• #BigBigPortraitShow

    Michelle Stregger - June 15, 2016


    The walls of the Naess Gallery are filled, floor to ceiling, with portraits. “We have been collecting them since we put the call out in March,” says gallery curator Shelley Wilson. We made an open invitation for everyone to bring a portrait created on a 12”x12” stretched canvas or birch panel. “Every day a few more portraits appear, from pets and celebrities to moms and kids. It has been fascinating to collect them,” says Wilson. “Whether self-taught or academically trained, artists sometimes need an inspiration or a challenge. Exhibition deadlines are great motivators. Open-to-all shows are great opportunities, and being part of a large group makes it more fun and less intimating.”

    To encourage more participation, artist Oksana Zhelisko taught two months of portrait classes on Tuesday mornings. “Portraits are not just a depiction, but also an interpretation. They are a combination of fact and subjectivity with your perspective as the guide,” says Zhelisko. “This is not hyperrealism; the endgame is not to fool the viewer into thinking this is a photograph. There is a quality to a painting and it is unique to each artist.” Perhaps a good portrait reveals just as much about the artist as it does about the person depicted. Come take a closer look at the personalities in this exhibition.

    While at The Naess Gallery visit the studio space at the back of The Paint Spot. Normally this room is home to a range of art classes but during Art Walk it becomes a little gallery where the staff and organizers of the festival display their own art. “Would you trust art advice from someone without paint on their apron?” says artist Shelly Banks, “I am so happy to share my art with our customers and friends.” Yes, the works here are for sale, too. When asked how she juggles working at the art store and making art, Shelly sighs. “My coworkers and new products are inspiring but everyone needs more time to paint.” 

    Exhibition runs July 7 – August 23, 2016

    The Naess Gallery, 10032 81st Avenue

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