A new exhibition of work by Kelowna-based artist Joice M. Hall may have visitors feeling as if they have stepped out of an art gallery and into the moss-draped cedar and Sitka spruce forests of Haida Gwaii.
Hall’s exhibition, titled Gwaii Haanas – Islands and Sacred Sites, was inspired by a two-week artist’s residency in Haida Gwaii that she was selected for in 2016. The residency was presented by the Haida Gwaii Museum in collaboration with Gwaii Haanas/Parks Canada, according to the Kelowna Art Gallery.
The exhibition features an 18-foot-long painting installation, comprised of fourteen separate works. Together they form a composite landscape that celebrates the ocean, forest, and marine life she saw while being guided around Gwaii Haanas. Hall referenced 1,600 digital photographs that she took during her visit to create the high-realism paintings in the exhibition, said the gallery.
Hall was also deeply moved by the five historic Haida heritage sites she visited, and what resonated with her the most were the mortuary poles around the longhouse sites at S’Gang Gwaay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on Anthony Island.
These centuries-old carved poles stretch over twenty feet into the sky and depict maps of Haida lives and lineages. Hall chose to paint five of these poles and place them within the composition of her installation, to act as spirits watching over the longhouse sites.
The goal of the Gwaii Haanas residency is to connect artists to this unique place, and then further to connect, through these artists, Gwaii Haanas to Canada and the greater world.
GWAII HAANAS – Islands and Sacred Sites will give gallery visitors that opportunity. The exhibition opens on Jan. 20 and runs through to April 1.
Hall spent most of her career based in Calgary before moving to Kelowna in 1999. She studied at the Alberta College of Art in Calgary. She has exhibited her work in galleries across Canada, and in Mexico. In 2010, the Kelowna Art Gallery organized a full-scale survey of Hall’s work, titled Surreal. Real. Ideal: The Art of Joice M. Hall.
A reception to celebrate the opening of the exhibition will be held on Friday, Jan. 19 from 7 to 9 p.m.
For more information about current exhibitions, public programming or special events, please visit the Kelowna Art Gallery at www.kelownaartgallery.com or call 250-762-2226.
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