The exhibitions at the Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre this month each had elements of reflection and transformation.
In the main gallery, a show by members adorned the walls, with the theme Moving Forward. The side galleries featured mixed media photography from Charise Folnovic, in a collection called (un)Censored; an installation called Weight of Mud by an artist who goes by the name Baberaid; and a series of soapstone sculptures called Journey to the Butterfly by Barbara Maye.
The exhibitions run until May 28. The gallery is open Wednesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Journey to the Butterfly
Through sculptures and paintings, Barbara Maye explores the transformative journey a metamorphic stone goes through to become a soapstone in her latest exhibition, Journey to the Butterfly.
“For me that is huge in understanding how the stone came to be, how it was formed, becomes a huge part of the creative process for me,” she said.
Maye carves in a garden shed converted into a studio in her backyard, that has been decorated with a brightly-coloured mural.
She describes her process as co-creation.
“The way I create, I have no intention when I go to them (the stones). I don’t have a plan of what they should look like. I literally do intuitive free-form carving where I am looking at the stone and I have no idea what they are going to look like until they are done.”
Maye either harvested – with the landowner and mineral rights owners’ permission – or was gifted each of the stones she carves.
Beside her studio are stones waiting their turn to transform a second time.
Those who visit the exhibition are encouraged to touch the sculptures, some of which are flip stones and can be turned to balance in a different way.
“Part of what I think I have learned in the process is that it is all about perspective,” she said. “You can get through anything if you change your perspective on it. That’s what the flip stones are about.”
Weight of Mud
The artist who only wished to be identified as Baberaid applied for the exhibition while recovering from a suicide attempt at the psychiatric hospital in Vernon.
“I didn’t think I was going to be alive to do (the exhibition),” she said.
There is a long history of mental illness in Baberaid’s family and she has gone through depressive episodes in the past, this time finding healing through art.
Her installation features watercolours that she painted as part of art therapy.
The dark blues and moody purples are colours she was drawn to. She says she used to paint with reds and yellows, but it just doesn’t fit right now.
Though the pandemic has been tough for many people, Baberaid says for her it was like pouring gasoline on an already raging fire.
Looking back, she says she was starting to get sick in February/March of 2019. In September 2020, she left her job as a geologist halfway through a rotation because she could no longer read.
At the time, she didn’t understand that was a symptom of depression.
In October, she attempted to die by suicide, landing her in psychiatric care for eight weeks. While there, she painted and, horrified at the amount of garbage she was creating, collected her trash.
The trash, along with some ceramic pieces, was turned into mobiles, which hang from the ceiling as part of the installation. The floor is also littered with trash and broken plates. Baberaid says they are things she has smashed while angry.
“This has been incredibly challenging to build these mobiles and go through all this trash and go through all these paintings,” she said, adding that she finds being honest about her story easier than trying to keep track of the lies.
Charise Folnovic’s exhibition is centred around a collection of photographs she took while travelling and volunteering in Nepal, Haiti, Syria, Jordan and India between 2008 and 2019.
In each photograph the subjects’ identities have been obscured with different mediums.
“It’s kind of just an exploration of mistakes that I have made exploiting, whether it is poverty or kids,” she said.
By censoring the photos, Folnovic says she is changing the viewer’s relationship with the people in the photos. She is also hoping that others will take a minute to reflect on their travels and the photos they have taken.
“We wouldn’t do that in our own country meeting strangers, or in another first world example,” she said.
Folnovic has worked in hospitality for many years, with art on the back burner.
“But it is just one of those things that I know I am supposed to be doing,” she said.
“Forever, since I was a kid.”