360-degree installation in Penticton surrounds art lovers

One of the latest exhibitions at the Penticton Art Gallery is sure to envelop art lovers.

One of the latest exhibitions at the Penticton Art Gallery is sure to envelop art lovers.

Regina-based artist Wilf Perreault’s Ruelle D’Amour — A Journey of Love, is a 150-foot mural dedicated to Perreault’s late wife Sandi. The piece documents important locations to Perreault and his wife and family over the course of his life and is on display in a full, panoramic 360 degrees at the gallery until Nov. 6.

“I wanted to do a panorama, originally it was just going to be in a small room so one person could kind of move their head around and get this feeling of being surrounded,” Perreault said.

After beginning the project he was inspired by French Impressionist Claude Monet’s series of 250 oil paintings: Water Lillies, displayed in a 360-degree format in Paris.

Most of Ruelle D’Amour depicts Regina, Sask. as well as Phoenix, Ariz.

“It was originally going to be colour, but the more I started working on it I realized colour would probably be too much. This way you look at the whole thing rather than individual parts,” Perreault said. “It gives you the whole feel of panorama in black and white.”

He is well known for his paintings of back alleys, something he feels expresses his artistic style.

“It feels like it’s me and not somebody else who painted it,” Perreault said. “It feels more personal because I don’t know if anyone else would obsess that way, that’s the landscape that I play with.”

The exhibition also features a book and a film — Alley Man by Jan Nowina-Zarzycki at Novina Films which depicts the creation of the piece and Perreault’s extensive look at humble alleyways.

“It was a labour of love for those guys. They really worked hard and they made me look good,” Perreault said.

The film allows those observing the exhibition to get to know Perreault on a more personal level.

The piece was brought to Penticton Art Gallery curator Paul Crawford by the filmmaker.

“I was intrigued by that, it will certainly be the largest painting we have ever displayed here in the gallery and more importantly was really intrigued by the ability of trying to create an environment where one painting would be entirely seamless,” Crawford said.

They all connect even though the scenes themselves are all separate, the painting is done in such a way that it becomes one seamless panoramic view,” Crawford added.

Though getting that seamless view wasn’t without a few challenges, Crawford said.

There was a bit of a hiccup in the two-day set up of the installation.

“I was so focused on hanging the show to fit that I didn’t realize it was backwards. I didn’t think something circular could be backwards, I went counter-clockwise when I should have gone clockwise,” Crawford said.

Ruelle D’Amour has been shown in Grand Prairie, Penticton and Regina — the largest showing the Nouveau Gallery had ever had. However, Perreault isn’t too concerned with how it was received.

“I’m more interested in what I’m going to do next. I don’t want to think about the past too much,” Perreault said.

What’s next for Perreault? An upcoming exhibition in Winnipeg entitled Wilf Perreault: Unhinged in partnership with Habitat for Humanity. He was approached by the organization with a unique concept. He’s using doors and windows as the canvas this time.

“I now have purchased and made over 60 doors and windows,” Perreault said. “It’s a lot of fun. It’s changed my world a little bit.”

In Ruelle D’Amour there are a few pieces featuring doorways, though Perreault notes it was not planned that way.

“It just happened,” Perreault said.

For more information visit www.pentictonartgallery.com. This exhibit will be in the gallery until Nov. 6.

The Penticton Art Gallery hours of operation are Tuesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and closed Monday’s. Admission is free on the weekends and $2 otherwise.

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