A broad variety of work on narrow canvases will be on display at the Gabriola Arts and Heritage Centre this weekend as the space welcomes the Stretched art show.
The biennial exhibition kicks off with a wine and cheese reception on Feb. 21 and organizer Gwen Spinks, who has a vertical and horizontal piece in the show, predicts it will be a “zoo” out there.
“Every year we have had a lineup,” she said. “Last year in the first five minutes we sold 10 pieces.”
This year’s show features more than 70 works on six-by-36-inch canvases by 57 adult and 10 youth artists. Aside from “your typical watercolours, oils and acrylics,” Spinks said the show features pieces by artists working with media including glass, fabric and sculpture.
Spinks said she welcomes art by young artists because it’s important to cultivate the next generation. She said “they have to start somewhere” and the Stretched show gives them a chance to take their work seriously.
One of those young artists is Emily Moore, who is showing work along with her grandmother, Maxx Duncalfe. The 12-year-old Nanaimo resident is taking part in her third show, having sold her painting last year. She said it’s “really cool” to see her work hanging in the gallery.
Moore used a paint pouring technique to create her submission for this year, Galaxy Dragon. She said it was challenging working with the long canvas.
“I had to change my idea multiple times,” she said.
“I love what they’ve come up with. They’re amazing,” Spinks said of this year’s youth artists. “Some of the work, you wouldn’t know it was from a kid. They’re just amazing young artists and are keen and so excited. It’s wonderful.”
While she has her regular participants, Spinks said she aims to bring in new people every year. She said some of her artists are professionals and others are hobbyists who are either uninterested or don’t know how to sell their work.
“I have artists that I have to kind of coax along to get them in and to do it because they don’t believe in themselves and they’re some of the best artists,” Spinks said. “I want that cross-section of mediums and of types of artists as far as personality and drive and is it their livelihood or is it just something that they do?”
Spinks said when someone who doesn’t think of themselves as an artist sells one of their pieces, “it changes their world” and the way they see themselves.
“People will tell me, ‘Oh, well, I’m not a real artist’ and it’s like, what constitutes a real artist?” she asked. “If it’s something that you are moved to do, do it. And you’re real because you’re doing it. And so for me it’s about encouraging everybody.”
WHAT’S ON … Stretched – the Art Show comes to the Gabriola Arts and Heritage Centre, 476 South Rd., on Friday, Feb. 21 from 7 to 9 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 22 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 23 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.