All That Glitters

Flecks of gold sparkle in a miniature painting; jewelry made with a gem named ‘fire citrine’ creates a pool of golden light; the graceful swoops of porcelain pottery are delicately rimmed in gold.

The Yukon Arts Society’s Au, The Gold Show is a composite of mediums—sculpture, oil paintings, collage, textiles, jewelry—linked by one common element: gold.

Curators Cass Collins and Rosemary Scanlon appealed to Yukon Arts Society members to create pieces playing on the theme for Au, The Gold Show.

The call for submissions read: “Au can be read with a sigh of longing, or in a sharp exhalation suggesting ow! It also happens to be the chemical symbol for gold.”

“Throwing Gold”, by exhibit co-curator Cass Collins 

Each artist has interpreted the idea of gold in their own compelling way: Suzanne Paleczny’s arresting oil-on-canvas portrait, “Dahab Woman II” depicts a world-worn woman (in her golden years?), the sombremelancholy in her eyes juxtaposed by the flash of gold in her over-sized earrings.

James Kirby’s elegant jewelry collection features a ring titled “Shotgun

Wedding”, crafted from a shotgun barrel, nine diamonds and white gold. Helen O’Connor’s “Golden Pear” is a sculptural piece that bursts off the wall, capturing the curves of a pear in shimmering gold leaf and fragile handmade paper.

Other artists pick up on the Yukon’s history with mining for the element.

Simon Gilpin’s “After the Goldrush” is a bleak charcoal drawing that hints at the aftermath of gold-digger hysteria.

In “There’s Gold in Them Thar Hills”, Gabrielle Watt’s acrylic painting alludes to several kinds of gold. Her gorgeous handiwork captures the blazing sun creating a pool of golden light on a hillside while in the foreground, bright yellow birches are aflame in autumn foliage.

In addition to co-curating, Collins also has some work of her own in the show.

“I was inspired by spring,” she says of her paintings, which feature robins.

This leads to a discussion on the golden light of Yukon springs. If every place has its own palette, gold is certainly one of the Yukon’s colours.

Brilliant noon sun reflecting off the remains of pure white mountaintop snow, the intensity of the sun as we spin closer towards summer solstice, the dramatic pigments painted in the sky when the weather oscillates between grey rain and golden sun.

The members of the Yukon Arts Society have played with this element in an impressive array of interpretations and mediums, culminating in an exhibition that sparks and gleams.

You can see Au, The Gold Show at Arts Underground on Main Street in Whitehorse until May 26.

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