Sunday, November 10, 2013

Painting subtlety

The opening of  Vestiges, Carol Bajen-Gahm's solo show , at Christina Parker Gallery on Friday night was special for me because I followed my friend as she wove her way toward  this stunning collection of work.

 Carol Bajen- Gahm and Margaret Ryall

 The title fits well with how I saw Carol develop this  work. My viewing at different stages,  sideways conversations and  discussion of  printmaking processes provided  just enough information to know what the work would be like, but not too much to spoil the surprise of seeing it massed together on the walls of the gallery. 

I see subtle changes in Carol's work as she spends more time in Newfoundland.  Nuances of place are creeping in and moving her work from its non representational beginnings to more abstracted  landscape references that are recognizable to those who know the area.  Torbay, a town on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, and her house by the sea, provide vantage points for contemplation of people and the environment.  Observations during her walks in Torbay and forays to other communities are translated sometimes subtly and sometimes blatantly in this new work.

Her processes are changing too.   Oils are being integrated with encaustic and various printmaking processes to create subtle, layered works that invite close inspection.

In her words:

Ephemera Series  / collograph, encaustic on panel, 12" x 9", 2013

Seven Seas Shoreline Series /  monoprint, pigment stick, and encaustic on panel, 10.5" x 11", 2013

 " Vestiges and ephemera are all around us. We find them in old photographs, deteriorating buildings, or simply washed up momentarily on a beach. They evoke not only the thrill of discovery, but also the spirits of past generations. 

The artworks in this exhibition address the idea of impermanence. Many of the things we experience in our lives are either ephemeral, lasting only a short time or vestigial, in the process of disappearing. 

Torbay Codflake Series / oil, pigment stick, graphite and encaustic on panel, 12" x 12", 2013

Torbay Bight Series / oil, pigment stick and sand on panel, 24" x 18", 2013

  Vestiges, looks back to the salt cod flakes of Torbay Bight which are no longer in existence,

Cape Spear Battery Series / oil, pigment stick and encaustic on paper on panel, 35.5" x 29", 2013

 to the Cape Spear Battery slowly eroded by time, 

Riddle Fence Series oil, pigment stick and encaustic on panel, 12" x 12", 2013

and to learning to make a riddle fence, a vanishing art being kept alive at English Harbor, Trinity Bay. 

 The colour palette used to make the paintings for this exhibition celebrate and pay tribute to recently resurrected traditional Newfoundland paint colors."

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