Now you might understandably think the burrowing owl bag had a couple of winery bottles tucked inside, and once it did and it wouldn’t have been a bad idea but today it is a hammer, tape measure, and tape. In my purse a framing level and comfortable shoes. I am up before six to get on the road with a painting friend to transport eight amazing pieces from five diverse painters to the old courthouse venue in Kamloops and the FCA Thompson, Shuswap, Nicola, open show.
Happily the rain has stayed away which makes moving fragile pieces a bit less stressful. I dodge potholes like an obstacle course pro hoping when I deliver the pastel portraits wrapped and propped, all of the powder will still be attached to the page! (it was they aren’t nearly as fragile as I fear. Side note, The Scream – Munch is pastel on paper.) I have watercolor and inks, vivid acrylics, and oils round out the offerings. We arrive in time to avoid the sketchy elevator and make the two story dash up and down the stairs several times and unwrap all the cargo before the hanging begins.
This is a lot trickier than it sounds. There is much to consider in finding a flow. You want every painting to have companions that neither over power nor compete with one another . Ones that are reasonable as subject partners, ones that draw the viewer from one panel to the next, and ultimately feel harmonious without becoming boring. Then there are the physical challenges, measuring, sizing, straightening, strengthening wires and hammering in nails to the right depth and angle to sustain the weight of frames etc. It is a task that requires a lot of patient people working together to come to consensus with an eye on the clock!
My inclusion is ‘boy in the sun’. It is an oil on paper picked up from the framers yesterday for delivery today. (just to keep things exciting!) It is part of a series celebrating the contemporary competition pow wow. This moment a solemn interlude between dance categories, this young dancer grounding himself, the sun pouring over him – ‘Dancers, dance your style’.
The show opens tomorrow night. For now, the room will sit quiet and dark. I wish I had a key so I could slip inside, sit quietly on the floor perhaps in the evening with a glass of wine and consider the stories in every mark and how they came to be. Coyotes with a shavings of gold leaf highlights walk across a bluff, flowers blooms, glass reflections traps and distort the objects before them, a giant humpback whale swims in an ocean lined with light, a little boy with John Lennon glasses and playing cards tucked in the brim of his hat reminds me of a character in a novel i once read but can’t quite recall, and oh those owl eyes. The content is diverse as is the medium and presentation. Somewhere, a spark of an idea began months earlier in sixty different studio and the long prelude to this ten days in April began.
A lot goes into hanging every show. It should include a warm appreciation to the creative spirit and the gift we are given in the incredible diversity of beings. The way we see, process and reflect the world that makes our experience unique and similar, a spark, a connection and the hum of electricity that tells us we are alive. It is all in the eye of the beholder.