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LANDSCAPES OF THE SPIRIT: Eva Dametto, Leilah Ward, Clasina Weese

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It has been only eight months since Eva Dametto started exploring materials, themes and styles in preparation for ‘Landscapes of the Spirit’. She started with a dim vision of materials laid on canvas in a simple construction of familiar shapes and uniform hues. A few months later she infused colour applied with less control and more vigour, abandoning texture created by brush strokes for texture applied to the surface of the canvas then painted over in acrylics. And finally she produced mixed media collages chock-a-block full of fabric and cut outs and hair and sticks and bark and pieces of this and that all tied together with paint and colour and lyricism as well as both classic and modern references. Dametto definitely found her chakra.

Leilah Ward’s inner visions and dreams haunt her paintings. Working in oil, she was forced to slow the act of painting down to allow for drying. She meticulously applied a cascade of vertical lines and explosions of colours. Her works levitate before they dissolve in space. They seem therapeutic for the artist and intriguing for the viewer who attempts to read the inner working of the artist’s mind, the dark meandering of the artist’s spirit and the transitions of a soul moving through space and time. Troubling. Expressive. Transitional.

The body of work Clasina Weese has produced doesn’t quite fit the theme for this show. As much as she plays with the idea of abstraction, as much as she enjoys the freedom and exhilaration of loosely applied paint and freedom of expression, Weese returns again and again to landscape, not of the spirit but of real trees and bush painted from her own experience of nature. She is grounded in the natural world. What she sees is what she paints. There is no commitment to a signature style but Weese has a confident sense of what works and what is essential.

This show, conceived as a venue for emerging artists, has provided them with just enough pressure to lay the groundwork for future directions. The process of making a submission for a show at the gallery is challenging as the show does not have to be realized until the year following the submission. To see what has been produced is always exciting. To see what the curatorial committee chooses to hang is sometimes disconcerting as artists frequently want everything that has been produced to be displayed. But the job of the curatorial committee is to make a cohesive show out of a pile of paintings. Will the artists be encouraged to continue to grow and develop their own personal styles? We will see.

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Guest Monday, 26 June 2017

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Art Gallery of Bancroft
10 Flint Avenue
P.O. Box 398
Bancroft, Ontario
K0L 1C0

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