‘Let Me Count the Ways’ exhibit on display at Anvil Centre
By Cheryl Minns, Arts Editor
From photographs to abstract paintings, simple sketches to glitzy mixed media, the Let Me Count the Ways exhibit by Artists in the Boro explores different types of love by invoking the five senses. The exhibit borrows its title from Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s poem, “How Do I Love Thee?” and features 23 works from 14 local artists.
Let Me Count the Ways is a sight to see, full of images to entice an art lover’s attention. Some pieces require a good, long look to find their deeper meanings, such as the abstract paintings that include hidden images.
Gillian Wright’s abstract oil painting “The End of Being” at first appears like a flash of fire burning in shades of red, pink, orange, and yellow. However, upon closer inspection, there are two slightly darker red figures standing beside each other. Wright says the figures weren’t intentional and just appeared when she was painting, describing in her artist statement that the image depicts one’s love and one’s soul, and that perhaps they are the same.
Martine Silk’s acrylic and black magma abstract painting “Heavenly Spheres” features multiple pairs of rings in gold, magenta, and indigo floating within the vertical canvas. While Silk wishes to leave the painting’s interpretation up to the individual viewers, it is a likely guess that the rings represent wedding bands and the power that such a symbol can hold.
Some of the art feels like it comes with its own soundtrack, as familiar sounds come to mind while viewing the images. One of these works is Kelly A. Lambert’s “Chatterbox Falls,” a photograph of the falls in the Princess Louisa Marine Provincial Park in BC. The image quickly brings to mind the sound of the gushing water as it surges over the falls, with a ship in the distance sailing the smooth waters below.
One of the pieces that brings to mind a collection of hit songs is Karen Justice’s mixed media photography piece “Love Me Tender.” It features a photograph of an Elvis Presley impersonator in Las Vegas, with a border made from smaller versions of the picture in various saturations with sparkling embellishments throughout.
“I chose to look in part at the commercialization of love, Elvis’ association being primarily with songs, sentiments, and fluffy movies about tenderness and, largely physical, attraction—while he became rich in the process,” Justice explains in her artist’s statement.
Another Lambert photograph, “My Grandmother’s Garden,” evokes the sweet smell of a honeysuckle as a monarch butterfly rests on the flower.
In her artist’s statement, Lambert describes her grandmother, who asked her to photograph the honeysuckle bush, and the garden, which is full of plants and garden accessories that have a history to them.
“For generations, family and friends have given my grandmother—who is 97 years of age—flowers, plants, plaques, and other garden paraphernalia,” she writes.
The tastiest piece in the exhibit is Terry Erickson’s “Sweet Heart,” an oil painting of Sweetheart candies overflowing a striped, heart-shaped gift box. The colourful pink, purple, yellow, and aqua candy hearts represent a nostalgic feeling of young, innocent love, which Erickson describes in her artist statement as “light-hearted reminders, perhaps, of a time when love felt less complicated.”
Although visitors aren’t allowed to touch any of the works on display, several of the pieces have familiar textures that allow visitors to imagine what the works feel like.
“Duct Tape Bridal Bouquet” is a mixed media piece by Penny Cheng of Saniki Creations. It features a bouquet of roses made from colourful duct tape wrapped in flowing tulle with a pearl necklace, a pair of white gloves, and a handkerchief. This multi-textured piece inspires many sensations of touch, such as the silky smooth feeling of the gloves embracing bare hands or the detailed, origami-like moulding of the duct tape roses.
“Another artist in the group was inspired to showcase my handmade wedding flowers for this exhibit,” Cheng writes in her artist statement, explaining that the bouquet was from her wedding last August. “This piece is therefore an ‘accidental collaboration’!”
Artists in the Boro’s Let Me Count the Ways will run until March 20 at the Anvil Centre in New Westminster. For more information, check out the group’s website at ArtistsInTheBoro.ca