Loop Gallery’s current exhibit displays two artists, Sandra Gregson and Carolyn Dinsmore. Both artists’ work not only stand by itself, but when displayed together they exemplify their similarities and unique differences. They both paint on wood, but in diverse ways.
Gregson paints whit oil on small wooden panels, around 20 x 20 cm. She does not use the wood as a canvas, that meant to be covered, but rather let it be the central focus, as she incorporates it into her composition. Each of the panels displayed at loop Gallery are depicting a different scene of the natural world.
During the summer of 2016 Gregson participated in a Parks Canada residency at Mount Revelstoke in British Columbia. As she wrote, “The physical landscape offered magnificent views; my beliefs and knowledge presented others. I began representing land from different viewpoints: observational, aerial, mapped, details, perspective, fragments, historical, in an attempt to embrace what I was seeing with what I was noticing and researching about environmental concerns.” Gregson’ paintings depict the land that no longer wild but heavily modified and changed by human needs, making it fertile (grid, 2017) but in other times depleted (land divide, 2016). The artist’s use of colour reflects those changes in nature, such as vibrant beautiful blues of summers skies, and blues that are dirty and darkened turning into black, fresh greens of growing plants, golden browns of autumn and dried up browns of used up lands.
Dinsmore’s works are located towards the back of loop Gallery and as we walk further into the place we see less and less of wood as she gives less emphasis to the wood panel in her paintings. Her procedure begins with acrylic paint on wood, and progresses to mix mediums (possibly incorporating plaster) on wood. Like Gregson, Dinsmore draws inspiration from nature, as she paints in Georgian Bay. Some of her pieces are representative of water, while others depict rocks, following nature’s procedure; when the water clears from a lake or small pond, what’s left behind is the bedrock.
Installation view of Carolyn Dinsmore, Rock Water Time, loop, September 2017
Dinsmore’s paintings are close-ups, reminding us of a camera zooming closer and closer to its subject until the image becomes almost abstract, just recognizable. The water surfaces, caught in motion, are dark, leaving us guessing what mind be under the surface. Her works that inspired by rocks are hard, rough surfaces, resulting from years in formation, surfaces carved, scarred, polished, and lichened.
Both artists’ works are representative of the natural world, and the ever-changing environment and ecological factors influencing today’s climate. Dinsmore’s works are showing the surface of water and the build up, and erosion of rocks at Georgian Bay. Gregson’s works display the effects of human intervention through our environment. This exhibition is not only about artistic expression, but also a demonstration of the need of environmental change and awareness.
Victoria De Chellis
*Exhibition information: Sandra Gregson, troubling & Carolyn Dinsmore, Rock Water Time, September 9 – October 1, 2017, loop gallery, 1273 Dundas Street West, Toronto, (three doors west of Dovercourt). Gallery hours: Wed – Sat 12 – 5, Sun 1 – 4 p.m.