The strength and positive qualities of men are the focus of Gillian Redwood’s art exhibit UnCommon Man, opening Oct. 5 at the Martin Batchelor Gallery.
This exhibition is a follow up to Redwood’s previous exhibit, Women of Myth and Legend, which celebrated the important qualities she feels women should aspire to. She felt the present day portrayal of women through the media has been about building up icons and watching them fall from grace.
In the Oak Bay artist’s latest exhibit, she is doing the same with men. Stripping away the mainstream, she showcases the basics of man being a son, father, partner, warrior, worker and partner, using acrylic paint on canvas to get her message through. This balance between the two exhibits, four years in the making, is something she plans to incorporate in future works.
“From here on in, I will be looking at those energies in my paintings,” Redwood said. “From a social and political point of view, it is important to fuse those opposites in our lives. I don’t think polarization in any form is healthy.”
Redwood has been painting her entire life and enjoys painting the human form. She didn’t come from an artistic background and within her family, she can only trace an aunt as being a fellow artist. Originally from Wales, she pursued art after finishing high school, graduating from the West of England College of Art. She continued her studies at St. Ives School of Painting in the U.K. and more recently, studied at the Victoria College of Art.
While in the U.K., Redwood juggled painting with raising a family of three kids.
“For quite a while it was something I did in my spare time at night or in the early morning.” Redwood said it was often the only quiet time she had at home. “I was always dedicated to art and carried on with it all of my life.”
Redwood had a few exhibitions in the 1980s and 1990s, both in the U.K. and in Canada, and co-founded a successful, rural art gallery in West Wales. It wasn’t until just before her move to Canada that she decided to become a full-time artist and with that decision, her work gained more attention.
“I had visited Canada in the ‘80s and this was a coming back for me in a way,” Redwood said about her 2004 move. “I love the water, mountains and the wild countryside. There is something about all that that really excites me. In some of my paintings, you will see it coming through.”
Redwood based herself in Canmore, Alta. for a number of years before moving to Nakusp, where she opened her own studio-gallery. She moved to Victoria last year and rents space at Xchanges Gallery and Studio, which is an artists’ cooperative.
Redwood is excited about her upcoming solo exhibition.
“It’s going to be going on for about a month and that’s a very great gift to me. It’s my first major show in Victoria.”
Redwood already has ideas for her next art project, which she said is going to be a fusing of UnCommon Man and Women of Myth and Legend.
The UnCommon Man, a collection of 20 paintings, will be exhibited at the Martin Batchelor Gallery from Oct. 5-31. The gallery is located at 712 Cormorant St. The opening reception is Saturday, Oct. 5, from 5 to 7 p.m.