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Lt.-Gov opens Robert Held exhibit in Parksville

Glass-work inspired by impressionist painter Claude Monet
Adam Kveton Photo Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin gets a tour from glass artist Robert Held of his new exhibit at the MAC on Saturday, July 21 for the opening of the exhibit.

A special admirer of Robert Held’s glass work was in Parksville Saturday, July 21 to open Held’s exhibit at the MAC.

Lieutenant-Governor of B.C. Janet Austin was on hand to reveal Held’s glass interpretations of impressionist painter Claude Monet’s famous work.

Taking particular cues from Monet’s paintings of water lilies and the small bridge that crosses a pond at Monet’s Giverny home in France, Held’s exhibit features a variety of glass vases and bowls, plates inspired by lily pads and others, not to mention a pond installation with a bridge, and more.

“I love what you’re doing (and) I’m so looking forward to this exhibition,” said Austin of Held’s work and the collaboration with the MAC (McMillan Arts Centre, 133 McMillan St., Parksville) in creating a much more involved and interactive exhibit than usual.

“It’s an absolute treat to actually meet you in person,” said Austin to the crowd of several dozen people at the opening.

Austin was already an admirer of Held’s work, having purchased several of his pieces in the past.

Austin was treated to a private tour of the exhibit led by Held, and was also gifted one of his glass works.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said Held of the exhibit, telling the crowd how a trip to Monet’s Giverny home in France inspired him 15 years ago.

Arriving early ahead of crowds, he said he had the opportunity to walk the place as mist covered the gardens. Held said he was particularly impressed by the Japanese-inspired garden and its bridge.

The experience, he said, triggered a mini-epiphany, which would heavily influence his own glass artwork.

“The thing that stayed with me was (Monet’s) love of impressionism, of the flowers,” said Held.

Those flowers, as well as lily pads and blue-green ponds soon featured in his work.

An offer by the MAC’s executive director, Jennifer Bate, to do a special exhibit culminated in the unique display of Held’s work, dubbed Monet reVisited, and on display until Sept. 1.

The exhibit includes a projected slideshow of Monet and his Giverny estate, glass work set in front of paintings, the pond, and an “experience alley” that visitors can walk down, where more of Held’s work is featured overhead with lights cycling through a spectrum of colours.

Held said he intends the exhibit to be a show of light and colour, as well as his interpretation of Monet’s work, who he said he believes is the greatest proponent of impressionism ever.

For more info on the exhibit and the MAC, go to