Amelia Douglas Art Gallery welcomes Cynthia Minden
By Aidan Mouellic, Staff Writer
Cynthia Minden is best known for creating intricately woven basket figures, but with her latest art on display at the Amelia Douglas Art Gallery at the New Westminster campus, it’s clear that she’s changing her means of expression.
The Vancouver Island artist’s latest showing, Reclamation, will be on display from November 7 to December 20. The mixed media art pieces on display are reflective of the show’s title because Minden uses reclaimed pieces of litter and driftwood to create her mounted collages.
The artist writes that the pieces on display are meant to provide “a framework for thinking about the relationship between art and ecology, and observations about society, what we value.”
Oftentimes artists seek to explore deeper themes within their art, but too often the artist buries that meaning behind layers of unnecessary symbolism.
Minden’s art displays pieces of found man-made shoreline debris, which are then paired with natural debris. Displayed in the gallery is a slice of West Coast beach.
This is all neat in theory, but the outcome lacks discerning characteristics and appears pretentious when we read into what the artist wants the pieces to reflect.
In Minden’s statement for the show, she asks, “How do we rectify our enormous impact on the ecosystem that we share with a multitude of other animals and plants?”
Yet when I looked at the pieces in her latest collection, I wasn’t asking myself that question.
I get the sense that sometimes artists feel the need to construct elaborate motives for their art, as if making something just for the sake of beauty is a sin.
Visual art is meant to create emotion. It’s supposed to make us feel. Minden’s gallery showing only made me wonder what happened to the woman who used to create such radical pieces. Everyone knows that humans are fracking up the world, but an iron nail wrapped in twine doesn’t exactly convey the serious message very effectively, in my opinion.
Though the new pieces are not exactly pretty, they do have rustic charm. They are for sale, and if I had a seaside cabin, I would love to have some of the mixed media pieces on the wall next to a hanging paddle or a fishing rod.
For more information about the artist, visit the Amelia Douglas Gallery or check out www.cynthiaminden.com