Tuesday, June 24, 2014

INSCAPE ARTS: June Open Studios

Today is Inscape Arts "Open Studio" seasonal art event! Across the street from Uwajimaya in the former INS Building, Inscape is a building that includes 5 floors of dedicated studio space for over 150 artists, crafters, designers, and professionals. The art space is intended to engage the community, respect culture, preserve history, and celebrate the arts. Since their grand opening in 2012, Inscape has hosted four large seasonal exhibits each year. By some strange and unfortunate coincidence, I've been out of town during all of their previous Open Studios, but I'm in the city for the solstice event! I did something angry to my ankle this weekend, but it won't keep me from finally exploring the space!

Anastasia Zielinski @ Inscape Arts
I start on the basement level, the entryway of which has been transformed into a bright and shiny collage of geometric angles, patterns, and baubles. The installation is by artist Anastasia Zielinski, and will serve as the backdrop for the dance party scheduled to start in a couple hours.

Stacy Fischer @ Inscape Arts
Lusty Letter @ Inscape Arts
The first room I stop into is Studio 146 with artist Stacy Fischer and her Lusty Letter collection. It's a line of note cards that seem sweet and unassuming on the outside... until you read between the lines and discover they're deliciously naughty. Available in singles and card packs, they're perfect for pretty much any occasion.
Kimberly Balla @ Inscape Arts

Dana Baran @ Inscape Arts
My next stop is Studio 105, featuring paintings by two artists, Dana Baran and Kimberly Balla. Dana works primarily out of the studio, while Kimberly works from home, and they both share the art space during Open Studio events. Both artists explore texture in exquisite ways, Dana with strong lines and layered patterns, reminiscent of a rich monochromatic rust; and Kimberly with colourful divisions of earth and sky mottled by the spread of metallic lichen.

Alicia Tormey @ Inscape Arts
I follow my nose around the corner to Studio 108, the encaustic work space of Alicia Tormey. Her studio is wonderfully perfumed with beeswax, the primary ingredient of the encaustic painting process. Suspended pigment swirls in organic bursts across Alicia's compositions, and her landscapes capture layer upon layer of intricate textures and hues.

Chris Sheridan @ Inscape Arts
Up on the 2nd floor, I find Chris Sheridan in Studio 218 with a striking array of his past and present pieces. His paintings feature dynamic figures with allusions to magic, religion, folktale, mythology, and the classics. Included are a few in-process teasers for his show next month at Bherd Studios, and he's also preparing for an artist residency in Berlin coming up in October. Chris shares the studio space with his partner, Kate Protage, but most of her solo work is on display at the SAM Gallery this month, so she's taken a much-needed holiday. Their friend and fellow artist Siolo Thompson had planned on showing part of her "Gendered Objects" series in Chris and Kate's studio today as well, but obstacles arose, and she was unfortunately unable to be present.

Elijah Evenson @ Inscape Arts
Across the hall the walls have been overtaken by mechanical assemblage collages. I watch as a small child tries to trigger a complicated system of alarms by pressing the keys of a vertically mounted typewriter. The installations flank the entryway to Studio 205, the art space of Elijah Evenson. The ambiance is a mix of classical atelier and Steampunk curio shop interspersed with Elijah's sculpture works. I recognise his Saturn sculpture from the travelling "Constellation" exhibit in which we both participated earlier this year.

Julia Carpenter @ Inscape Arts
I follow a series of dramatic large-scale portraits down the hallway, up the stairs (my ankle protests a little, but I'm determined), and down another hallway to Studio 310. It's a small space with a high ceiling, and artist Julia Carpenter has filled it with more colourfully expressive portraits, projects in process, and a brand new series of birds. As a painter of birds myself, I am always excited to meet another avian artist, and Julia's enormously chubby robin and larger-than life chickadees are incredibly charming.

Isobel Davis @ Inscape Arts
The hint of honey leads me down a new corridor on the 3rd floor, and I find myself in Studio 322 with Isobel Davis, another encaustic artist. Isobel melds beeswax and textiles and has created a series of beeswax urns and an interactive mobile, complete with 3-dimensional protective pods surrounding the queen bee. It's interesting to talk with her about different species of bees and how they influence our lives.

"Open Studios" @ Inscape Arts
I wish I had the time to visit every art space in the building today, but I have projects calling me back to my own studio. I look forward to returning to Inscape next season for a new round of art!

Support your local art scene!

~ BCDuncan

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