by Marion Trimble
The “Ripoff Artists” once again rise to the challenge as they scale new heights in lifting Lawren Harris’s “MOUNT LEFROY” during a week of open studio. So-named for their annual pilfering of a famous dead artist’s masterpiece, the Ripoffs, a “Group of Nine”, have selected the Canadian icon who was the driving force behind the formation of the Canadian, “Group of Seven”.
Lawren Harris, a major leader and influential artist of this country, was pivotal in the development of a uniquely Canadian style of landscape painting. By virtue of its isolation, he felt the Canadian landscape required a different painterly approach. This insight led him to begin simplifying his palette and forms in the belief they were capable of expressing spiritual truths. “Mount Lefroy” in it’s symbolic blues and yellows, is an example of his dramatically designed, mystical compositions.
The collective’s ringleader, fabric artist, Terry Irvine known for her functional, sometimes humorous original creations stated, “I like the simplicity of the painting, while at the same time, I’m surprised by its complexity”. “It was an easy decision in picking this year’s prey”, said paper collage artist and member, Marion Trimble. “After imitating the likes of Vincent van Gogh, Gustav Klimt and Georgia O’Keeffe in previous years challenges, it was time to come home”.
The nine artists recreating “Mount Lefroy”, a Canadian rockies buttress on the B.C./ Alberta border, represent several different art forms. Dianne Birnie and Enid Baker are both gifted members of the Double “O” Quilters and the Fabricators. Each employs a different method of quilting that always impresses. Enid in past challenges elected to paint rather than quilt so it will be a surprise to view which of her talents she employs this year. Another surprise can be expected from multi-disciplined, fine artist, JoAnn Turner. In previous challenges, she painted her image on a non traditional surface. Chosen from any one of her mediums of pottery, jewelry, basketry or clothing design, we can expect her piece to be skillfully produced. Kurt Hutterli is a writer and artist. His imaginative 3-dimensional creations of recycled, mixed media, have delighted audiences in past exhibitions. A member of several weaver’s Guilds, including the Desert Sage Spinners and Weavers in Oliver, Barbara Levant, a weaver and spinner for over 35 years, enjoys the suspense of seeing fabric develop and colours interact as she weaves.
Another Ripoff participant since it’s inception in 2007, is encaustic artist, Thea Haubrich. An active member of the Federation of Canadian Artists, her works win awards locally and nationally. As exclusive representative for Canada of the Arts Encaustic International products, she is a well-known, dedicated promoter of her art form. Pushing the boundaries of digital photography, Russell Work’s innovative images last year were an exciting addition. Known for capturing the beauty of the Okanagan Valley landscapes, he specializes in panoramic compositions. This year guest artist Leo Pedersen joins the gang. A member of the Oliver Sagebrushers, Leo is a self taught painter and woodworker who learned the basics from his grandfather and father. He now carries on a family tradition, teaching his grandchildren the love of art.
In 1940, Harris moved to Vancouver where he spent the last 33 years of his life making an enormous contribution to contemporary art. He was a strong supporter of younger artists and influenced the direction taken by the Vancouver Art Gallery. Harris was the driving force that brought together the varying talents and temperaments which formed the Group of Seven. This week his guidance reappears to inspire our very own talented Group of Nine, the Ripoff Artists.
Visitors are welcome to view the artists’ progress as they gradually ascend the lofty goal of bringing their Mount Lefroy interpretations to conclusion. The skullduggery takes place at the Quail’s Nest Arts Centre, 34273 95th St., across from the airport in Oliver. Opening reception is Monday, June 28th, 6-8 pm. Studio times Tuesday June 29th through Saturday July 3rd from 9 am to 3 pm. Join the artists during the week as they scramble to a dramatic climax by 3 pm, Saturday, July 3rd. For information contact Terry Irvine at 250-498-4156.