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4 new exhibitions coming to McMillan Arts Centre in Parksville

Artwork on display May 31 to June 26
Four new exhibitions are coming to the McMillan Arts Centre (MAC). Gallery patrons will be able to check out the work of Sheena McCorquodale, Lisa Riehl, Jim Decker and Bille Blue from May 31 to June 26. (Submitted photo)

Four new exhibitions are coming to the McMillan Arts Centre (MAC). Gallery patrons will be able to check out the work of Sheena McCorquodale, Lisa Riehl, Jim Decker and Bille Blue from May 31 to June 26.

WIRED will be McCorquodale’s first solo exhibition of wire sculptures and will feature more than a dozen full-sized figures, along with a collection of smaller wall and table mount figures, displayed in a blacked out room with lighting projected onto the sculptures.

She uses painted galvanized chicken wire to create lifelike sculptures suitable for interior or exterior applications, making them ideal for garden features. McCorquodale has worked as a commercial artist all her adult life in sign design, computer graphics, hand-painted designs, TV set graphics, theatre set and prop design and typography. She has lived in the Qualicum Bay area since 2002. In 2015, she opened the Comfy Cat Kennel and Cathouse Gallery to pursue her love of sculpture.

Riehl’s oil and acrylic painting exhibit, In the Midst of Wonder, features scenes from the Island, from majestic old-growth trees and forests to the beaches of the west coast.

A unique feature of the show are Haiku poems specially crafted to pair with each painting. Through these short Japanese poems, and the phrases she chooses as titles for each of her paintings, Riehl shares what she feels with each scene she has created.

“When I’m working on a canvas, focusing there for hours at a time, it’s like I’m in a meditation, reaching deep down into the core of my being. What I create from there seems to have its own energy,” Riehl said in a news release from the MAC.

Riehl is from Victoria and goes almost everywhere with her camera. Once home in her studio, she uses the photos and the impressions she felt as references for her artwork.

Riehl is self-taught but has learned much from numerous painting workshops. She became an associate member of the Federation of Canadian Artists (FCA) in 2011 and has been in many juried art shows.

Decker is a retired veterinarian living on southern Vancouver Island. As a child growing up on the prairies he was happiest while outside playing in the bushes and fields observing and interacting with nature. This later translated into a keen interest in photography and his current exhibition, Nature’s Bounty.

Coming back to photography in retirement, Decker embraced digital camera technology and also started a new activity, recreational diving.

“This was a whole new world to explore and photograph. I enjoy the challenges posed by photographing subjects underwater as well as the opportunity to capture the images to view later at my leisure,” Decker said.

He enjoys photographing nature — an angry sky, a beautiful sunset or the rolling surf are all examples of Mother Nature’s ever changing conditions that he loves to capture and share with his photos.

Growth & Knowledge displays the path toward finding the style, mood, and concepts that Billie Blue came to incorporate into her art practice. After experimenting with multiple types of mediums and subject matter in art school, Blue began working with watercolour and ink depicting representational subjects. She worked on a series called Contemporary Portraits, in which she created modernized versions of historical paintings.

“While working on this series I used information and findings from my education in Studies in Women and Gender, taking into consideration the objectification of women and the male gaze that felt so catered to in historical portraiture,” Blue said.

The drive to explore narrative artwork and further expand on her illustrative style led Blue to explore animals and settings, experimenting with going beyond standard portraiture. She turned to the realm of children’s books, both new and classic, drawing inspiration from the varied use of lines and bright colour schemes. Eventually, this path led Blue to work on a children’s illustration portfolio.

Growth & Knowledge is an exhibition showing the growth of an artist and the knowledge an artist gathers to move into the path they desire in their practice.

— NEWS Staff, submitted