After numerous successful shows by its five core members, Art Alchemy, the artist-run studio-gallery, celebrates its first year of activity with work from outside their regular core group.
Former Vancouverite Martha Jablonski-Jones will show a collection of urban landscapes done over the past few years, opening Nov. 16.
“We wanted to broaden public awareness of the gallery by inviting outside artists,” said painter Jennifer Weber, one of the five members of Art Alchemy. “It also gives other artists an opportunity to show in this venue.”
“Our first opening to the public was Nov. 25, 2011,” says glass artist Stacey Wright. “Since then we’ve created an artist-in-residence program with three emerging artists working in the studio.
“We’re growing our classroom programming to include a variety of workshops and classes. We ran Dynamic Figure Drawing sessions all last winter. Martha will be our first non-Art Alchemy artist, after which we’ll have a group ‘birthday celebration’ show.”
Martha, who moved to Courtenay a year and a half ago, was delighted with the invitation.
“The art community here has been incredibly welcoming,” she says. “This is a great opportunity to show something a little different in Courtenay.”
The difference is mainly in the subject matter — run-down buildings, gritty alleys, things just off the beaten track. Martha is inspired by the city, the rich textures of weathered brick, the wear and tear of age and human occupation. Industrial areas also provide an abundant source of colour, structure, and the gradual decay that suggests a complex human past.
“It’s taken me awhile to get ‘into’ the ambience of Courtenay. Of course I love nature. That’s why I came here. You can only live by the docks and the noise and the exhaust for so long.
“But I’ve had to search for the spirit that moves me when it comes to painting outside a big city.”
She thinks she’s found it, and has added a couple of new Courtenay pieces to her urban collection.
“It’s not about a perfect picturesque scene. It’s always something really ordinary, just around the back, that somehow catches your attention.”
The show runs Nov. 16 to Dec. 1. Gallery hours are Thursday through Saturday from noon to 4. Martha will paint on-site at the gallery the three Saturdays of the show.
Art Alchemy is upstairs at 362C-10th St. in Courtenay (stair access only.) Art Alchemy is at www.artalchemy.ca, and Martha is at www.marthajonesart.com.
— Art Alchemy