South Okanagan Ripoff Artists take on abstract art

A larcenous group of South Okanagan artists are ready to turn heads at the Quail’s Nest Arts Centre in Oliver.

Stalking “the father of abstract art,” a larcenous group of South Okanagan artists are ready to turn heads at the Quail’s Nest Arts Centre in Oliver.

Known as the Ripoff Artists, a group of talented artists in a variety of media join forces every summer to interpret a masterpiece by a famous artist in their own way.

“It’s always a challenge because we use so many different varieties of media in our group and the piece that gets chosen doesn’t always suite everyone,” said Marion Trimble, a collage artist. “We also learn a lot from each other because it is not often a group would work together and interpret the same piece quite like this. We get to see how other artists use their tools or materials and share how each other can use it in our own mediums.”

For their seventh annual challenge, the artists will celebrate Wassily Kandinsky (1866 to 1944) as they delve into his piece Garden Of Love.

This year marks 100 years since a major exhibit in New York, the Armory Show, changed the face of modern art. Many famous artists had works in the show, and the Ripoff Artists will be ransacking Kandinsky’s entry which is also known as Improvisation #27. Each artist will also include the number 13 somehow in their individual pilfered piece.

“Prior to this show everyone preferred classical art. Here you had all the new modern artists from Europe invited to New York and it was hated at the time, but it did change the face of art in North America,” said Trimble.

The annual event began in 2007 when friends Terry Irvine and Trimble invited artists they knew to join them in interpreting one famous work of art, each in their own medium.

The challenge has since expanded from one day to fill a week during the summer at Quail’s Nest Arts Centre in Oliver. Artists do the prep work at home, then bring their piece to the centre to work on during the week.

On July 8 from 6 to 8 p.m. there will be an opening reception with each of the artists showing a different piece of work that they have already reinterpreted from the Armory Show along with a storyboard to explain what they did and who the original artist was.

Starting Tuesday the artists get to work on the Kadinsky piece and the finale will wrap up at 3 p.m. on July 13.

“People love coming in at the beginning of the week to see what we are doing and we developed quite a following. They return throughout the week and by the finale, the place is packed to see if we have completed the challenge by the time the bell rings at 3 p.m. on Saturday,” said Trimble. “We definitely encourage people to drop in and ask questions and come see what we are doing.”

Artists stepping up to the challenge this year are Thea Haubrich, Enid Baker, Kurt Hutterli, Terry Irvine, Leo Petersen, Barb Levant, Marion Trimble, JoAnn Turner, Russell Work and guest artist Tara Hovanes.

Previous exploits of the Ripoff Artists will be shown at venues around Oliver during the week.