Gulf Islands Driftwood
Voice of the Southern Gulf Islands

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Parallel show reveals artists in their prime

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Anyone who has been feeling inspired and nourished by the breadth of ideas and mediums to be found at the SSNAP finalists’ show will be excited to learn there is a similar experience to be had at ArtSpring for the rest of the main exhibition period.

The SSNAP Parallel show is aptly named indeed, consisting of 50 works that reflect the ideals and technical prowess of the 49 finalist pieces exhibited at Mahon Hall. An official SSNAP event, the ArtSpring show features Salt Spring artists who submitted entries for the prize. And although only six of the 110 islanders who submitted works were chosen as SSNAP finalists, the Parallel show is not in any way second-best or off-cuts. Most of the local SSNAP finalists are in fact included in the show, and all of the pieces arguably feature the main show’s contemporary edge.

“Curated by Matt Steffich and Anthony Matthews, this exhibition demonstrates why Salt Spring Island is known as one of the premier arts communities in Canada,” promotional material states, and with good reason.

In many cases the works are not what we’d expect from artists we may know well; they demonstrate a willingness to step outside comfort zones and push themselves to the national prize level. There is also an exciting number of fresh names.

One eye-catching piece getting a lot of attention during the show’s opening day on Friday was a mixed-media installation by Karin Millson called Memory Hive. The work comprises delicately constructed paper pods strung like popcorn and hung in a cluster. Each pod appears to have been handcrafted out of tiny folded paper segments and treated with a glue solution to stiffen them. They emit spools of narrow gauge recording tape, each of which has a name or title inscribed on it in tiny print. As they get lower down the line, the pods appear to have been delicately singed so they are both darker and more porous. The piece is indicative of the SSNAP ideal, marrying a strong concept with a well-executed product.

For more of Elizabeth Nolan’s art show review, see the Oct. 4, 2017 issue of the Gulf Islands Driftwood newspaper, or subscribe online.

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