SSNAP Parallel Art Show artists named

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Salt Spring National Art Prize coordinators have reached another milestone in the lead-up to this year’s biennial event with confirmation of the artists and artworks that will be featured at the Parallel Art Show. 

Jurors Margaret Day, Kegan McFadden and Deon Venter have selected 51 artworks from the southern Gulf Island artists who submitted to SSNAP for the Parallel Art Show. The artwork will be exhibited at ArtSpring from Sept. 26 to Oct. 17 and on the SSNAP website throughout the exhibition. The SSNAP Finalists’ Exhibition will meanwhile be running at Mahon Hall from Sept. 24 to Oct. 25.

SSNAP founding director Ronald T. Crawford said the Parallel Art Show is an integral part of the national prize program as a whole, and for many Gulf Islands artists, being part of it is just as thrilling as being named a SSNAP finalist. 

“There were 143 Gulf Islands artists who submitted, so it wasn’t an easy show to get into and it was not an easy show for the jurors, for sure,” Crawford said. 

“The Parallel Art Show is 100 per cent necessary,” he added. “We wanted to do it right from the beginning — we didn’t do it in 2015 because starting a national art show is such a big undertaking. [But] we know how good the artists here are, and we wanted people coming here and seeing it.”

New to the Parallel Art Show for 2021 is the three-member jury. In the past, curators invited artists to participate. The exact artworks being contributed were not known to the organizers until just before the show date. Crawford said the evolution to the jury format this year put the selection process in line with how the SSNAP finalists are chosen, and it gave the organizers the ability to plan and promote the Parallel Art Show much better. 

With so many artists submitting, the jury had plenty of choice to create a high-quality show. Salt Spring curator and gallery owner Margaret Day said she felt the level of work submitted this year was higher than ever before, and perhaps the competition aspect made the difference.

“Just measuring up against your peers is such a good thing, and this gives you the opportunity to do that,” Day said. “I think the standard was really high, so it was a pretty satisfying job.”

Crawford agrees, and said the SSNAP show and submission process allows Gulf Islands artists to see where their work sits within the larger sphere, which can cause them to step up their game.

“It’s an opportunity to consider how their work looks compared to other islanders and to other artists from all across Canada, which is a really positive thing, in my opinion,” Crawford said. 

The 2021 Parallel Art Show list of artists is a diverse one that include some new names as well as some Salt Spring heavy-weights, plus a contingent of artists from Pender and Mayne. A wide variety of mediums and techniques will also be on view.

“There is a lot of installation work, some great paintings and a few prints as well, which I was happy to see,” Crawford said. 

The Parallel Art Show artists will once again be eligible for viewers’ choice awards and the three finalists will have their work shown along with all the SSNAP prize winners in a special exhibition in Vancouver in 2022. At least three Parallel Art Show artists will also be included in the series of artist talks that runs throughout the SSNAP exhibition month. 

More details about opening reception times and events will be coming as COVID rules get settled, but Crawford said things appear to be coming together for another great SSNAP season this fall.

“We’re optimistic that we’re going to have good events and we’ll have people coming to the island to see the art,” he said.

Parallel Art Show artists by island are:

Mayne Island: April Winter   
Pender Island: Kenna Barradell, Frank Ducote, Mimi Fujino, Eve Pollard,  Judith Walker, Nancy Walker  
Salt Spring Island: Susan Benson, Terri Bibby, Judy Chappus, Leslie Corry, Stefanie Denz, Seb Evans, Sibéal Foyle, Anna Gustafson, Ute Hagen, Diana Hayes, Martin Herbert, John Hoyle, Susan Huber, Denys James, John James, Kazmear Johnston, Garry Kaye, Jane Kidd, Mimi Lamarre, Bob Leatherbarrow, Liljana Mead Martin, Heather Martin-McNab, Patrick McCallum, Gillian McConnell, Peter McFarlane, Amy Melious, Larry Melious, Bernadette Mertens-McAllister, Karin Millson, J Robert Moss, Carol Narod, Judit Navratil, Doreen Palme, Pamela Plumb, Elaine Potter, Karen Reiss, Rosie Schinners, Murray Siple, Michela Sorrentino, Kim Stewart, Melanie Thompson, Nicola Wheston, Mel Williamson, Dan Zak
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