Universal topics examined

Castlegar venue offers thought-provoking exhibits, starting June 20

Image on left: Rachel Yoder

The exhibition, Memento Mori: Remember you must die opens June 20 at the Kootenay Gallery. This series of paintings by Rachel Yoder explores not only her personal struggle with, and admitted fear of death but also allows the viewer to contemplate their own feelings about this often uncomfortable subject.

This Ymir based artist has a background in the construction industry and her paintings which are structured using grids, lines and blocks of colour are a natural progression.

The viewer initially will simply see panels of red and green squares but a closer look will reveal a question about death, dying and living, partially or wholly obscured by the paint.

An interactive component of the exhibition gives the viewer an opportunity to respond to the questions Yoder poses. By reducing it to a series of questions with yes/no answers the otherwise challenging subject becomes more manageable. As Yoder states, “There is no right or wrong answer. Every individual’s response is unique.”

This thoughtful exhibition was supported by a Major Project Grant from the Columbia Basin Trust/Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance. The Kootenay Gallery would also like to thank the Kootenay Savings Credit Union for their sponsorship of this exhibition.

In the West Gallery, Pauline Dupas, Sherlin Hendrick and Diane Burt, members of the Nelson-based Studio Focus Group ask the question, ‘What happens after the body dies?’ In medieval times remains or objects associated with a person, were held in a container or shrine referred to as a reliquary. Each of these artists interprets, using their own mediums, how this practice may be honoured in a more contemporary way.

Hendrick’s creation of four ceramic busts uses the traditional concept of a reliquary to show respect for what she considers to be an important contemporary concern, that of the state of the environment.

Drawing from personal experience, Burt refers to her reliquaries as ‘spirit-houses’ in which physical as well as spiritual remains are honoured.

Dupas’s large oil paintings use the flower metaphor to represent the journey to death or renewed life.

The opening reception for these two exhibitions will be held on Friday, June 20 at 7 p.m.with all artists in attendance. The exhibits will run until August 2.

The Kootenay Gallery, located across from the Castlegar Airport adjacent to the Doukhobor Discovery Centre, is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information visit www.kootenaygallery.com.

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