Sister artists Kate Taylor and Helen Utsal work independently and together on the artworks in this exhibition.
September 15 – 26, 2021
Family Garden: Converging Harmonies refers to the nurture, growth and development of creativity in their family. Grandmother Salme Utsal, a full-time artist, their Mother, who focused on stained glass and batik, and their Father an avid photographer helped sow the seeds in the imaginations of the two young girls. Growing up with a shared love and appreciation for the beauty in Nature, the sisters’ artworks converge in similar subjects, colours and scale. Like singers harmonizing, the painters share a song together of Nature’s garden in their own voices, their paintings informing and responding to each other, creating a visual dialogue of joyful expression and serene gratitude.
Helen Utsal’s Artist Statement:
“In my work, you’ll see the infinite variations of old-growth trees, tall ferns and pearly pink light marking the in-between times of early morning and the hush before nightfall. You will see me play with the dazzling effect that happens when the sun shines through gently stirring leaves, creating chartreuse-filled golden moments.
The ancient scents of dark fresh earth, and dewy moss, and the sense of insignificance next to towering conifers is a sacred kind of inspiration for me. As an artist, it is my privilege to witness and reflect the exceptional Canadian landscape that manages to convey both an ancient power and newborn vitality.
Authenticity is a hallmark of my work because I know deeply that life and nature are perfectly imperfect. I am always aiming to capture the broken branch, craggy shapes and wonderfully wonky diversity found in nature. That’s why I rely on the idiosyncratic movement of fluid acrylic paint together with the vivid depth of colour and layering textures that oil paint and cold wax provide to convey realism-based pieces that leave just a little space; for the possibility of enchantment.”
Kate Taylor’s Artist Statement:
“My art is a joyful interpretation of nature. Inspiration so often comes to me at the cottage with its evocative soundtrack of loons, lapping water and wind ruffling Maples and Pines; that’s really where I connect and feel most like myself. The very distinct feelings of grounded calm and dynamic movement that happens so beautifully in the natural world really resonate with me…positive and negative, energy and calm, push and pull of the Lake. I create with those seemingly opposing energies always in my mind’s eye.
My creative process begins with Baltic Birch panels – I connect the trees with my cottage, with light, new beginnings, and growth. I’m fascinated by the way the wood grain ripples and travels like water tributaries. Getting acquainted with and revealing the wood through the sanding, varnishing and meditative layering of fluid acrylic paint is like treading an unknown path; I like to slowly creep towards wonderful possibilities.
I tend to be associated with vibrant, confident colours. And it’s really true, my internal palette is overflowing with jewel tones, from tranquil turquoise to dramatic magenta. Strong colour makes me feel bold, strong, unique. I think and look deeply at its weight and placement in my work. I like to create a focal point that is off-centre, inviting pieces to be experienced from different angles and orientations, creating space for personal responses. By limiting myself to just a palette knife and a softly worn cotton cloth, I aim to let the shapes and movement of each piece be very approachable. I get so much energy and excitement for my work by always playing, planning and solving the problems of a number of pieces at the same time.
OPENING RECEPTION: Friday, September 24 from 7 to 9 pm
Join us IN-PERSON for the Opening Reception at the Leslie Grove Gallery and Leslie Grove Park.
See the show, meet other artists, bring a friend!
- We will monitor the entry and exit of people from the gallery in accordance with the COVID guidelines.
- We will flow over into the Leslie Grove Park, social distancing, for conversation.