The Penticton Art Gallery will be buzzing with activity next weekend with opening receptions for three new exhibits.
In the Main Gallery, the work of Canadian John Koerner will be featured in the exhibit The Hidden Side of Nature: A Centennial Celebration. Just over a week out from his 100th birthday he will be in Penticton for an artist walk and talk.
“He is amazing and still painting, not every day but still actively painting,” said art gallery curator Paul Crawford.
Koerner was born in Czechoslovakia on Sept. 29, 1913 and not long after settling in Canada in 1939 he began exhibiting his oil paintings and water colours. His work spans a century inspired by the outdoors of B.C., panorama’s and impressions of cities of his European youth and abstract impressions of landscapes.
“If you think of the history he has lived, and that his family fled from Czechoslovakia it is just fascinating sitting and talking to him. We are very lucky to have him here. A lot of people don’t realize the history he was involved in from the 50s to developing his own vision which are all formed by his own spiritual belief,” said Crawford.
After retiring as a teacher at the University of B.C., Koerner bought a house with a view across Burrard Inlet to Point Atkinson which became the focus of the Lighthouse series which comprises today of over 115 works. This was followed by a number of other series including The Garden of Eden, The Pacific Gateway Series. Over the last 20 years his output has not wavered and he is celebrated as one of the forces behind the rise of west coast modernism and a uniquely west coast aesthetic.
In the Project Room, Laura Widmer: The Character of Line will open on Sept. 20 with a walk and talk on Sept. 21 at 2 p.m. and Oct. 23 at 2 p.m. Printmaking and drawing are at the heart of Widmer’s art practice. Her larger-than-life portraits, including lithographs, lino cuts and drawings, explore the character of specific individuals in an effort to convey a specific moment of personal connection with each of the chosen subjects. The third exhibit, the art gallery has partnered with the B.C. Schizophrenia Society to showcase work created in their art therapy program. Beyond Words: Art Therapy and Mental Health will be displayed in the Toni Onley Gallery starting Sept. 20.