waiting series #8 by wren katzalay

Please, imagine for one moment that you are in the presence of a mysterious woman. Her hair is long, her lips are full, her skin pale like parchment. You do not know her, but she is very familiar. Like a dream. As you stand, looking, she turns to you and whispers, “lovely”.

She is reading your mind.

You are not in the presence of a mysterious lady. You are in the presence of four. They are painters. They are the Making a Mark Collective and they are Wren Katzalay, Maggie Cole, Sylvia Bews-Wright and Cheryl Taves.

Lovely. And quite probably one of the best shows I have ever seen at the Community Arts Council.

As a collective, they, as painters, have much in common, but there is no mistaking the individual mark each makes for herself.

I think Maggie Cole’s Chrysalis Series were my favourite pieces in the show. She has created layers and textures with tissue paper and cheesecloth. The canvas is scored and punctured and forcibly textured. The colours are pale yellows and whites and greens. The work is sculptural and secretive and slightly grotesque, but always, always manages to appear, at least from a distance, kind of sweet and candy coated. Just like a lady should, maybe.

Wren Katzalay, who has a soft spot in my heart just because I love her name, is, in my humble opinion, a romantic. All painters are romantic, but painters who paint glowing lights and dark shadows and the suggestion of a distant horizon, those painters are really romantic. That’s what Wren does. And she varnishes. Her pieces do not obey the straight and clean rules followed by less romantic painters, her paintings have soft edges. They are dramatic and they are unearthly. One of her larger pieces is called i saw the tracks of angels in the earth 2. Romantic, I know.

Now, Cheryl Taves. The famous Ms. Taves. And rightly so. She is the best in the business of white on white. She does it really well. She really does. Interestingly, the work in this show is a little different from the paintings I’ve seen before. These newer works, at least I’m assuming they are newer, are quite sophisticated and very simple. The best, I thought, being Cycle Diptych no. 2, which is black and white, layered, rubbed, scratched. It spoke to me of history and of memory and it is truly a joy to see.

Sylvia Bews-Wright was the most figurative of the four. Her paintings are large and presented in diptych form. They are strongly evocative of the garden. Not just because of the recurring greens and yellows but because of the strong up and down brush work. Sylvia’s work is the most vibrant, the most physical. It is exciting and emotional. Although, not exactly happy, I don’t think.

It’s a lovely show (oh, did I say that already? oops!). Well, I meant it. Go and see for yourself. You’ll be swept off your feet.

The show runs until October 17th at the CACGV gallery. And don’t forget to bid on the silent auction. It’s in support of the Open Door.

Happy turkey, everyone. And thank you.

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