Above is Mary Frances Batut's acrylic painting Lizard Enjoyed Hanging Out On The Wallpaper. She and Elizabeth Carefoot (her coat

Talk with a trio of artists

Mary Frances Batut, Elizabeth Carefoot and Deborah Putman speak about their art and joint exhibit at the Surrey Art Gallery.

A panel discussion with three Surrey and White Rock artists will take place Thursday evening (July 11) at the Surrey Art Gallery.

The gallery’s new exhibition, Divining Natures, features the colourful artworks of Mary Frances Batut, Elizabeth Carefoot and Deborah Putman – all of whom share an interest in creating images that are rich in personal and universal symbols. Each artist works in an intuitive way to present ideas about the natural world and our relationship to the environment.

The trio will each discuss their own work, as well as ideas and insights generated through the process of exhibiting together. There’ll also be refreshments and an opportunity to meet the artists.

Divining Natures launched in late June and continues to Aug. 31.

For Batut, the process of making this series of paintings was a change in her approach. She allowed herself “to shift from focusing on the end result and concentrate only on what was happening at the easel on this particular day and at this particular moment.” The strength of these paintings lies in her acceptance of an intuitive approach. She allowed herself to start mark making and let the images emerge. The resulting animals, fish, moths, lizards, symbolize transformation and regeneration: creatures that change forms through-out their life cycle. Recognizable yet imaginative; her colourful creations exist beyond our natural world.

The unplanned is also a part of Carefoot’s process. Her mixed media works are informed by the Siberian shamanist traditions of her grandmother. Carefoot’s shaman’s coats and paintings as well as her sculptures evolve experimentally through the juxtapositions of diverse materials.

She compares her approach to that of the Shaman, learning from the accidental: “As the ‘real’ shaman takes risks and uses shock, surprise, and dramatic provocations to establish bonds with others, so I also try to take risks with my art. I gain insights when I take advantage of accidents, chances, and interaction of materials that emerge when ‘unwatched’.”

With her Totem Series, Putman presents symbolic arrangements of animals in which she explores the relationship with humans and other creatures that share our world. Putman’s compositions incorporate cross cultural archetypes of the four directions, the cosmic tree and the symbiotic relationship of all living things. For Putman, annual journeys to wilderness both replenish and spark her creativity.

She considers that the origins of her images are “rooted in receptivity, intuited visual epiphanies, dreamscapes, sound and sensation [which] guide my concepts.”

Surrey Art Gallery is located at 13750 88 Ave. Call 604-501-5566 or visit www.surrey.ca/artgallery

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