Vancouver Island University students curate latest exhibit at The View Gallery

Post Portrait exhibit on display until April 6 at The View Gallery at VIU’s Nanaimo campus

The View Gallery’s assistant curator Amber Morrison wants to showcase the gallery’s art to the greater Nanaimo community and the world.

Part of her efforts include bringing the gallery into the digital age.

The View, a Vancouver Island University teaching gallery, now has an online presence. Morrison established a Twitter account and Facebook page during the most recent exhibit Post Portrait to share artwork with art lovers.

“I wanted to bring the gallery forward and I have been setting up social media accounts for the gallery, giving us an online presence, because we didn’t have one before, since the separation with the Nanaimo Art Gallery,” said Morrison, adding she wanted to give people an opportunity who might not be able to physically visit the gallery to see the work. “We have so much skill here at VIU. I really wanted to promote that. We see the student work coming out of Emily Carr. We see it coming out of other universities, so I wanted to do the same thing for VIU.”

Morrison said she wants to get the word out to the community that The View Gallery is a place to see art created by VIU faculty members and students, as well as some exhibitions by community groups. Morrison said Nanaimo has a vibrant arts community.

“I really want this gallery to be a part of it,” she said.

Post Portrait is a concept Morrison created. She came up with the idea of portraiture because she said it is one of the places people start off with when creating artwork. It’s Morrison’s first time taking the reins curating a show. Maggie Hinbest, gallery assistant, helped Morrison with the show’s visual aesthetic.

Morrison said one of the challenges when hanging a show is figuring out the sequence of the work people encounter when they walk into the room.

“Myself and Maggie, we probably spent a day or two just putting the pictures in different positions around the room before we put a single nail in the wall,” said Morrison. “It’s really about creating an experience when you walk into the room. There are a number of times where Maggie and I stood in the doorway trying to mentally envision how the flow would work around the room as you are walking around. It involved us changing things a lot.”

Hinbest, who is also a second-year visual arts student at VIU, said she enjoyed getting the experience of hanging a show and also of seeing art students get a chance to exhibit their work.

“It’s really important for students to get that experience working in a gallery, not only working in the gallery, but also having their work shown in a gallery in their first, second, third years is a really powerful thing,” said Hinbest. “It’s very inspiring for a lot of students so that’s very exciting to see everyone get really inspired by this.”

“We get to be involved in the exhibition from the ground up. It is kind of a big deal; it’s hard to get that experience and to have it right here is amazing,” added Morrison.

Post Portrait, an exhibit centered around portraiture, runs at The View Gallery, located in building 330 on the Nanaimo campus, until April 6. The exhibit has paintings, photographs, sculptures and installation pieces.

Morrison said one thing she would like people to know is the skill that goes into the artwork. She said it’s the culmination of years of trying to develop a practice as an artist.

“While it might be a simple portrait hanging on a wall, it took the person, the artist, who made this years to get to this point and we get to reap the benefits as the viewer,” said Morrison.

She invites people to visit the gallery.

“We are pretty friendly and we just want to show off what we are doing and really get people involved and appreciate art,” said Morrison.

For more information about The View Gallery, follow the gallery’s twitter account @theviewgallery or visit the Facebook page www.facebook.com/theviewgallery.

arts@nanaimobulletin.com

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