Water + Pigment + Paper at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

February 2, 2016 at 12:58 pm Leave a comment

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A long time ago I lived next door to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. We loved the annual Moss Street Paint In, and the gallery’s collection of Emily Carr works captured my imagination, so much so that the artist now has a namesake in our beautiful dog.

It’s been wonderful to see how much the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria has grown up since we last lived in Victoria. Our Emily (the dog) is now 11 years old, and I remain enchanted by the artist she is named for. The AGGV has done a beautiful job showcasing the Emily Carr works in its collection alongside art from Carr’s contemporaries, including a couple of favourite artists of mine, Mfawnwy Pavelic and Ina D.D. Uthoff, both of whom are also featured in the gallery’s new watercolour exhibition (more on that below).

When we moved back to Victoria last year I bought a membership to the gallery and it’s been a great investment, especially during my year of maternity leave. We still live within walking distance to the gallery and browsing its exhibits on quiet summer mornings and rainy fall and winter afternoons has been a treat – a hit of mental and visual stimulation on days that can sometimes feel long or lonely when it’s just me and the little one. And now that he is getting older there is an added dimension to our gallery visits: I am not the only one looking at the pictures anymore.

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We went to the opening of Water + Pigment + Paper: Experiments in Watercolour from the AGGV Collection last weekend. We were alone (sans baby) and it was night time – two rare occurrences to be sure. We were the youngest people there for most of the night by at least a decade or two, but still, it was a fun start to date night, and something I’d recommend to other new parents: the openings are free, plus you can be easily home by 9 or 10pm, even if you go out for a drink afterward like we did.

I always love to see shows that are curated from galleries’ permanent collections, and this was no exception: there are some really interesting pieces that say so much about the history of some prominent Victoria artists, as well as work by other BC, Canadian and international artists the gallery has collected over the years. The curator was careful to point out the large number of women represented in the show and it was refreshing to see so many female names on the wall, especially given that all of the work on display is pre-1990s. “So Much More Than Pretty” is the tagline for the show, and I think it’s apt, although it is very pretty: Gorgeous colours, inventive brushstrokes, spontaneous and playful capturing of moments, people and places, and most of all the overarching feeling of intimacy that seems to be a hallmark of the watercolour medium.

As fun as it was to be out alone just us adults, I will definitely visit the Water + Pigment + Paper show again during the daylight hours. I love my being able to drop into the gallery whenever I want now that we have the membership, and with each of the shows I find there is always so much more to see on the second, third or fourth visit, especially when I’m with my favourite art lover in training.

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Entry filed under: Art, Family. Tags: , , .

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