Klimtomania at Handworks Gallery


“Good artists copy. Great artists steal.” said Picasso. The Rip-Off Artists steal shamelessly. This multi-media collective appears at Handworks Gallery on Oliver’s Main Street, April 1 – 30. Artists’ reception Saturday April 25th, 2 – 4 p.m.

The Rip Off Artists previously re-invented the works of Vincent Van Gogh. The current touring exhibit is inspired by Viennese painter Gustav Klimt (1862 – 1918).

The participants in the collective include South Okanagan artists Marion Trimble (mixed media collage), Terry Irvine (felting), Diane Birnie (quilting), Enid Baker (painting), Kurt Hutterli (3-D), Barb Levant (fabric arts), JoAnn Turner (furniture painting), Thea Haubrich (encaustic art), Oliver Sagebrushers (painting), and Adam Silbernagel (pen and ink).

Klimt’s work is known for its lavish use of colour, especially gold and other metallics. He also uses repeating geometric patterns, filling the background with swirls, or clothing with a multi-coloured patchwork of rectangles, circles, and triangles. Klimt was also famous for his beautiful female models. As a Symbolist, he believed in freeing art from the restrictions of realistic painting, and as a member of the Art Nouveau movement, he gave his art the elegant, graceful, flowing lines typical of the period.


The Klimtomania exhibit reproduces the famous full-length portrait of Klimt’s companion, Emilie Floge, an elegant woman in an iridescent blue gown. Trimble, collage artist, uses mixed media to recreate Emilie, including cheesecloth, tissue paper, glossy magazine paper, fabric, beads, and paint (see above).  Fabric klimtomania-levant-3artist Terry Irvine interpreted Emilie Floge as a felted doll on a wire armature. In a humourous before-and-after set of paintings, Enid Baker reimagined Emilie dressed and undressed.

Levant has woven a stunning tunic style top in metallics and blues (see left).

Thea Haubrich uses the ancient art of encaustic (painting with hot wax) to create a glossy, brilliantly coloured portrait. Diane Birnie employed quilting techniques to create a fabric “painting”. Turner reproduced the portrait on a set of cabinet doors. Silbernagel blended the styles of Picasso and Klimt to produce an unusual colour pencil portrait.

Kurt Hutterli, who works in 3-D found object contructions and painting recreated Emilie Floge in a full size interactive piece (see below).

By turns educational and entertaining, the Klimtomania exhibit is not to be missed.


klimtomania-hutterliHandworks Gallery, 35648 – 97 Street

Gallery hours are Tues.-Fri, 10 – 4:30, Sat. 10 – 4pm.

 Photos by Val Friesen