Last night I headed out to Exchange Community Church, to take in an art show entitled Savage Beauty. This was not a church show, but was a reflection of Exchange’s commitment to nurturing artists living and working in the community, or sometimes just needing a place to show their work.
My interest came about because two of the featured artists. Gabrielle Funk and Athena Dorning used to work at Twist Cafe. Which, if you’ve read much of my work, or know me at all, is one of my favourite hangout places (think of me as a caffeinated Cliff Clavin)
The show itself also included the works of two other main artists, Megan Diamond and Gillian Toothill. It appeared that one or two other artists may have had a couple of items as well, but these four artists produced the bulk of the work. Diamond’s work was photographic in nature, with several of the works consisting of one picture superimposed on another to give new perspectives.
Toothill’s work consisted largely of paintings and drawings. Most of the works were of caricatures of phases, but occasionally of whole bodies. One of the things I found interesting in the works, is that in many of the canvases, the faces, have exaggerated features particularly features such as bags under the eyes, which leads to a sense of sadness about the characters.
I wasn’t able to take any photos of Ms. Dorning’s work, but I’ll try my best to describe it. Thematically it seems to invoke a mystical feminine sensibility. The images are bold with colours to match. Along with these were a few items of clothing that captured both the sense mentioned above along with an added sense of whimsy. Ms Morning’s presentations was completed by her arranging her works in such a way as to suggest you were being invited into her parlour to view them.
Finally, there was the work of Ms. Funk, which was the most mature of the group. One set of her paintings was called Modern Myth, that was built on ideas from a fashion designer who was using animal bones among other materials to create organic dresses. These paintings contain a great deal of detail and vibrant colours.
Along with these there were a couple of paintings that showed wildlife in conflict, but when viewed closely there are streams of small hearts being emitted. Gabrielle Funk is an artist to keep your eyes open for.