It’s no optical illusion: three-dimensional art and photographs dominate the Surrey Art Gallery’s annual juried exhibition.
“More people tend to work with mixed media, so we don’t see as many watercolour submissions,” said Surrey Art Galley’s assistant curator Brian Foreman during a sneak peek of the exhibition, which opens this Saturday (June 23).
There were 170 artists who answered the call for submissions for Arts 2012, which is open to those south of the Fraser River. The gallery’s hometown creativity emerged during the “blind” adjudication process; Surrey has 22 artists represented in the show.
Foreman included, this year’s jurors are celebrated South Surrey wildlife artist Don Li-Leger and Kwantlen Polytechnic University visual arts instructor Nicole Brabant.
In a collective statement, the jurors agreed this year’s submissions “reflect both the diversity of the region’s artists, and the issues and ideas that inform contemporary life – political, physical and emotional.”
Foreman also had an opportunity to showcase his own creativity in the layout of the exhibition with highly eclectic offerings. The categories are: painting, works on canvas and paper; drawing, two-dimensional mixed media and printmaking; three-dimensional works and fibre arts; and photography and new media.
“The challenge is to take 52 artworks and create relationships,” he says. “I found clusters of ideas.”
Exhibition-goers are first greeted by a series of comforting paintings featuring a romantic vignette and an inviting, two-dimensional table setting with luscious-looking oranges – “to draw people in,” explains Foreman.
The rest of the show is divided amongst two rooms: a quieter area for pondering nature-inspired art – and a larger, contemporary space with louder pieces, so to speak.
Artist Jeff Rasmussen’s somewhat grotesque ‘Gutsack’ is shaped from Styrofoam and water putty. The oversized stomach art is also wrapped in coaxial cables plugged into a prop cable port.
“Don’t be scared; what you see before you is but an unwelcome reflection in the mirror,” reads Rasmussen’s artist’s statement, drawing parallels between obesity and internet addiction.
Arts 2012 launches with an opening reception on Saturday (June 23) from 2-4 p.m. at the Surrey Art Gallery, 13750 88 Ave. The show runs until Aug. 18. For more information visit www.surrey.ca/arts or call 604-501-5566.