The winter has not been the coldest, snowiest or longest that we in Canada have ever experienced but the last snowfall does leave one wishing for spring.
Upon entering the Westland Gallery, you feel like the exuberance, colour and energy of that season has already arrived. The latest show at the to be hung here , entitled Dreams of My Garden by artist Sharon Barr, transports us to a land filled with the abstract patterns of a garden of flowers, dragonflies and foliage.
The large oil paintings, some done as diptychs, embrace the space, covering the gallery walls with energetic brushstrokes which create patterns of colour and shape reminiscent of the late Monet paintings of his garden at Giverny.
The artist states that she attempts to create a mood that evokes a memory of or silent reflection on her subject matter. In pinks of “On the Edge of Spring” that memory is of the first sunny day with its sense of exhilaration and new growth it prompts.
The canvas entitled ‘Dragonfly Pond’ uses purples to reflect on the mystery of the dragonfly that has been around forever becoming part of all our childhood memories. The oranges of ‘Tiger Lilies’ honour the common flower that has the ability to fill the garden spaces while still imprinting its bold colour on our minds. Barr, who is known as a figurative painter, shows us that she has the ability to move into this genre with ease.
What the garden means to the artist and how she reacts to it becomes clear in ‘A Cure for the Blues II’ The painting, “echoes floral motifs abstracted into pure and joyous pattern.” She states that it was a break from her previous paintings which used mainly blue and green hues.
If you feel that you need a release from the whites of winter, a walk into a space of bright colours and engrossing patterns, the expressive abstracts of Sharon Barr will welcome you into the beauty of our natural world that lies asleep under that blanket of white.
The show runs at the Westland Gallery in Wortley Village from February 16 to March 5th, with a reception on February 19th at 7:30.
Cheryl Jennings is a local artist, freelance writer and retired high school teacher.