Arts Underground’s current exhibition, Fantasy in Miniature, brings a little magic into the darkest month of the year. The artists, who are all members of Yukon Art Society, were free to interpret the theme any way they liked, in whatever medium they chose. The result is a variety of work ranging from abstract painting and mice in knight costumes to small pottery vessels and fanciful pincushions.
Edwige Graham’s whimsical pincushions are like ornately-adorned cupcakes in a pastry shop window. It’s like the star baker from The Great Canadian Baking Show made an amazing show-stopper with felt, beads and buttons instead of flour, eggs and milk.
Similar to Guardians of the Galaxy’s Groot, Asia Hyde’s root vegetable `guardians” (Carrot, Beet Root and Green Onion) are spindly-legged characters that will brighten your kitchen while perhaps providing some protection.
Dee Bailey presents us with an enchanted forest in three small works. A small lantern is hung from the branch of a Lodgepole pine, lighting the way for forest creatures. A key mysteriously dangles from a birch tree and a tiny door in a rosebush offers entry to “Rosehip Place.”
Lauren Waters’ small ethereal watercolours reference the natural world – rosehips and dragonflies. Heidi Hehn takes us back to fantasy with small paintings of mice dressed as knights. Kathy Piwowar’s series of hares under the full moon seems like an ode to the winter solstice. Valerie Ross’s Moonlight Ride features a witch silhouetted against a similar moon.
Benoit Godin combines bright colours and amorphic shapes to create five tiny, untitled abstract paintings that are like fantastic, microscopic worlds. On the opposite wall, Jonathan Talon’s A Child’s Mind represents another strange place where a young girl in a castle is guarded by mice, while numerous dangers approach from the sea and sky.
Glenn Piwowar’s copper pendants with their blue patina brings a more rustic mood to the gallery, as do Amberley Cooke’s small raku vessels.
Neil Graham provides his own twist on the tarot deck with small paintings interpreting three cards from this ancient fortune-telling practice.
For witchcraft enthusiasts and fans of Harry Potter, artists Lisa Moore and Claire Cameron offer a “mini apothecary.” There is a cabinet full of vials of assorted potion ingredients (bat’s ear, dragon eggs, frog eyes, forest sprites etc.). You can fill your own miniature box of bottles and make magic spells at home.
Next door in the Edge Gallery, Kathy Piwowar’s exhibition Sharing the Planet reminds us how humans have exceeded their share of Earth’s finite resources. The show features mixed media work of the creatures we tend to exploit or endanger, intentionally or not.
Collection is a mixed media work with a grid with specimens of butterflies and moths, victims of human’s tendency to capture, contain and categorize nature.
Tundra Ghosts features three barely-perceptible caribou in a vast, empty tundra that is marred with streaks of black, oils perhaps. The animal subjects in Wandering Hare and Rabbit Business seem to inhabit odd worlds with strange colours and damaged landscapes.
In Viewpoint, four mountain goats are perched atop rocky cliffs, reminding us that we will never surpass their ability to navigate in their treacherous habitat.
A few of the works feature brighter colours. However, overall Piwowar’s work presents a world that is inhabited by animals but forever tainted by human activity, although there is not a single human in sight.
Fantasy Miniatures and Sharing the Planet are showing at Arts Underground until December 24. For more information visit: https://www.artsunderground.ca/exhibitions/fantasy-in-miniature