December 29, 1990,
Saskatoon Star-Phoenix

Unique Visions of Landscape
Sheila Robertson

The two large paintings face each other in the small gallery On the left is a stunning landscape in oils, its bold, active brushstrokes defining Held, slough and sky. On the right, a close-up view of a similar landscape in acrylics, with the paint smoothed on like a stain over raw canvas, revealing the sketchy under painting in blue and green.

Different takes by the same artist? Not quite, but there is a family resemblance. The first is a 1983 oil, Green Painting by Dorothy Knowles; the second is a 1989 acrylic, Green Expanse and Misty hills by her daughter, Rebecca Perehudoff. They're included in a group showing of works by artists affiliated, with The Gallery/Art Placement.

It's a strong show, and it consists mainly of landscapes. The dominant impression one carries away is admiration for all the different ways these artists use paint.

Knowles appears to work all over the canvas at once. Her brushstrokes are fearless and variegated: horizontal, vertical, diagonal whatever serves her purpose.

Reta Cowley reveals a more refined style. For the two, small oils in this show - lovely, pastel depictions of farmyards viewed from a distance - she used a fairly small brush. Its tracks often appearing wavelike.

Terry Fenton's recent oils were doubtless inspired by scenes around the Calgary foothills; he's the director of the nearby Leighton Artists Colony. The surfaces of his canvases are smooth, the brushmarks nearly invisible.

Rigmor Clarke, who recently had a solo exhibition at the gallery, has a couple of smallish forest scenes in this show. They're both dense and energetic, with the oil paint in thick layers. Although it's rare to see oil paintings behind glass, these ones are.

The treatment evidently started as a practical matter. Clarke, a Shell Lake artist, brought in some works for framing that didn't have enough of a border on the canvas for stretching. Matting them and putting them behind glass seemed to suit them. The expanse of white matte and the reflective, protective quality of the glass off-set the paintings' intensity.

In three oil paintings here, Greg Hardy displays a range of textures and approaches to the medium. A large canvas is smooth and soft in appearance, capturing the pale turquoise sheen of an isolate lake. Veritable blobs of paint stud the foreground of one of his smaller paintings, which focuses on wildflowers along a shoreline.

Paul Sisetski, whose debut exhibition at the Mendel Art Gallery last summer brought his powerful paintings to a wider audience, has two acrylics in this show. Both are typical of his expressionistic, moody style; both are figurative, and hint at remembered events.

Stand Day is showing two of his wood-and-paint constructions, which have characteristics of both painting and sculpture. Deliberately, he tips the balance in favor of painting with the use of wide textured frames. One is painted to mock the effect of wood grain, and the other has been painted, then scratched and scraped to look aged and worn.

Within the frames, anything goes, from stippling to spray painting, plus doodles and polka dots decorating the wooden elements. The effect is light hearted, colorful and a bit tongue-in-cheek.

Hidden Pavilion, Emma Lake, and 1989 oil on canvas by Lorenzo Dupuis, is a fascinating addition to this exhibition. The massive painting (84" x 66") has a strongly vertical configuration, with dark, rich tones. The many layers of paint have been scratched, scraped and otherwise manipulated to good effect.

The curious thing about this work is that it looks so different when viewed from different angles and distances. It manages to suggest a mood and a location with few specifics: you'll catch only a glimpse of familiar images like a cluster of red berries or a patch of birch bark.

The one non-painted piece in the show is Dave Alexander's 1989 monoprint, Evening Flash. This brooding piece gains its power through the contrast of hulking hills, emerald reflecting pool and bright yellow shoreline.

The group show continues through Jan. 4.