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Liz Toohey-Wiese, Brother’s Creek

Liz Toohey-Wiese, Brother’s Creek (2017), acrylic on canvas

The Figure in the Landscape

Elissa Cristall Gallery
Vancouver BC – Jun 15-Jul 8, 2017

Of painting’s petit genres, it is perhaps the landscape that offers the greatest narrative potential. While the viewer can look at a still life and imagine reaching for its lemon, or peer into the eyes of a portrait and see the indifference of the artist who painted it, only a landscape offers enough room to step inside and leave the world of looking behind. But when a landscape is already occupied? This is the point of departure for The Figure in the Landscape.

“We seem to have a keen desire to connect with nature and the landscape and to connect with those other than oneself,” writes Elissa Cristall on the gallery website. This is present in the dioramas of gallery artist Jessica Korderas, who has chosen that most ubiquitous form of pastoral architecture – the cabin – as her staging ground. In contrast, another gallery artist, Sara Caracristi, presents only figures in her small acrylic-and-resin paintings, leaving it to the viewer to infer the terrain they inhabit based on their behaviour.

The third artist, Liz Toohey-Wiese, is a guest of the gallery. Toohey-Wiese’s large-scale acrylics often feature figures in motion, moving towards or away from each other. In Brother’s Creek (2017), these figures are school children. Some stand on water-bound rocks, looking off; others sit patiently, awaiting their reflection.

Michael Turner

 Sat, Jun 3, 2017