“Good artists copy, great artists steal” has become the tag line for The Rip-Offs, a collective of nine South Okanagan artists who shamelessly pilfer their creative ideas from great works of art. In a Summer Studio exhibit in July, this multimedia collective interpreted the work of American oil painter Georgia O’Keeffe, each artist in their own medium. They chose as their inspiration O’Keeffe’s dramatic Pink Tulip.
As collage artist Marion Trimble explains, “O’Keeffe was known for painting large lush flowers of dynamic energy and erotic tension.” Each artist faced the challenge of recreating the piece within five days, using a variety of media including oils, quilting, weaving, collage, 3D, wax, felting, and graphic art . The public observed their works in progress throughout the week.
Two years ago the group opened their first show, The Van Gogh Challenge, in which they each interpreted the same masterpiece Wheatfield with Cypresses using their own techniques and materials..In 2008, the collective presented Klimtomania, an homage to Art Nouveau painter Gustav Klimt and his glamorous blue portrait of Emilie Floge.
From left, the Rip-Off Artists include Terry Irvine, fabric artist (felter); Kurt Hutterli, interactive 3D installations; Barb Levant, fabric artist (weaver); Thea Haubrich, encaustic art; Enid Baker, painter; JoAnn Turner, painter; Marion Trimble, collage; Russell Work, photographer; and (missing from photo) Dianne Birne, quilter. Photo by Russell Work
Barbara Levant has been weaving, spinning, and dying for 32 years. She recreated Pink Tulip using a transparency woven with fishing line and embroidery thread (at left). Barbara also dyed yarns in the colours of O’Keeffe’s work and wove an elegant scarf.
Originally a writer from Switzerland, Kurt Hutterli also works with mixed media objects to create entertaining and interactive 3D installations. In his whimsical creation, the tulip resembles an “exploded diagram” with pistil and stamens as a 3D structure standing in front of a painting of the tulip petals.
Digital photographer Russell Work focuses on landscapes and other panoramic subjects, so his interpretation of O’Keeffe’s Pink Tulip closeup view was an artistic departure for him. “When I first saw Pink Tulip, my first thought was ‘vegetables“.” He first photographed a bean, a slice of red onion, some red cabbage leaves, and a zucchini. Using photoshopping software, he shaped and twisted each photo and then pasted each into position on a master photo to represent the various parts of the flower: the petals, stamen, pistil, leaf, and so on. The results are displayed at left.
Marion Trimble is a mixed media artist and painter. She used homemade paper and mixed paper to create a collage of the tulip image. Dianne Birnie, a member of Double O Quilters and The Fabricators, employed the techniques of fabric painting and beading. Enid Baker paid loving homage to the original artwork with a faithful representation of Pink Tulip in acrylics.
Encaustic artist Thea Haubrich specializes in an ancient art form which uses heated tools to melt and paint with pigmented beeswax.
JoAnn Turner juxtaposed the delicacy of the spring flower with a symbol of mortality: she painted the tulip across the surface of a cow skull. (see left).
Missed the action? The Rip-Offs Pink Tulip collection will be the featured exhibit at the Oliver Community Arts Council’s Fall Art Show on the first weekend in October at the Oliver Community Centre.
For more information on the Fall Art Show, type the program name into the search engine at right.
Artwork Photos by Penelope Johnson