Exhibit explores African art

NANAIMO - The View art gallery at Vancouver Island University showcases work by Maureen Marshall until Nov. 13.

Justin McGrail

Justin McGrail

Vibrant colours meld with anthropological study in the work of Qualicum Beach artist Maureen Marshall.

“Most people’s impressions is the colours just pop off the wall,” said Justin McGrail, curator of The View Gallery at Vancouver Island University, where Marshall’s exhibit hangs until Nov. 13. “She studied anthropology as well as art, but there is a real anthropological sense here. It is art about art. She paints as if painting on paper.”

Marshall’s exhibit contains 31 paintings, which she donated to the university. After the exhibit, the paintings will be sold to raise money for VIU.

Marshall, 94, finds inspiration in the human form and iconography from her world travels. Her paintings for the exhibit were created from sketches, masks and carvings she saw during her travels in Africa. In a press release, Marshall said her inspiration came mostly from archeology.

She was born in England and moved to Canada with her family when she was three. One of the features in the exhibit is a salon wall.

When visiting the gallery people might notice the pieces don’t have title cards. McGrail said he is trying to change the experience and make it more visual. As an artist himself, McGrail said he’d rather have the viewer spend more time looking at the painting instead of the title.

“This is the view. It is a space to look at art without titles,” said McGrail. “I think it actually frees people up to keep people just looking and feeling what they think.”

In May, the Nanaimo Art Gallery closed its campus location, now The View’s home.

The renovated space allows for more input from students and the opportunity for them to curate exhibits. There are plans to host a student-curated show in March.

“We have the ability to really shape the gallery,” said McGrail.

The gallery is now on the main floor. The rooms downstairs have been transformed into theatre rehearsal space, a computer lounge and a small studio space for visual art students

The gallery is located in building 330, is open Tuesday to Friday from 1-4 p.m. Admission is free.


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