The world is big and there’s lots to see but one thing that exists in our universal archetype is the tree.
In some parts of the world, they are all around us. In fact, that’s where you live; one of the four temperate rainforests left on this planet.
While everyone wants to grouse on this fact, just stop, and come have a look at Helen Utsal’s latest show Recent Works at the Art Alchemy Studio/Gallery on Oct. 5 from 7 to 10 p.m.
It’s all about the trees here. It’s about a thing that grows up from the ground and becomes a glorious thing.
This is what Helen Utsal’s paintings are about. A blank canvas is turned into a painting that renders one of the most magnificent sights of B.C.’s west coast: our forests.
Helen’s view of how light hits the myriads of textures found from the ground up in our forests are remarkable. The sense of visual depth that she plays with by using high- and low-intensity hues gives us a sense of proximity.
Her colours can tell you how hot it was, whether it was dusty, if the wind was blowing. All that comes to you when you stand in front of her work.
Some people look at a tree, and it’s got three colours at most. There’s some sort of green, there’s brown and lots of some sort of grey.
Helen has a way of looking at those same colours but they somehow turn into purples, magentas, and electric blues.
Trees may be disappearing but in Helen’s art we can go back to a place that gives us a deep sense of honour for them.
The Art Alchemy Studio/Gallery is at 362C 10th St. in Courtenay. For more information, phone 250-218-2742.
— Helen Utsal