Susan Clay-Smith / Kaaren Soby
March 5 - April 6, 2019
Opening Reception: Friday, March 8, 2019 7-9 P.M.
The works in this exhibition take inspiration from the natural world; looking at the beauty of tiny intricate details but in a large way.
Abstract painter Kaaren Soby and ceramic artist Susan ClaySmith, both long-time residents of the Bulkley Valley, look to the richness of form and colour of the natural world, from the macro perspective. Kaaren's recent work is a series of paintings based on the rich colours and forms of fallen leaves in various stages of decomposition.Susan's work for this exhibition follows two streams related to this theme - one sculptural, focused on form; and a second with a greater focus on surface.
Susan developed an interest in playing in the mud as a child and in her early teens discovered that working with clay was far more satisfying. A three-year intensive program at Sheridan College School of Crafts & Design in Ontario with a major in Ceramics enriched her exposure to the cultural context of clay and the vast range of possibilities of the medium. Sheridan was an amazing and formative experience; while a student there, she focussed on hand-building and sculptural works. Most of her current work is completed through the combined techniques of hand building and wheel-work. "I begin with a general concept about the finished piece, and as I become involved in the making, the malleable nature of the material draws me into playful interaction and guides the final outcome".
"...My life as an artist began with my childhood when at the moment of awakening I ran to the window and threw it open with great anticipation to greet what each day had to offer.... A constant merging with nature...overwhelming spacious blue prairie skies, lying on hay stacks engulfed in the fragrance of sweet grass, meadowlarks calling,gophers talking,rolling in hot mud and jumping in the cold green Highwood River....This is a mere sample of the rich texture of experiences that have made up the fabric of my life".
Painting, for Kaaren, followed in the heels of a semi professional career as a folksinger. She was led to the Forum Art Institute In Winnipeg,where she eventually became the full time canvass maker and "artist in residence". Kaaren was drivn to paint, whether it be in courses or at home and has shown her art in Winnipeg,Calgary,several Alberta towns,outdoor exhibitions and galleries.
In her early thirties she moved out to the bush in North Central BC with her family where her expressions manifested in learning the art of living off grid, home educating kids, building. Later, Kaaren had showings in
Hawaii where she took up winter residence while doing work exchange on a friends coffee farm. Living so closely to nature allowed Kaaren and her partner to immerse themselves in meditation and communing with
nature. She came back to BC inspired to paint large abstract representations of leaves.
More information about Kaaren and her artwork can be found at www.artsquest.ca/2013/12/05/painter-kaaren-soby-follows-her-passion/