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  • Writer's pictureSusan Haigh

Beyond Flowers

Friends and neighbours for 30 years, artists Susan Haigh and Diana Lynn Thompson have joined forces to present a show titled “Beyond Flowers” at the Salt Spring Gallery of Fine Art. Running from June 22nd until July 11th, with an opening from 5pm - 8pm on June 22nd, this is an event not to miss.

Sharing a deep love and respect for nature each artist has followed her heart and become well known for sincerity and reverence in her art.

Thompson is a well-known environmental artist who has been described as “a pilgrim of wonder in the natural world” and previous installations have been referred to as “profound conceptual and meditative undertakings.” Thompson’s desire for connection and communication with nature is woven throughout her many momentary & ephemeral installations - works that disappear shortly after they are created. Luckily for us she has documented her projects well and a visit to her website will immerse you in Diana's world of possibilities and contemplation.

More recently Diana has been exploring clay. This started with a desire to show that human sensibility is in line with the natural world. At first she formed ceramic pebbles and stones, then she moved on to delicate porcelain leaves for one installation and shell shapes for another.

For this show Diana’s focus has been on vases. A vase, she says, brings its contents to our attention, placing them in clear focus. Her vases for this show have an organic beauty in their hand-pinched, rolled or coiled construction. Many of them are glazed with local clay and the ash of local trees. Some are small, offering a background to a single flowers beauty, while others are larger, rougher, ready to balance a full bough.

Susan Haigh has been painting for thirty years, and has a loyal following. She is best known for her vibrant flower paintings, which spill over the sides of her canvas. She has painted apple blossoms, the petals of a rose, or the opening of a peony as if with a close-up lens, bringing the viewer fully inside, plunged into light and colour. Walk into a room with one of Susan’s paintings in it and you feel its presence, offering warmth and pleasure. There is an honesty in Susan’s painting that is captivating. She doesn’t try to woo her audience with style or flair – it’s as if she tries to step aside, allowing her subject to speak for itself.

Lately Susan has been inspired to do smaller works and focus on trees and the longer view. She first showed her Treescapes at the Salt Spring Gallery last May. Creating small works in a tall thin format has let her realise a whole new stream of possible compositions. While in New Zealand for part of this past winter, she painted on paper, alternating between Salt Spring and Kiwi scenes. Trying to keep her work loose is a constant battle but she is enjoying the challenge to get to the essence of the natural beauty of the subject and let the light shine through.

Beyond the contained intimacy of the singular vase, beyond flowers, lies the forest and the field, the mountains and the sea — the spacious breath of the natural world.

The exhibition will be in the 'A' Space at Salt Spring Gallery of Fine Art at 135 McPhillips Ave, Ganges, open 7 days a week from 10 - 5.


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