Think again of Anne Bogle. Think, then, also, of all the other people you think you have a pretty good idea about. A look at Anne Bogle’s latest art exhibition might shake your confidence in what you think you know about people. Anne is a sweet lady, petite and elder, and a painter of landscapes and florals. Her most famous works are of cutbanks and beehive burners. Pretty watercolours. Doesn’t that just figure. But with her latest showing of paintings she deconstructs all the notions even her closest friends might have had about her art. And herself.
“Is this the new Anne Bogle? That’s what people have been asking,” says Anne, with a shrug and a spark of mystery in her eye. “I’ve changed so much. That’s what people are commenting on. I have changed. And I guess I have my way of painting, my way of thinking. I’m thinking more in terms of being an artist and less in terms of being a painter. Does that make sense to you? I’m painting for me now.”
Which may be reflected in the title of the show. Art By a Lady. It is not art by a painter, it is art by a self, a collection of human emotions, a bundle of perceptions and experiences. Instead of capturing a scene these paintings are captured concepts and impressions of the mind. Some are abstract, some are exaggerated, some do not conform to literal perspectives.
“I wasn’t making a statement, it just happened that way. It’s just being a little outrageous,” she says. “A lot of them I painted on the floor. I’m painting now from my imagination and memory, whereas before I painted a lot from photographs.”
You never stop learning. Maybe you can’t teach old dogs any new tricks, but people aren’t dogs and Anne’s mind is as young as she wants it to be. She recently took an intensive class from Norman Yates, the renowned art professor from the University of Alberta. His pledge to her was “I want you to go out on a limb, then I’m going to cut the limb” and in a couple of ways, that’s what happened. She shed her artistic comfort zone, and she also started to look inside herself. When Norman asked her to do a piece of art based on herself, she painted a conceptual smear of pinks that spoke to her of the leg fracture she had at the time.
“Harold, my husband, when he saw it he asked me Were you drinking?’,” Anne says laughing. “In many ways this is one of my favourite paintings.”
She currently favours musical instruments and scenes of musicians playing not surprising, as a violin player, herself. She also has a theme of female caricatures she likes to work with. And certainly the landscape will always be part of her repertoire. It just won’t be her defining style anymore.
Art By a Lady is on display at 1085 Cafe until November 5. Her scenes are sometimes dark in colour, but never in mood. It is a collection of joyful expressions, scenes that could only emanate from a life lived with satisfaction and roundness. She is the parent of three grown children, Nancy, John and Meredith. She is a retired registered nurse. Through a (now defunct) fine arts program at CNC in the 1970s she re-awakened a passion for painting and drawing she hadn’t tapped into since childhood in New Brunswick. She went from there to become one of Northern B.C.’s most beloved artists, and a member of the famous Milltown Artists group.
“People will say to me, and I’ll roll my eyes, Are you still painting?’ As if it’s something you have a choice about. Once you reach a certain point, it’s not something you can give up.”
Not if you are a lady.