Destanne Norris is one of 22 valley artists featured in the upcoming Headbones Gallery exhibit OkanAWEgan. (Submitted Photo)

Prepare to be awed by Okanagan artists

Vernon gallery celebrates valley talent with latest exhibit

Despite a recent European experience soaked in rich arts and culture, the Okanagan’s artistic talents continue to leave a local gallery in awe.

To celebrate the multitude of talent in the valley, Headbones Gallery presents OkanAWEgan, with an opening reception Saturday, Dec. 7, 2-5 p.m.

Featuring 22 artists from the south, central and north Okanagan, the exhibit runs until Feb. 22, 2020.

“We have just returned from the Venice Biennale, the Istanbul Biennale, Berlin, London and Paris and it reinforced our determination to showcase work done right here in the Okanagan because it stands up,” said Julie Oakes, owner of the Vernon gallery at 6700 Old Kamloops Rd. “That is why this exhibition is titled OkanAWEgan because the works inspire awe as does the Okanagan, where those feelings of reverence and admiration are prompted by the physical landscape.”

From the South Okanagan: Penticton’s Glenn Clark and Johann Wessels put realist steps forward, Wessels referencing the natural world –a raven, heron and eagle – and Clark, the fresh face of a younger generation, expressive and defiant. Summerland’s Robert Dmytruk adds to the rush of color that was part of his recent exhibition with David Cantine.

From Kelowna, Johann Feught and Diane Feught’s most recent works will be present, topping up their current exhibitions at Headbones Gallery. Fern Helfand has her camera’s eye on forestry. In her layered works the meaning is supported by technical skill so that the subject is treated from a perspective that is detailed and inclusive. Mary McCulloch uses her trained hand to highlight one of the Okanagan’s primary attractions – the vineyards. John Hall takes up the flame for realism this time referencing the very world of fine arts with his paintings of paintings – nothing straightforward here but a deep dive into the mind and materials that make up a painter’s frame of reference. Briar Craig’s text-based works bring the artist’s role into the realm of political commentary with unavoidable illusions.

Wanda Lock, whose studio is in Lake Country, depicts the rodent in the same frame as the human while David Alexander, also Lake Country, and most well known as a painter, moves into the third dimension – in Liliputian scale with tongue in cheek.

Vernon artist Destanne Norris addresses both the landscape and the journey in her large painting Night Ride Home. David Wilson shows a new tondo that is in line with his water series which is currently in the Kelowna Art Gallery Airport space. Judith Jurica’s new abstract work pulls elements from nature into a similar context as textile design but the overriding impression is of interconnectedness between islands, as if we are seeing the earth from a great height. Janelle Hardy, whose drawings and performance work were featured at Headbones this year, will bring the human body into our Okanagan reference. Heidi Thompson’s large scale color field work provides a lush respite into the spirit.

The sculptors, Doug Alcock and David Montpetit bring together glass and steel in a controlled light while Reg Kienast utilizes the direct power of the sun in his glass and steel creations. Deborah Wilson’s hand-carved jade concentrates on Buddhist references within a context of beauty embedded brought forth by skill that is recognized on a world stage.

Katherine Pickering is a segue between the two dimensional and three for her sleek mounted and shaped images utilize both painting and sculpture to access beauty.

And from Salmon Arm, Jen Dyck’s perspicacious collaged pieces sum up the face of contemporary life in all its diversity and implications. Steve Mennie reaches visual plateaus hitherto unexplored with his quilt paintings. Herald Nix presents a group of small landscapes that record his engagement with a stretch of land and water. Ann Kipling from Enderby also has touched her surrounds with diligence and sensitivity.

“Overall, OKanAWEgan is an opportunity to view diverse works of a high calibre all under one roof, much like an art fair or biennale but all made right here the Okanagan,” said Oakes.

READ MORE: Vernon artist waves women’s flag in Penticton

READ MORE: Holiday love abounds with classic tale at Vernon theatre


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