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Man is the theme of next exhibit at Courtenay art gallery

Island artists featured in ‘Man Alive! Paradigms of Man’ at Artful : The Gallery

Artful : The Gallery opens the 2022 exhibition series with a curated collection of four exceptional Vancouver Island artists; Leonard Butt, Gary Dillon, Bill Friesen and Jeff Hartbower.

Each presents their own vision of man, through sculpture and painting. Utilizing the rich context of history, archetypes, memories and lifespan, each piece speaks volumes on how men, at least these men, are reflecting on what it means to be a man.

The word paradigm originates from the Greek ‘para’ - which translates to beside and ‘deiknynai’ which means to display or show. That’s exactly what’s happening at Artful; men displayed side by side, in conversation with themselves and with their viewers.

From Leonard Butt’s noble-intentioned men, unexpectedly caught in their underwear and still managing to maintain their dignity, to Jeff Hartbower’s satirical carvings and assemblages, poking at the often-ridiculous underbelly of man’s cultural representations, expectations and failures.

From Gary Dillon’s boldly beautiful Our Gods trilogy, the figures hinting at the recovery of, perhaps the last-ditch survival of, the ‘Big Stories’ of man (religion and mythology) seeking the fugitive Holy through the apparition of Tonantzin (Our Lady of Guadalupe) to Bill Friesen’s raw depictions of man’s mortality, wizened and darkly haunting.

In general use now, a ‘paradigm’ means to provide a pattern or a model that can be copied, a theory or group of ideas about how something should be made, done or thought. Currently, paradigms of man are being usefully questioned and challenged. This collection of work speaks to many paradigms of man, including the good man. Men who are willing to wade into the muck and murk of manhood, carrying both the shadow and the grace of their naked vulnerability.

There are many themes explored in this body of work: materialism, gender-based violence, religion, sexuality, mortality, heroism, nobility, and humility. These paradigms of man stand for examination. Come join the conversation!

The show runs until April 2. Artful : The Gallery is located at 526C Cumberland Rd., Courtenay,and is open from noon-5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays.

Follow Artful : The Gallery on Instagram at @artfulthegallery or visit their website at for more information about the artists.

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