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Gabriola artist’s new exhibition brings to life a jungle ‘queendom’

Tammy Hudgeon’s ‘Wild Queendom’ features work partly inspired by a trip to Central America
Tammy Hudgeon presents Wild Queendom at Hive Emporium from July 11 to Aug. 4. (Photo courtesy Tammy Hudgeon/Ode Howard)

In her new exhibition, Tammy Hudgeon is bringing the jungles of Belize to Hive Emporium.

The Gabriola Island-based artist was vacationing in the small Central American nation when Hive proprietor Mark Parlett invited her to exhibit her latest work. She’s been working on the show, Wild Queendom, all spring with her partner Ode Howard and she said her travels have been an inspiration.

Hudgeon said she’s creative when she travels and always has paints and sketchbooks on hand. She said she had ideas “already percolating.”

“I came home with a whole pile of ideas and lots of those have been realized,” she said. “If not the actual pieces that I created when I was gone, then they were jumping off points to go a little bit further with them.”

The show features metalwork, glasswork and paintings on wood and canvas that depict animals and nature imagery. Hudgeon said her steel and glass items range from tabletop pieces to seven-foot-tall sculptural works. One piece based on a giant jabiru stork stands at six feet, but Hudgeon said it still isn’t as big as the one she saw in Belize.

She said she created these pieces with the venue in mind.

“It’s really big, high ceilings, tons of light. It’s a gorgeous art space so I knew that I could really expand my ideas because the gallery could hold it, and that’s not always the case,” Hudgeon said. “I have shows in galleries that are much smaller and so the scale and scope of this show is the biggest that I’ve ever done for sure.”

An opening reception for Wild Queendom will take place on Thursday, July 11 and Hudgeon will present an artist talk on Saturday, July 13. The show runs until Aug. 4.

Hudgeon said Howard, who makes the metal frames for her wood and glass sculptures and helps bring her artistic vision from the sketchbook to reality, will also prepare an audio component for the exhibition.

“He’s making a soundscape that will accompany the show that will have all kinds of different music plus sounds of the jungle and animals and birds so it will be more of an immersive experience,” she explained.

Hudgeon said she’s been experimenting with different ways of working with glass, and as a result Wild Queendom, which features around 50 pieces, “feels really fresh.”

Hudgeon said the colours she uses and her painting habits differ from her usual body of work and “in some ways it’s more refined and in some ways it’s more raw.”

“There’s an innocence and there’s a sophistication. There’s something more raw and primal, and then there’s something really refined, too,” she said. “And I think that the refined pieces, they fed from that raw place to start with. They can be that refined because I let myself be that raw.”

WHAT’S ON … Opening reception for Wild Queendom by Tammy Hudgeon and Ode Howard takes place at Hive Emporium, 9-575 North Rd., on Thursday, July 11 at 7 p.m. Show continues until Aug. 4. Artist talk on Saturday, July 13 at 1 p.m.

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