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Artists share ‘Visions’ exhibit at McMillan Arts Centre in Parksville

Work by Majie Lavergne and Claudia Lohmann on display until Nov. 20

Two artists with very different painting styles share an exhibition at the McMillan Arts Centre (MAC) in Parksville.

Visions includes work by Majie Lavergne and Claudia Lohmann.

Lohmann’s paintings are geometric, abstract and often symmetrical creations, which tend to be influenced by the audio books she enjoys listening to as she paints. One of the exhibit’s pieces draws from the fantasy series Caraval.

For the geometric paintings, she begins with templates, such as a ruler and different circles and plans out the piece. But for others, it is more spontaneous.

“It’s always a development while I’m painting,” Lohmann said.

She begins by priming her wooden canvas, followed by a layout sketched by pencil.

“Mostly I can’t wait, so I start painting it and it develops further and further,” she added.

Lohmann uses acrylic house paints and said she loves Benjamin Moore paint because it works perfectly on wood.

Depending on the colour, it can take as many as four layers to have it look as desired. Lohmann goes over the lines again with a pencil for each layer, and then one more pencil lining before the final varnish.

She paints for about four hours a day, completing a piece in around seven to 10 days, setting her mind to one painting before starting another.

“But it’s fun, it’s what I love to do,” Lohmann said.

“It’s a holiday, you get into a kind of meditation.”

Lohmann was born in Germany, but now resides in Ladysmith. She immigrated to Canada in 1995 with her husband and three children. In 2004, while managing a gallery on Salt Spring Island her creativity and desire to paint were catalyzed. She began to experiment with various styles and mediums and has since come to favor acrylic paint on wood and canvas.

Lohmann has displayed her work in exhibitions such as Sooke Fine Art Show, Sidney Fine Art Show, the Federation of Canadian Artist Gallery on Granville Island in Vancouver, Nanaimo Fine Art Show and in the Ladysmith Waterfront Gallery.

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Lavergne’s series, “Love Always Falls Back On Its Feet”, is his response to the sense of helplessness he sometimes feels in the difficult times the world is in.

“I started this series of paintings a little bit pre-COVID,” he said. “In each of the painting, there is the word ‘love’ and the ‘e’ of the ‘Love’ always ends up in the bottom right of each painting.”

The remaining letters are deconstructed, but are always present in the painting.

Lavergne’s main medium lately is alcohol ink, which creates unique and vivid colours on the canvas. He used to paint in acrylic, but came across alcohol ink a few years ago by chance.

“I just fell in love with it,” he said. “It’s a very, very different way of working. It’s very fluid, so it’s very watery. Often I work with gravity and, by holding the painting in a certain way, I create a certain flow in the medium.”

The watery ink keeps Lavergne on his toes, but the amazing colours are worth it.

His favourite painting in the series was inspired by a quote by the 13th century Persian poet Rumi: “Out beyond ideas of right-doing and wrongdoing, there is a field. I will meet you there.”

Lavergne said he wanted to do a piece about people being able to meet and find common ground, amidst the polarized and conflicted world of the past several years.

Stylistically, he is interested in the balance between geometric and organic shapes — it can sometimes be difficult to find that balance and make a piece work, he added.

Lavergne said it takes about a month for him to finish a painting and he often works on a few pieces at a time.

He was born in Paris and has received five awards from the Federation of Canadian Artists (FCA). His work has appeared in more than 30 solo and group exhibitions in France, the U.S. and Canada.

Visions is on display in the Concert Gallery at the MAC (133 McMillan St.).

Lynne Patrick’s exhibition, Growth, which explores beach grass landscapes and wild bird murmurations, can be viewed in the MAC’s Nemeth Gallery.

It includes plays on visual perspective: the beach grass growing at one’s feet superimposed on the expansiveness of a sky view or a distant ocean horizon. The series emerged after several days of camping near Tofino.

“Abstraction is my favourite way of exploring an idea with paint and collage,” Patrick said in a news release from the MAC.

“I use intuitive techniques such as collage, layering of paint and scraping or scratching into wet paint which adds mystery, depth and fragmentation simulating the imperfection of vision, the fluid nature of memory and the richness of lived experience.”

A group exhibition by Joan Larson and the Pastel Pushers is on display in the Oceanside Gallery at the MAC.

Local artist Larson has been leading the painting group for several years — eight of the 12 members’ work is on display.

“We’ve passed the student/teacher relationship and now we get together to paint and share our time and enthusiasm,” Larson said in the release.

The three exhibits will be on at the MAC through Nov. 20.

Majie Lavergne’s series “Love Always Falls Back On Its Feet” is part of the ‘Visions’ art exhibition at the McMillan Arts Centre in Parksville.(Kevin Forsyth photo)

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