CAROLE SABISTON: EVERYTHING BELOW ALL OF THE ABOVE
January 24 - April 28, 2014
The opening of Carole Sabiston’s retrospective at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (AGGV) was a lively affair. Guest curator Pat Bovey (former director of the AGGV) delivered an informative lecture to a capacity crowd. “It’s like old home week for me,” said Bovey at the opening. “I’m delighted to reconnect with friends and former colleagues.” A colour catalogue signed by Bovey sold briskly at the gift shop.
At the opening, I spoke with several guests and include their photos and comments. Sabiston is lauded as a role model, mentor, teacher, arts education advocate, problem solving technician and visionary artist. Currently, her role as Honorary President of the Creative Peace Mural Society, is celebrated at Christ Church Cathedral. The Hands Around the World exhibition graces the space until Feb 16, 2014.
Marilyn Erickson was inspired by Sabiston’s unorthodox media and methods in the 1960s. “Carole’s rich colours and metallic fabrics sparkle with life and joy,” she says. Erickson took a class from Sabiston and tried her hand at textile assemblage. But it was harder than it looked. “Without a clear vision of the final piece, the artworks failed to coalesce...so I took up jewelry making instead!”
Bevin Bigalky taught art at Oak Bay High for 27 years. He appreciates the skill and technical excellence shown in Sabiston’s creations, and her unusual imagery. “I just love her sails,” he says. Bigalky calls Sabiston a Hometown Hero. He’s watched her career develop over many years and is grateful to Pat Bovey for bringing it all together.
Jennifer McIntyre is a teacher who uses Sabiston’s fabric layering techniques in her own classroom: “My students and colleagues are continually inspired by Carole’s colours, textures and imaginative concepts.”
In 1969, McIntyre visiting Sabiston’s classroom at Oak Bay High School. "I was a UVic student,” she says, “and found my model teacher in Carole.” Sabiston and colleague Bill West had filled the art room with intriguing “found objects” suitable for still lifes. Specializing in Applied Design, Sabiston had several projects on the go: a large tapestry loom, rug hookings for acoustic panels and silk-screening fabric for curtains.
Christine Reimer was Sabiston’s student from 1970-1972 at Oak Bay High School.
It was an exciting time because Sabiston was receiving international commissions. “I recall helping her pack up one or two for shipping,” says Reimer. “We’ve kept in touch over the years.”
As a role model, Sabiston showed her students that being an artist was both possible and profitable. But she never said easy, notes Reimer, Abstraction is challenging. Reimers’ own abstractions of brightly-coloured landscapes can be viewed at www.christinereimer.ca
Waine Ryzak taught art at Central Middle School for 27 years. Before Ryzak’s time, Carole Sabiston was a Central student and Bill West was her teacher. Sabistitching is a wood block print by Bill West in the collection of Central Middle School. Ryzak praises the technical excellence of Sabiston’s creations, her vibrant colours and faultless precision. Via the Creative Peace Mural Project, her ingenious technique of using panels to create large compositions has spread around the world.
A multi-media artist, Miles Lowry appreciates the drama and the symbolism in Sabiston’s work. “And work it is,” he points out, “you can look closely and see every stitch.” The wall hanging with the cascading beige pockets tells a personal story he finds touching. As a key collector, Lowry appreciates Sabiston’s mounted selection. “My keys don’t open anything,” he says, “but their shapes are interesting and suggest many possibilities.” www.mileslowry.ca
is a Fine Arts Textile
Instructor at the Victoria College of Art. She rejoices in the friendships and camaraderie spawned by her classes.
“Carole is my role model,” says Turner, “she’s succeeded in giving the domestic arts mainstream status with international audiences.”
Turner studies Ecological Landscape Design at Gaia College, Royal Roads University. Ecological themes are prevalent in Sabiston’s work. “In her retrospective, we see Carole pioneering these ideas, believing in the power of her medium.”
Author, artist and teacher Phyllis Serota inspires many with her compelling paintings and autobiographical writings.
She recalls meeting Sabiston in the early 1980s in the alternative artist collective called Alleyart. The group used the abandoned Royal Bank building (not yet Munro’s Books) for shows. Serota remembers Sabiston speaking to the group and being impressed by her strength of character and depth of knowledge. “Carole is a very talented artist,” says Serota. “Her themes about freedom, lifting off, and sailing away have great appeal.”
On January 25, Pat Bovey and Carole Sabiston spoke at a well-attended public talk at the AGGV.
Their roles as artist and curator were discussed and a question period followed.
These video clips are short excerpts from the event.
The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria is located at 1040 Moss Street, Victoria.
For hours and information about programming please visit www.aggv.ca or call 250 384-4171.
Web Design, Content and Photos:
Kate Cino previewed arts events
for 18 years at Boulevard magazine.
She has a History in Art degree and
Public Relations certificate from the University of Victoria.
For ten years, Kate operated an art & framing shop.
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