Artrepreneur: Minus 40/North of 60

The members of the Yukon Artists @ Work Co-operative have put together a pre-Christmas show that gives viewers a multifaceted portrait of winter life in the Yukon.

Not surprisingly, blue and violet tones predominate the walls of the Solo Show Room. Nevertheless, there’s a sense of warmth and Yukon quirkiness in the face of the cold.

The show includes an original watercolour by Stephanie Ryan. The co-operative has trouble supplying the Whitehorse art market with enough of these; it’s always nice to get one in the gallery. This piece, The Sauna … by far my favourite place to be at -40 C, brings some of that warmth to the show.

So does Daphne Mennell’s Warm lights in deep winter. It depicts the light spilling out of a house at night onto the snow.

Heidi Hehn contributes a landscape in violet tones with a yellow and orange sky, as well as a raven on a street lamp in a similar palette. The crescent moon in the background echoes the shape of its open beak.

John Boivin also works with acrylic and a focused palette. His Winter Birch studies the blue tones in the shadow lines cast on the snow by Dalmatian vertical birches with distant green spruce in the background.

Wendy Whitemore takes that colour focus even further with a monochromatic study in gestural brushwork in her blue and white study of a snowy forest fire burn.

Nearby, in At 40 Below, even the moose turn blue as Kate Williams takes this colour scheme around a quirky corner in a wool tea cosy with needle felting.

Blue pigment darkens fine, feathery etched lines in the surfaces of Rich Claxton’s Blue Ice Sweet Dishes, against their pale clay bodies.

Jeanine and Paul Baker have installed their pieces together. Jeanine’s kiln-carved fuse glass Glacial Ice describes an elongated pale turquoise S curve with pink details and very fine lines.

Paul’s downhill skier, of welded bound objects and steel parts, sports a flowing scarf, a fire extinguisher dial for a face and sculpted buttocks of made two large nuts.

Arctic Winter Games is the surprising title for a chess set made of burls, antler and nuggets made by Bob Atkinson.

Joyce Majiski contributes 18 small mixed-media assemblages on small boxes hung in a cluster called Things I dream of at 40 below. Materials include small pebbles and dragonfly wings.

Next to these, Nicole Bauberger (ahem, me) has installed a selection from her 100 Dresses for December’s Deepening Darkness, including Dress and Sorels, and Windshield Scraping Dress.

Janelle Hardy has playfully embellished her photographic print of a snowy bush with orange, blue and green gel-pen lines reminiscent of her abstract watercolours.

Lillian Loponen experiments with modelling paste in her acrylic Holding the night. Streaky vertical lines falling down behind the black spruce suggest Northern Lights.

And to wear out on that night, Ann MacKenzie offers Party Party -40, a felted wool, silk and synthetic white scarf that shimmers like snow crystals, paired with a Fantasizer, a tiny flat hat-esque confection of coloured beads, feathers and felt.

In addition, the rest of the gallery has been re-hung with lots of other new work from the artists.

The show will continue until the gallery closes on Jan. 3 for its annual break when artist members patch and re-paint the walls afresh for the coming year. Until then, it’s open 7 days a week, with entrance through the Copper Moon Gallery, most Mondays to Thursdays.

That being said, unlike most shows in the Solo Show Room at Yukon Artists @ Work, purchasers will be free to take pieces home with them to squirrel away for Christmas or to send to loved ones Outside. Many of the artists have work to fill those holes as they appear, but for the best view, check it out soon.

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