January 3 to February 4, 1990
Painting in watercolour has been with us for a long time. Its extensive use in Canada comes from the British model. Many of Canada’s artists in the 19th century were British-born or trained. Even in our own century, this British influence has continued. In Western Canada, during the first half of the century, many prominent artists (such as AC Leighton and WJ Phillips) were trained in that particular tradition and passed it on to their students. Toni Onley learned to paint in watercolours on his native Isle of Mann.
Watercolour painting seems to be very tradition-bound as this (or any other similar) exhibition shows. The artists who work in watercolour seem content to work within the considerable limitations of the medium: dry-brush and the wash technique predominate, with the occasional use of a pencil line to reinforce the form. The essentially transparent nature of the medium is a dominant characteristic. Few artists seem to use the opaque pigments of tempura or gouache. There is little real experimentation, perhaps because the medium is always difficult and few artists seek to exploit all that watercolour is capable of doing. It seems that painters in watercolour are traditionalists, no matter where they live.
A watercolour succeeds when subject and technique are allied and appropriate to each other. The presence of technique for its own sake, such as the mere rendering of great detail or a breathtaking command of washes, produces shallow, illustrative or decorative work of little lasting interest.
There were 63 works by 27 artists submitted to Between Colour and Paper, from artists living in the Kootenay-Boundary region. Of these, I first selected 34 works as being of sufficient quality/ I then decided to include only one work by any given artist and this brought the selection down to 26 works. I had no difficulty at all in dealing with various approaches: the exhibition includes figurative and nonfigurative works, landscapes, still-lifes, and is indicative of all the work submitted. As one might expect, landscape predominates in one of the most beautiful areas of British Columbia.
Roger H. Boulet, Director, Edmonton Art Gallery working with Grand Forks Art Gallery.
This exhibition featured artwork by:
Doris Albert, Mary Baravalle, Michele Caskey, Barbara Robinson, Dosie Crawford, Alf Crossley, Olga D'Andrea, Mary Elliott, Ward Estes, Elaine Walker Fogg, Isabel Haveman, John Hodges, John de Jong, Marilyn Kolstad, Arvilla Linley, Janice Livesay, Phyllis Margolin, Michele MacKay, Kory McKim, Shirley Miller, Collette Nilsen, Doreen Pearce, Kathleen Senay, Hans Schmidt, Faith Welsh and Walter Wells.
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