The RipOff Artists recently completed their latest RipOff Challenge Week at the Quail’s Nest Arts Centre. Each recreated “Garden of Love II (Improvisation 27)” by abstract painter Wassily Kandinsky (1866 – 1944) in their own medium. This collective of nine artists span the media of photography and digital arts (Russell Work), three-dimensional (Kurt Hutterli), wood-working (Leo Pedersen), wood painting (JoAnn Turner), weaving (Barbara Levant), quilting (Enid Baker), felting (Terry Irvine), encaustic art (Thea Haubrich), and multimedia collage (Marion Trimble). Guest artist Tara Hovanes joined the collective to paint a large acrylic canvas.
Saturday July 13 was the culmination of a week’s worth of intense artistic creativity, and attracted visitors eager to see the finished products. Nevertheless, visitors streamed through earlier in the week to view works in progress, chat about the process and, of course, learn about the RipOff’s inspiration, Wassily Kandinsky.
Kandinsky is respected as the first truly abstract painter, but also contributed to art theory and philosophy. He was fascinated with colour symbolism. Kandinsky was gifted with synesthesia, the ability to experience colour as sound.
“Colour is the keyboard, the eyes are the hammers, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand which plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul”. Theosophy, the study of the divine in nature and humanity, also influenced his work.
The RipOff Artists selected work from the Kandinsky canon was Garden of Love (Improvisation 27). It is marked by large, vibrant masses of colour, interspersed with flowing lines and short dramatic strokes of darker or more intense hue.
Taking his cue from music, Kandinsky classified this spontaneous work an “improvisation”.
1. Marion Trimble‘s completed multimedia collage closely resembles the original “Garden of Love”.
2.Kurt Hutterli pauses his painting to smile
3. Terry Irvine sews hand-felted sections together
4. Leo Pedersen assembles wooden pieces
5. Enid Baker lays out backing for her quilted tryptich
6. JoAnn Turner‘s painted tabletop invites many visitors to comment; “It looks like a painter’s palette!”
7. Barbara Levant weaves a vest inspired by the colours of Kandinsky’s “sun” in the centre of the “Garden of Love”
8 and 9. Russell Work excitedly discusses Kandinsky’s synesthesia, the basis for his visual soundscape. When rolled over with the cursor, each section of the painting on the computer screen emits a different sound inspired by its colour and form.
Missed the show? See the complete exhibit at the Fall Art Show and Sale at the Oliver Community Centre October 5 – 6.
Photo credit: Penelope Johnson