As she was installing Rebirth, the new exhibit in Rustad Galleria, Maeve Hanna, assistant curator at Two Rivers Gallery, realized she had created her own private flower garden.
“I grouped some of the artists’ work together and now I call it my flower arrangement,” Hanna said Wednesday as sun shone through gallery skylights, bathing the floral subjects in a natural golden glow.
This setting with colourful artwork hung on stark walls has become a favourite place for her.
However, besides those with poppies, blue petals, wild flowers, and garden variety flora as subjects, their are other works in the exhibit which show scenic landscapes, dense forests and even an emerging butterfly.
The works are done in different mediums – oil or acrylic paint on canvas or board as well as pastels, watercolours, stained glass, and textile pieces.
Twenty local artists, all members of Studio 2880 Prince George Artists’ Workshop, have works in the new exhibit.
How did it come about?
“I met with the Artists’ Workshop group in September to tell them about the show and its theme. As their work started trickling in, I was very pleased to see the variety of work and all the different ideas and techniques they had used around the theme of Rebirth,” said Hanna.
And it wasn’t just the quality of their artwork but also the artists’ words that appealed to her.
“The artists wrote very thoughtful notes to go with their pieces. It was interesting to hear their stories and discover what they were thinking when they created their pieces and to find out how it all came together.”
The theme rebirth was chosen for a few reasons, she said in a press release.
“In 2015, Prince George is celebrating its 100th anniversary and the exhibit’s opening comes just after the Canada Winter Games. So Rebirth will celebrate Prince George’s being reborn as a thriving, culturally dynamic community.”
The paintings of Prince George represent how the artists see it today as well as other reincarnations of the theme rebirth, seen through nature and the cycles of life, said Hanna.
The Games were a good jumping off point for this exhibit and hosting the Games meant some good exposure for Two Rivers Gallery (located in the heart of Canada Games Plaza), she said.
“The first Saturday of the Games, we had 2,000 people visit the gallery that one day alone. We had 15,000 people come through during the two weeks of the Games and we had lots of people who lived in Prince George but who told us they’d never been to the gallery before – so that was good to see.”
When she wasn’t showing visitors the art gallery, Hanna had another role when the city hosted the 2015 Canada Winter Games.
“I’m bilingual so I was up there on the main stage with [CBC reporter] Betsy Trumpener for the entertainment as emcee because I could interpret for them. I’m glad that I finally got to use my French,” she said.
Art appreciation is in the eye of the beholder, so Hanna won’t be trying to interpret – in French or English – the artists’ meaning behind all their Rebirth artworks.
However, curatorial staff and artists will be on hand for a reception Thursday, March 12 starting at 7:30 p.m. to discuss the Rebirth project. The exhibit is on until April 5.