© Wendy Elliott
The collective called SEVEN trades Kings County landscapes for Danish ones July 29. The artistic ensemble includes, from left: Marilyn Rand, Angela Melanson, Pam Frail, Pia Skaarer-Nielsen, Kelly-Marie Redcliffe, Marie Jardine and Deborah Nicholson.
BY WENDY ELLIOTT
Kings County Advertiser/Register
SEVEN leaves today, July 29. The group of Kings County women will be exhibiting their work in Denmark between August and October.
The collective of artists will exhibit at Basal Elin Galleri in Copenhagen August 5 to 9, followed by a one-day exhibit in the rural town of Hørsholm August 14.
Then the group exhibit will move on to show at the Danish Arts Council's Værkstedsgalleriet in Kerteminde from Sept. 10 to Oct. 12.
Members of SEVEN are: Pam Frail, Marilyn Rand, Marie Jardine, Pia Skaarer-Nielsen, Kelly Marie Redcliffe, Deborah Nicholson and Angela Melanson. The seven women are all independent and experienced artists in their own right, with numerous solo shows and commissions to their credit.
They came together three years ago for mutual support and inspiration. Jardine recalls the notion occurred at an opening of sculptor Nistal Prem DeBoer’s work.
Meetings take place monthly in Delhaven, Hillaton or Gaspereau. Respect for the quality and scope of each other’s work and the potential for exploring new avenues binds them together.
Their choice of materials ranges from wool and words to copper and colours. The agricultural and tidal landscape SEVEN calls home, exerts a strong influence, says Nicholson.
Through their work, the seven contemplate sustainability, womanliness, human relations and life in general. Their art is sensual, funny and reflective, touchable, colourful and caring.
Nicholson is sending a series of colorful paintings based on photos she took of Holstein cattle at Fox Hill Farm in Port Williams.
Rand, a fibre artist, has created beautiful tulip-shaped vessels of felted fabric and textured works known as silk fusion.
Frail, who is best known as a jeweler, has taken found objects from Fundy Shore beaches and added metal and thread to build vessels. Because the Lakeville-based artist loves to find things washed up to use in her work, one of Frail’s major themes is recycling. She hopes to create similar work after visiting beaches in Denmark.
Melanson, a needle-felting artist and painter known for inventive creatures, finds inspiration in a forest setting near her home in Gaspereau. She says the group members push each other, offering camaraderie, criticism and challenges. “We set up deadlines and goal and are meeting them.”
Kentville’s Redcliffe is the only member of SEVEN not going to Denmark due to her responsibilities as a working mother. She is sending a recorded poem entitled No Work Wasted.
“Everything I believe, everything I care about is expressed by the Bay of Fundy tides,” she says. “No image, no place has had more influence over me. I am inspired, lifted, mystified and relieved by the unabashed perseverance of this repetitive power that moves mountains of water, yet trickles into shore. The tides make me feel like I matter. Like we all matter.”
Tidal imagery is close to all seven women, adds Jardine, who is a Canning-based metal artist. As a performance artist, she has been exploring the landscape of the body with a breastplate.
Skaarer-Nielsen, a tapestry weaver who grew up in the middle of Copenhagen, came up with the exchange idea. She is tremendously excited to show the group her native land.
She packed tapestries about the walls in her life- her red house and green barn - to take to Copenhagen in the huge collective box. It left Canada a couple of weeks ago.
Only thought of in January, the Denmark project is being sponsored- in part, by Nova Scotia Tourism, Culture and Heritage- to help with shipping costs. Frail, who assembled the paperwork, says simply obtaining a certificate to return the work to Canada cost $700.
Through the project, dubbed Exchange, SEVEN is reaching out to Scandinavian artists and art collectors with a vision to share their Atlantic Canadian thought-scapes. Their experiences in Denmark will culminate in an exhibition entitled Udveksling (Danish for exchange) at The Craig Gallery at Alderney Landing in Dartmouth, in April 2011.
Skaarer-Nielsen promises the Danish artists and audiences they meet will be invited to Nova Scotia. “They will see what we have to offer, it opens a door.”