Land & Sea: local artists depict the power of the natural world in landscape exhibit

Off The Vine

Two starkly different landscapes will share an exhibition at Abbotsford’s Kariton Art Gallery until November 15, 2016. Held by the Abbotsford Arts Council, Land & Sea showcases work from local artists Nicola Tibbetts and Rosalie Luymes.

Both artists depict realist landscapes: muted northern features in oil from Tibbetts, and lively coastal in acrylic from Luymes. While Land & Sea interprets uniquely different geographical landscapes, similarities arise in the almost insignificant touches of human life. Silhouetted figures, distant sailboats, or human structures arise, small among vast landscapes, and under wide skies. These human figures and structures serve as scale, and as context, depicting the power and influence of the natural world on who we are and how we live.

At the opening reception, the artists mingled with viewers, sharing their stories, process, and inspiration behind their landscapes.

Nicola Tibbetts

Nicola Tibbetts spent a winter in Iqaluit, Nunavut, in which she shot and painted the world around her. In a severe, monochromatic and incredibly vast landscape, the smallest incident of colour or shape can draw the eye sharply. “I would go for walks most days. We didn’t have a car, so we’d walk…. I’d take my camera and the battery would last maybe 10 photographs, then I’d have to put it back into my pocket to warm it up.”

Tibbett would search for “points of interest,” for example in “Small Landscape”: “I saw the little tiny orange ribbon, and I thought, ‘yes.’ It stands out from the simplicity of the landscape.”
In “Landscape with Rocks,” the structure of the landscape drew Tibbetts’ attention. “I really liked that I had a very distinct foreground, middleground and background. I liked the craggy shapes, the colour and the contrast of the white and the blue.”

In the north, a landscape can appear dramatically different simply because of the times of day. Tibbett found herself returning to locations in search of the perfect shot. “I’d just try to look for these moments. Every day the shadows would be different, the sky would be different.” Sometimes it wouldn’t be easy to find the perfect lighting; sometimes, a beautiful image would arise from simple shots, such as “Self Portrait,” where her eyelashes were laced with frost.

Rosalie Luymes

Rosalie Luymes had the opportunity to shoot coastal landscapes on both the east and the west coast. Her selection of landscapes arise from her studies in both art and geography. “Having that background, and being able to recognize certain geographical features, it kind of informs when I chose the landscape,” Luymes explained, though she describes her eye as more of an artist’s than a geographer’s.

With such an array of inspiring content available from our east and west coastal landscape, Luymes must narrow her subject matter down. “I’d say, when I’m taking pictures, it’s composition, colour, and if I’m inspired by the area for sure. Often I’ll do a little investigation into the area. And if I feel intrigued, I’ll look at the geographical features.”

Next, Luymes hopes to focus on a different kind of landscape — mountains. “I mostly focus on natural landscapes with elements of human influence; [I enjoy the] refreshment and rejuvenation of natural landscapes.”

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