Jackie Saunders-Ritchie & Patrice Snopkowski
Woven Light: Photographs
March 27 - April 15, 2019, Main Gallery, The Arts Centre at Cedar Hill, 3220 Cedar Hill Road, Victoria.
Opening Reception Sunday, March 31, 2019, 2-4pm.
Woven Light features the photographs of two talented artists. As the title suggests, both women share a fascination for the intertwining effects of colour, shape and form. Both seek out “found beauty” and appreciate how the photographic eye can make the ordinary appear extraordinary. By isolating and reframing visual moments, the artists offer fresh perspectives. Jackie’s art career spans 40 years and includes painting, collage and sculpture. She is also a gifted writer with an adventurous spirit - planning her third trip to Cuba. Patrice has an active professional career as a graphic designer. Her early work using an analog film cameras won her a travel photography award. These days, her Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 is a constant companion.
Visitors to the show will appreciate the presentation of the 17 by 22 inch images. In 2014 the two artists acquired a large format Epson SureColor printer that uses a set of eight pigments. Designed for photographers producing fine art prints, this printer delivers accurate colour and precise details. The images are printed on a natural rag paper, 100% cotton, acid free. The warmth and textural tooth of the paper allow the delicate tonal qualities of the images to emerge. “We did a lot of experimenting with various papers and liked the MOAB Entrada Natural best,” says Patrice. Jackie has discovered a unique hanging system that uses rods and removes the need for glass and frame. Viewers experience an immediate connection with the photos.
When I visited Jackie’s studio in January 2019, she had a preview of the exhibition photographs displayed along three walls. She has hosted two exhibitions in her light-filled garden studio. “Now I want to expand my audiences,” she says, “and invite more people to view our work.” Her tidy gallery has many drawers which she invites me to open. Each drawer has a collection of flora and fauna artfully displayed. As a collector, she is proud of her treasures. “Follow your obsession,” is one of her art practice mottos.
For this show, the Grasses Series images were taken in the autumn at Uplands Park and Cattle Point. Jackie often returned to the same spot two or three times a day in search of the right light. The quest became a kind of meditation for the artist. She found the rust brown grasses and twisted stands of Gary Oak endlessly interesting. Photography allows her to focus and be connected to the natural world. “With my camera,” she says, “I see and feel more deeply than ever before.”
Jackie calls her Silence Series “a wonderful obsession”. One bright May morning, she walked into her studio and beheld sunlight falling upon a curled roll of paper. The angles and curves of the rolled paper became a world to explore. Every morning and afternoon for several weeks she took photos. Then the angle of the sunlight shifted, not illuminating the paper as before, and the journey was over.
Brian Saunders, Jackie’s husband, worked for several months on this painting below. The mixed media work combines chalk and pastel pencils over an acrylic underpainting. The colours and textures of Jackie’s grasses photo gave Brian many ideas. “The more I looked at Jackie’s photo,” he says, “the more I saw.” Soon, forms of life appeared, marching across the top of the painting. "The bush became wild with possibilities," he says, “it's possible to see the infinite in the miniature."
Patrice also receives inspiration from her friend and colleague. “Jackie has been an artist most of her life,” says Patrice, “I appreciate the energy and focus this requires.” A focused artist is ready when opportunities arise. Being prepared is paramount to success. Patrice was quick to respond when she encountered the giant bubble man on Dallas Road during a lingering August twilight. In her LightForms Series, the soft colours in the sky form the backdrop for the forms. She avoided landscape by angling the camera and doing close-up shots.
“People may think these are computer-generated images,” she says, “but they are not.” With her digital design skills and Photoshop at hand, Patrice sometimes layers and adds effects to her images. But the LightForms Series only required minor adjustments in Lightroom. These amorphous flowing forms are mesmerizing, alive with iridescent patterns and delicate rainbow shades. The weaving of colour, texture and form manages to capture a mystery, one moment of creation, newly revealed. Patrice affirms by sharing one of her favourite quotes by Diane Arbus. “A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you the less you know.”
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arts writer published in Focus, Yam and Boulevard.
She has a History in Art degree and Public Relations certificate from the University of Victoria
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