The opening reception of Kelly Wallace’s exhibition Within Range and Carolyn Wren’s exhibition The Bible Project took place at Brock University’s Rodman Hall Art Centre on Jan. 29 in what was an inspirational and enjoyable evening.
Wallace is a London, Ontario-based artist who works with graphite to create large scale drawings that are overwhelmingly detailed and almost unbelievably realistic. Within Range includes the past eight years of his work and illustrates his exploration of a gruelling field. Wallace not only expresses his artistic mastery, but creates an entirely unique type of art in the medium of drawing.
Observers were seemingly captivated by the breathtaking images, paying close attention to the intricate details that are required to produce each individual drawing, especially on large scale canvases.
“I think the show tackles interesting issues about the natural environment and human mind. It points to the frail relationship between humans and our environment through images that allude from global climate change to the glut of global consumerism,” said the curator, Stuart Reid.
His drawings celebrate the beauty of our natural environment, while simultaneously evoking a vision of destruction.
“Why master anything in this day in age where you essentially throw everything away?” said Wallace. Wallace’s aptitude is evident and absorbs the viewer into each image with its visual complexities.
Efe Osazuwa, a Visual Arts student at Brock who attended the opening, said, “For a moment there I almost confused graphite with ink wash, which isn’t something many can pull off ”.
Drawing is not often considered to be economically viable by those in visual arts due to the fragility of its nature and the laborious effort required to produce a work of art. Nevertheless, Wallace manipulates the graphite on paper with a dedicated precision to vertical lining as his primary mark, resulting in illusionistic spaces that encompass phenomenal depth.
“It is important to set a standard that might appeal to anyone who doesn’t care for the arts to get them thinking, my work is not just for the arts; it’s for the public,” said Wallace.
This proves commendable with the meticulous transformation of paper by mere pencil into images that play with one’s visual interpretation, while also evoking a critical reflection of prominent issues in our society.
“I think they assembled a great group of artists for the exhibition. Each individual’s work supports the other quite well,” said Osazuwa.
Rodman Hall also featured the opening of an exhibit created by Carolyn Wren, a St. Catharines native. Wren’s collection, The Bible Project, skillfully combines the grand narratives of a 19th century Bible and the 2nd edition of History of Art by H.W Janson to produce one personal meta-narrative.
Marcie Bronson, curator of The Bible Project, said, “in this work and an associated series of woodblock prints and drawings based on cursive writing exercises, the labour of the method becomes an art form in itself and the final works are a record of the artist’s presence and the passage of time”.
Wren’s large scale drawings are reflective of the influence of these two major texts on both her life and work. She studied the History of Art during the first year of her undergrad at Western, which was ironically referred to as “The Bible” by the art history department at the time.
“Carolyn is a significant local artist and this major body of work represents a culmination of work she has been undertaking since 2012,” said Bronson.
Her choice to use the second edition is significant because of the narrow perspective it provides readers, often regarded as outdated by today’s standard.
The artistic proficiency of both Wallace and Wren is worth a visit to Rodman Hall Art Centre to experience the visionary works of art that tap into numerous branches of studies and interests.
Wallace’s gallery will be featured until Mar. 22 with his artist talk taking place on Feb. 26 at 7:00 p.m. Wren’s collection will be featured until May 10 with her artist talk happening on Apr. 9 at 7:00 p.m. At each event, the artists will speak about past, current and future endeavours, as well as engage in discussion with attendees. For more information about Kelly Wallace’s work and Within Range visit terminalarts.ca. For more about Carolyn Wren’s, The Bible Project, and her other project visit carolynwren.ca.d Current and upcoming exhibitions at Rodman Hall Arts Centre can be accessed at arts.brocku.ca/rodman-hall