Rick StiebelThe Chronicle
The Ladysmith Waterfront Gallery has broadened its brush strokes with a new series featuring a wider range of local artists and a mix of mediums.
The gallery is featuring the works of Dennis Brown and Barry Strasbourg-Thompson in To a Higher Self, an abstract exhibit that runs Oct. 22 to 31.
Traditionally, the Ladysmith Waterfront Gallery puts on 12 exhibits a year exclusively featuring the works of members of the Arts Council of Ladysmith and District.
The upcoming exhibition marks a change for the gallery because it is expanding its scope to include experimenting with private exhibitions, said Kathy Holmes, a past president of the Arts Council of Ladysmith and District.
“We’ve had requests in the past for that so we’re going to give it a try,” Holmes said. “This exhibit is the first in a series that expands the way we shine a light on local artists. We’re excited to see how the community reacts to different themes and different mediums. Our mandate is to support local artists, and this adds more content to what we offer.”
Brown has painted all of his life, starting in watercolors at the age of four before switching to oils and acrylics.
Although landscapes, seascapes and the human form colored much of his early work, he turned to abstract art in watercolors and acrylics 20 years ago, working out of his Ladysmith studio for the past seven.
“That’s where I met Barry,” said Brown, who credited a recent trip to Japan for making him more meditative and focused. “We both paint abstracts and often compare notes as to how we’re doing and where art is taking us. Although our styles of abstract may be very different, we understand the language of abstract painting and get along very well.”
That led to the idea of collaborating in a show with Chemainus resident Strasbourg-Thompson, who has been painting since he was six and comes from a family involved in art and teaching for seven generations.
“We’re the guinea pigs,” he said regarding being the first with Brown in the new series of exhibits.
“Art is balance, a lifelong evolution to higher self. That typifies the kind of work I do and the approach I take. When I’m painting I’m in paradise. Like a great singer, I’m always chasing the divine.”
Both artists paid homage to loving grandmothers for imbuing their passion for art. Brown and Strasbourg -Thompson are looking forward to sharing their work and offering the viewer some peace and emotional relaxation from a chaotic world.
To a Higher Self opens Saturday Oct. 22 at 7 p.m. at the Ladysmith Waterfront Gallery at 610 Oyster Bay Dr. in Ladysmith. There will be an opening reception and silent auction to benefit the gallery.
Future presentations at the Ladysmith Waterfront Gallery – the only art gallery north of Victoria and south of Nanaimo – include a spoken word and visual exhibition and a fibre arts exhibit.
For more, please visit www.ladysmithwaterfrontgallery.com/.