An exhibition almost a year in the making has landed at the Revelstoke Arts Gallery.
“Rooms” is a five-artist collaboration that features each artist’s intimate view of their room.
The gallery is divided and as you step into each space, you are transported into the artist’s world.
Show creator Krista Stovel recruited Jacqueline Pendergast, Francine Lanoie, Sandra Flood and Julia Crucil to take part in the exhibition.
“We chose some artists who I knew had incredible visions,” she says. “I’m really pleased with the work the artists have done.”
Stovel was fascinated with what goes on behind the doors and windows of people’s homes.
The resulting home features a den, two bedrooms, a dining room and a living room.
“Now that I’ve actually seen everything in its place, I think it’s a show we could tour. I think it’s the calibre it should be,” says Stovel. “It would speak to anybody because it has a universal story of searching, longing, remembering.”
Patricia Crucil walks into the room and makes herself comfortable on a cozy leather chair. All around her are books – handmade by Crucil and her daughter, Julia.
“It was really hard at first to sort of picture what it was going to look like, except that when we ended up with a theme of text, that made more sense,” she says.
Up on the walls are a few quilts incorporating text that she made and a series of illustrations made by Julia.
Hanging on the wall spanning the length of the room is a panoramic view taken by Julia where her parents lived for four decades.
It’s the type of room that invites you to cozy up with a book and stay awhile.
It’s not hard to believe then that Julia is a high school English teacher.
On the eve of opening night, Julia wonders if people will take the time to touch and explore the objects – more than 40 hand-bound books – in her room.
“In most art galleries you don’t get to touch the things,” she says. “I’m quite intrigued to see how people respond.”
Her mom adds, “will they pick them up and open them?”
With stacks to sort through, there is sure to be something for everyone.
When Jacqueline Pendergrast was growing up in post-war England in the 1950s, there were no fabric stores to get lost in and marvel at their varied textile offerings.
“I made a pink paper dress out of crepe paper when I was a child because that’s the nearest thing that we had,” she says. “We didn’t have beautiful fabrics and everything else.”
A pink paper dress adorns the wall of a simple room that Pendergrast designed to look like the ‘box room’ she slept in while growing up overseas.
A teddy bear lays on the bed on top of a candlewick blanket she sourced from England.
But on the other side of the wall, in a room almost identical to her own, hangs a princess dress.
This room, imagined by Pendergrast for her six-year-old granddaughter stands in stark contrast to her childhood room. There is a princess mural and sparkly fabric; a magic mirror and LED lights.
“That’s what I wanted to do. The past and the present,” she says.
The room glows the same colour as the sky behind the mountain as the sun sets. A sense of calm washes over you as you enter Francine Lanoie’s bedroom.
Lanoie says she was supposed to build a house this year, but the construction was delayed.
“But I still wanted to hang out in home building supply stores and hardware store,” she says. “That’s where I got my inspiration from.”
It started with the paint stirring sticks. She’s used 1,500 of them in this installation. They adorn the walls, the dresser, the bed, each painted a bewitching shade of purple/blue. Nightshades, as Lanoie calls them.
Every item in the room is also not quite what it seems. The lamp shades are made with gutter leaf strainers, the headboard with hardware accessories.
“I wanted to create from unusual things and think outside the box,” she says.
She also decorated the walls with some of her paintings.
“It’s nice to take part in a project that really takes you outside your comfort zone and be vulnerable with what you reveal,” she says. “It’s a nice experience. I’m really grateful to be here.”
The Dining Room
Sandra Flood was inspired by all of the food that crops up in proverbs and sayings.
She used them to help guide her creation of a dining room set, displayed simply, on a wooden Ken Talbot table.
All of Flood’s pieces – plates, bowls, goblets, serving spoons, caserols, pitchers – were hand-built out of clay and then meticulously glazed with the various sayings.
“Just getting the designs right sometimes I made a couple of plates. Sometimes they came out right the first time,” she points at a casserole dish with blackbirds poking out of the top as a handle. “This is the fourth emanation of that particular [piece].”
The Living Room
Visual artist Krista Stovel’s room is inspired by a personality theory that states that you can learn a person’s patterns from their writings. Stovel decided to interpret it visually and her room gives us a glimpse inside her life.
Using images from her past, she created mirrored wallpaper panels.
“I’m looking at myself being an artist,” she says.
There’s the castle that she lived behind during her time in Japan, the colourful mahjong tiles she used to play with her grandma, the road she took to leave Revelstoke when she was 18 years old, and the recurring theme of poppies.
“I wanted it to be visually noisy,” she says. “It can be overwhelming; your thoughts about how you want to create, what you want to create, the frustration of not understanding or seeing a clear path. But then all these ideas just jumbled in my head.”
While the walls are busy with what Stovel calls “a cacauphony of images,” the room itself is simple and the only furnishing is a white piano stool that belonged to her mother.
“I see that as the seat of the soul,” she says.
And sitting on that seat, you’re invited to put on headphones and pair the visual experience with an audio journey created by Stovel’s son, Tettey Tetteh.
At 17, he is already a talented musician and crafted his own auditory story.
“He really transcended my idea and it became his observation of my life,” says Stovel . “What he heard from me and what he saw where I am and what I’m doing.”
“When you put the headset on, it becomes a whole different story.”
“Rooms” will be at the the Revelstoke Art Gallery until Oct. 27.