During the last week of June, the South Okanagan’s RipOff Artists attracted media coverage and crowds of curious onlookers with their fourth annual exhibit, “ripping off” Group of Seven’s Lawren Harris and his iconic Mount Lefroy. During a weeklong demonstration and exhibit, each of the ten artists in the collective interpreted the famous painting in their own medium.
Leo Pedersen’s 3-D woodworking installation in progress.
Encaustic artist Thea Haubrich recreates Mount Lefroy in hot beeswax.
JoAnn Turner turns a CD cabinet into a work of art. Can you see the drawer knobs? Or are they surreal snowballs and mountain rocks?
3-D artist Kurt Hutterli adds the finishing touches to an elaborate installation. Painted egg cartons on the floor give the illusion that his artwork is at the “pinnacle” . The whimsical climbing figures added to Harris’ landscape are adapted from a famous period photograph of Rocky Mountain alpinists.
Kurt Hutterli discusses his tongue-in-cheek demo piece with OCAC member Dot Cranston. Mount Lefroy is painted on the hood of a rusted car, cruched in the shape of a mountain peak. Hutterli wonders (with a twinkle in his eye, of course) if the car perhaps once belonged to Lawren Harris himself?
Spinner and weaver Barb Levant recreates Mount Lefroy into an outfit a sherpa or alpinist would be proud to wear. She carefully chose colours and banded patterns to match Harris’ original painting.
Quilter Dianne Birne adds the last finishing stitches to her fabric interpretation of the painting.
Enid Baker reinterprets the masterpiece in watercolours.
Photographer Russell Work cleverly reimagines Mount Lefroy as “two-two-two Mounts in one!” His photo installation rotates (much like some modern billboards) to switch from the Lefroy painting to a photo of artist Harris at work on Mount Lefroy.
Collage artist Marion Trimble painstakingly glues strips of fabric and paper onto her piece.
And now for the finished exhibit! Marion Trimble, Enid Baker, Barbara Levant, Russell Work, JoAnn Turner, Terry Irvine (knitter), Diane Birnie, Leo Pedersen, and Thea Haubrich. Missing from photo: Kurt Hutterli.
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.
The Oliver-based artists’ collective known as the Ripoff Artists are getting ready to “lift” the work of Group of Seven painter Lawren Harris, “Mount Lefroy”.
Each exhibit, the Ripoffs select one famous piece of artwork for inspiration. Each artist in the collective then works independently in their chosen medium to capture the essence of the masterpiece. The Ripoff Artists excel in photography, wood working, 3-D, weaving, felting, quilting, encaustic (hot wax) art, mixed media collage. In previous years, the artists have “ripped off” such great artists as Vincent Van Gogh, Gustav Klimt, and Georgia O’Keeffe. Their interpretations are always breathtaking in their creativity!
Find out the artists’ visions at the opening reception. Drop by to watch the artists at work during the week. Return for the final frenzy and the finished creations on the Saturday.
Come experience Harris’ “Mount Lefroy” with all your senses!
Monday June 28 – Saturday July 3Quail’s Nest Arts Centre34274 – 95th Street, Oliver BCOpening Reception: Monday June 28 6 – 8 p.m.Daily Demonstrations in Studio: Tuesday to Saturday 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.