Garrioch explores cosmos through art

NANAIMO - Ian Garrioch's exhibit Universe in a Jar opens Friday (May 24) at the Nanaimo Art Gallery's campus location.

Ian Garrioch’s Universe in a Jar exhibit opens at the Nanaimo Art Gallery’s campus location Friday (May 24). His painting Sunday Review of La Grande Tattoo

Ian Garrioch’s Universe in a Jar exhibit opens at the Nanaimo Art Gallery’s campus location Friday (May 24). His painting Sunday Review of La Grande Tattoo

Nanoose’s Ian Garrioch started questioning the Earth’s place in the universe almost five decades ago.

His search manifested as art.

He unveils pieces inspired by his questions during his exhibit Universe in a Jar Friday (May 24) at the Nanaimo Art Gallery’s campus location.

His exhibit examines several ideas he has explored over the years, such as the Earth as a vehicle travelling through space.

His work has many recurring themes, images and metaphors such as the ship, carousel and celestial bodies in space.

Garrioch, 76, said carousels represent stellar wheels.

Garrioch’s painting Sunday Review of La Grande Tattoo (pictured) deals with the carousel motif. Inside the people are squares with the periodic table of the elements.

“People are made up of stellar dust and travel through the Earth on a carousel and will travel to the stars when their time is over,” said Garrioch about the painting.

The woman with blond hair is Garrioch’s wife, looking on as an observer reflected in the carousel mirror.

The ship is also an image depicted in many of Garrioch’s work.

“I see the Earth as a vehicle speeding through a very hostile environment and we are living on it and moving it along,” said Garrioch.“It’s life passing in from the stars through life and back out into the stars again.

He said people begin as stellar dust and then return to it when they die.

His work also holds a bit of an environmental message, although the artist said it’s not blatant.

“This is the only paradise that exists for us and we don’t treat it too well,” he said.

Garrioch approaches his art like a full-time job. Every day he goes into his studio to work from about 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

He said his paintings are kind of like “little children.” Garrioch said until the artist becomes the viewer they can’t see whether the piece works or not.

He taught in the department of art and design at Malaspina College, now Vancouver Island University, for 27 years.

Garrioch’s exhibit runs until Aug. 31.

The opening reception is Friday from 5-7 p.m. at the campus Art Gallery. There is also an artist talk and tour June 1 at 1 p.m.

For more information about the exhibit or the Nanaimo Art Gallery please go to

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