstraction works of the 1960s, to his groundbreaking Land Series paintings from the 1970s and onwards. His time spent as the director of painting at the Banff Centre for the Arts from 1973 until 1980 would have a profound impact on his work and would help cement Tanabe’s reputation as a leader in the Canadian arts scene.

Takao Tanabe: Seven Decades of Painting is open Nov. 6 to 20. Visit madronagallery.com for more information.

Nature also comes calling at The Avenue Gallery in sculpture, oil and water.

Vancouver Island sculptor Carolyn Houg’s clay animals and figures are lighthearted explorations of posture and personality. Her playful sculptures of animals, birds and people celebrate our interconnectedness with nature and each other. After studying fine arts at Sir George Williams University (now Concordia University) and the University of Alberta, she worked in oils, acrylic, water media monoprinting, concrete and, most recently, clay.

“My goal is to make people smile and feel a caring connection with the animals and birds that surround us and those that are endangered in other parts of the world,” Houg said

She draws on the playful and quirky, often placing the subjects in unlikely situations.

“Birds are riding when they can fly; polar bears sailing when they can swim. Many of my characters act against their usual instincts; sweet lions and fierce rabbits. All are meant to have us pause and consider all we have in common with our fellow creatures.”

Tanya Bone strives to capture light through dramatization of a subject and show how light alone can transfigure an ordinary still-life subject into something magnificent or tender.

“I get lost in the choices and the beauty of balancing still-life arrangements. When I have completed the arrangement of a set-up, I sit back and take a long moment just to savour its stillness,” she said.

Born in Saskatchewan and raised on the Prairies, Bone is deeply influenced by the elements of nature. As long as she can remember she has been drawn to the still-life paintings of Old Masters, and says “they speak to me on a deeply emotional level.” Her inspiration originates from seeing nuances of light and shadow.

The Oak Bay gallery is also highlighting the work of Bi Yuan Cheng. Born in 1957 and raised in Jinan, China, Cheng began practising art at age five. At 11, he spent a decade mentored by one China’s most prestigious art professors who further developed the young artist’s already considerable skills in oil and watercolour.

In 1983, Cheng graduated magna cum laude from ZiangXi Art University. Many of his works are on display at the University Art Museum, and in 1987 he was recognized with the title of Chinese Art Master. Two years later, he was accepted into the prestigious Chinese Encyclopedia of Art.

Cheng immigrated to Canada in 1990 and continues to capture the beauty of the Canadian landscape with calligraphic brushwork, mastery of light and refined use of colour.

Visit theavenuegallery.com for more.

Join the Bateman Foundation’s Nature Sketch and Watercolour instructor Val Lawton for a class in field sketching in ink and watercolour. Some previous basic drawing experience would be an asset but not required. Boldly sketch natural subjects in the field using ink, and add a splash of colour to your drawings. And vice-versa, boldly paint natural subjects in the field using watercolour, and add detail and interest using ink. This will be a fun and hands-on workshop.

The session costs $45 and runs Nov. 20 from 2 to 5 p.m.

Visit batemanfoundation.org for details.

Greater Victoria

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