The first show of the Denman Island Summer Art Gallery features the intricately decorated origami sculptures of John Tansley. Photo supplied

Denman Island Summer Art Gallery opening show May 30

The first show of the Denman Island Summer Art Gallery season promises to intrigue viewers with a zen-like combination of simplicity and design that features the intricately decorated origami sculptures of John Tansley shown with new abstract designs on paper by Francesca (Tachi) Barker.

Curated by Pelka Wiltshire, this show will capture the potential of the simplest of materials, paper; manipulated and amassed under the creative hands of two of our island artists.

Tansley was born on the prairies but has spent his adult life on the West Coast of Canada. He has called Denman Island home for the last few years. John earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Emily Carr College of Art, where he majored in sculpture and worked with clay and wood. John’s works are part of the permanent collection in the Burnaby Art Gallery and in private collections in Canada, the USA and Europe.

Currently, Tansley’s interests lie in working with paper, particularly origami and collage; and in this show he has created a mass sculpture uniting the materials of found and decorative paper formed into pyramidic shapes. Displayed as a large-scale piece, each individual pyramid mounted on a stand is a uniquely beautiful origami creation. Grouped together the viewer is invited to imagine a stand of wheat or a forest.

Starting from a rectangular paper rather than the more commonly used square, John has perfected a technique where acrylic wash, watercolor, pen, and repurposed materials combine to create collages. The unique style of folding alters the orientation of the flat art. The viewer will be challenged to see the individual pieces; many offer hidden vintage memorabilia collected throughout John’s life.

Francesca (Tachi) Barker, a prolific artist who is nurtured by the natural beauty of Denman, is also the proprietor of two successful local businesses; the Curve café at Denman West ferry terminal and Abraxas Book and Giftstore in downtown Denman. She is the definition of a modern, mult-faceted woman who has created a solid identity in our community.

This show features a variety of mixed media works on paper using pens, graphite, charcoal, acrylic, watercolors and pastels. Tachi considers these intuitively created “doodle sketchworks” to be her artistic equivalent of a musician practicing scales; a way for her to better understand her artist’s tools and stay engaged in her creative side while balancing her busy life.

Tachi began to “doodle” as a release for excess energy but over the years these have evolved into compositions with colorful rhythms and patterns. Encouraged by the reactions of her friends and family, these pieces which are at times linked to her larger works, are part of her personal creative process. They have emerged as show worthy pieces in their own right. Look closely and you will see elements of her travels, her love of nature and her values of minimalism, sustainable living and joyful color.

The show runs May 30–June 11 at the Denman Island Art Gallery. There will be an opening night reception Thursday May 30 at 7 p.m.

Gallery hours: Weekdays and Saturdays 11-4 p.m. and Sundays 1-3:45 p.m.


The first show of the Denman Island Summer Art Gallery features the intricately decorated origami sculptures of John Tansley. Photo supplied

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