Realistic landscape and whimsical collage

There’s a delightful new show at Gallery 22 of landscape, portrait and abstract artworks by four women with four different styles. While the title of the show, Four Women àla carte, suggests a culinary element, there is no food in sight. Nevertheless, these four women give you a lot to chew on.

The featured artists are Gabriele Watts, Glenda Mosher, Kathy Piwowar, and Edwige Graham and their work falls into two main styles. Watts and Mosher use acrylic paint in a realistic, representational way, while Piwowar and Graham are inspired by collage and assemblage.

Watts shows three canvases, all landscapes in a horizontal format. Her painting “Northern Lights” shows the last gentle colours of sunset tint the sky and you can see the city of Whitehorse and Robert Service Way by their lights. Small red dots of light punctuate the glow of the road on top of the clay cliffs.

In “Down Pour”, a spring scene, snow still dots the tawny grasses at the river’s edge. Blue sky and white clouds are visible through the standing rain that fringes down from a bank of heavy clouds.

The air itself has substance in Watts’ paintings. Light is caught in water vapour or other particles in the atmosphere.

Mosher also paints Yukon landscapes, as well as some candid figures. Brushstrokes play a larger role in her paintings than in Watt’s works.

Mosher’s landscapes often include roads and use both rectangular and square formats. In “Wide, Wild & Windy”, we see what looks like Bennett Lake. In this painting, her brushstrokes create a sense of movement. Fine white lines, evidence of rapid brush movement, streak the sky giving the impression of wind. There are also some good, loose gestural marks in the foreground, describing vegetation.

Her figures might be painted from cell phone snap shots. They catch a moment on the street. They’re empathetic, evocative and whimsical. It’s great to see Howard Chymyshyn playing “Cool Weather Jazz,” immortalized in paint.

Piwowar’s paintings use collage and experimental painting technique. One painting technique she uses involves a loose under painting in gouache on heavy watercolour paper. That painting is then covered in ink, which is then washed off. It creates an interesting, grainy texture, which plays up the brushstrokes in the original painting. These watercolour sheets are mounted onto wooden panels. Piwowar uses collage elements including ribbon and metal with acrylic to complete her pieces.

On occasion, she cuts the watercolour paper with a razor blade and collages it onto the black-painted panel with space separating the two pieces, creating a strong graphic line. This kind of line is also found in Graham’s fabric pieces.

Graham has collaged fabrics, buttons, and other findings into unique scarves and bags. “Pink Dreams Scarf” includes a functional pocket and a pink tulle tutu at the end of its fleece length. The “Yellow Fur Bag” includes a set of chopsticks in the design you can remove, use, wipe clean, and return to their sculptural, decorative task.

Graham’s innovative pieces have sculptural presence. They’re installed in the middle of the space over black-velour covered plinths. Scarves hang gymnastically from suspended hoops.

Four Women à la carte continues at Gallery 22, above Triple J’s in the parking lot behind Hougens, until November 17.

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