The Saint John Arts Centre‘s current exhibitions, which opened on November 6th, wrap up this week, but it’s not too late to come in and enjoy!
Toby Graser and Kathy Hooper present a unique joint painting exhibit in the Frazee Gallery.
“What a great experience it was. One of us slashing colour onto either a new white canvas or an older work we no longer wanted to keep, then standing aside while the other changed all that and put a great streak of black across the whole lot. Gradually the piece would take shape and at some point we would decide that was enough, it was done!
Looking at these pieces again after a year or so has been interesting. Each one its own being, with the colours and emotions that every artist strives to put into their work. It was a wonderful experience and we feel we produced some great work to exhibit.”
“This show is dedicated to all the sweet treats that tease and stimulate the pleasurable senses in my head. I want it to surround me. I envision the pure delight as a child walking into a candy store. I would stare up at the large jars on the shelves giving into its magnetic power over me. If I were lucky enough to get a piece of candy I would roll my eyes in delight.
Besides its therapeutic qualities, candy is definitely associated with pleasure and relaxation. It was love at first sight. As I grew older, I learned to tame my love of candy for the love of wild fruit just bursting with sweetness. This became as wonderful as manmade confectionary, and a little easier on the waistline.”
“Autumn is a season of intense creative energy for me – the shortened days, falling leaves and morning frosts carry with them a sense of urgency; a reminder to soak up what remains of the Sun’s warmth. To the painter, the vibrant, fleeting colours of fall insist on being captured.
Many of the paintings in this exhibition are painted outdoors – en plein air, during the short, glorious period of peak fall colour in New Brunswick. The title, Bright Red Maple, at once says something about colour, nature, landscape and Canada.
A painting done on location is not only a snapshot, but a dynamic record of the changing light and atmosphere of a scene over a brief period in time. The painter reacts to the changing clouds and shadows. The timeframe is limited, and the brushstrokes are quick and active – alive with the awareness of the moment.”
“I would like to think that the impetus for these pictures came from the rocks themselves; that they had been waiting since long before the time of man for something outside themselves to pay attention. It’s a thought that I had from time to time when I came upon one of these in its natural environment, posed, best side presented to the camera. In many cases all I had to do was frame and shoot.
Of course, the rocks would have no idea of being immortalized, and will in any case long outlast the pictures, but it has seemed to me that they were wanting something. They just appeared too perfect to ignore, and if making pictures would satisfy them, I was happy to oblige.
I arranged nothing in these photographs, judging, correctly I think, that stone would be resistant to any direction I might give. I shot them as they presented themselves. It did seem they would prefer to look grand, so I did my best to accommodate them. Most of the subjects shown here are small, and so I frequently shot them from only a few inches away, letting them fill the image.
In making the photographs, I was interested only in their appearance. They showed me what they look like, and I looked. But I have since learned that all of these are a part of the Albert Formation, which is one of the many formations that are a part of the geological make-up
of this area. It was a formation, I am told, that was laid down at the bottom of lakes, rivers or swamps. The fossils that you will see are apparently all of plant material. No dinosaurs were harmed in the making of these pictures.
All of these rocks were unearthed and made visible by the construction of Highway #1 between Saint John and Sussex. They were photographed where I found them, using only natural light, and shown in the order in which the exposures were first made, on the dates noted.
The images have not been cropped or substantially altered. However as in all portraiture, there was touch-up afterwards. Shadows and highlights were enhanced or minimized. Hues and saturation adjusted. Distracting imperfections were removed.
As much as I tried to represent what the rocks themselves showed me, the photographs would be of little interest if they did not also touch on human experience. I hope the abstract qualities of light, colour, line, shape, shading, etc, have appeal on their own merits, but you may find them suggestive of objects, ideas and emotions in the human world. The viewer, of course, is free to drawn his or her own conclusions.”
The City Gallery hosts drawings and ceramics by Wendy Johnston. The Saint John Art Centre’s next shows open on January 15th. Come explore the galleries! They are open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm. The last day to see the current exhibits is Saturday December 19th.