Ice Dance, by Marilyn Dyer, is one of her polar bear paintings currently on display at the Landmark Pop-Uptown Gallery. Alex Browne photo

White Rock art show highlights interconnectedness of species

Pop-Uptown Gallery exhibition features works by Dyer, Gorris

Two animal-friendly artists – Susan Gorris and Marilyn Dyer – have provided a notable collaboration with their show Braided Lives, which continues until March 26 at the Landmark Pop-Uptown Gallery at Central Plaza.

Their well-attended opening, March 4, was also notable as the first non-Covid-restricted show at the gallery in more than two years.

An appreciative crowd, some sporting masks and some not, gathered to celebrate the work, including paintings and drawings by Dyer and paintings, drawings and clay sculptures by Gorris.

As Gorris notes in her artist’s statement, “the intelligence, language, behaviour, personality and skill of all animals remain a continuous source of intrigue.”

Her colourful, quirky and charming paintings and sculptures draw inspiration from “fantasy, a memoir, or an unforgettable scene between members of different species.”

There’s clearly a great deal of love for the subjects in the work – as Gorris notes, “my paintings, drawings and sculpture have finally married two of the most prevailing and imposing passions of my life: art and animals.”

Dyer has often manifested a tenderness toward animals in her painting, as well as a love for nature – while deploring its increasing commoditization, which she has critiqued in her series of landscapes in which bar codes are built into the compositions as a statement of ecological concern.

Even while battling advanced visual impairment, Dyer still manages to create strong and heart-touching images – and the current show is no exception.

“My blindness allows me to use my other visual senses to the full,” she says. “My subconscious spawns rich images. I don’t deny them.”

Particularly notable are her loose black-and-white sketches in which the form of cats, dogs and bears are loosely suggested – an evocation somehow more effective than if they had been delineated in greater detail.

Memorable, too, are her immensely appealing and empathetic depictions of polar bears swimming or scrambling from ice floe to ice floe, imbued with an abundance of soulfulness and personality.

As Dyer says in her artist’s statement: “my belief in Celtic connectedness surrounds me with all living things…a sense of belonging to the earth, sky and water.”

“My paintings are really visual essays,” she states. “They are the script through which I sing my joy, grieve my losses and connect with other living things.”

The Landmark Pop-Uptown Gallery, co-sponsored by the City of White Rock, is located at 15140 North Bluff Rd. (Central Plaza) and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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Some of the whimsicality of Susan Gorris' art can be seen in this grouping of paintings and sculpture. Contributed photo

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