Recent History – 2001
May 9, 2001
By Mark Nielsen, Daily News Staff
Painting and pottery. Brash and bold.
Artists Mike Kroecher and Jane Anderson may work in different mediums, but they have a lot in common, beginning with the work of both being currently featured at the Dawson Creek Art Gallery.
While Kroecher’s paintings, brightly coloured landscapes of the Peace and Mexico, line the walls, Anderson’s eye-catching pottery occupies the corners of the gallery for the most part.
“A lot of times people don’t think of pottery as art, and I’d like to change that perception because it is art,” Anderson said. “And it’s nice to have my work shown with a painter’s to educate the public.”
Kroecher said he feels the same way. Plus, he said, their creations work well together. “They compliment each other,” he said.
Why? “Because great minds think alike,” Kroecher joked.
Both Kroecher’s paintings and Anderson’s pottery are distinctive.
Kroecher uses bright, bold colours to bring out the highlights of what he perceives when capturing the landscape.
“I try to maybe show how I feel about a particular landscape,” he said. “So they’re not necessarily very accurate. They may be quite different from the actual scene.”
Shades of Group of Seven? “I don’t even have a book of Group of Seven, but people say that to me,” he said. “I want to achieve my own style, my own personality. I don’t want to just copy Group of Seven and if you really look at Group of Seven, mine don’t really look like theirs.”
Anderson uses a couple of different approaches. Her low fire saggar work is made using primitive pit firing, adding sawdust, salt, seaweed, copper sulphate and even banana peels. The result is one-of-a-kind. “I try to capture in my work an image of the fire that helped to create it,” she said.
Horsehair raku involves combining an ancient Japanese pottery technique with horsehair to make distinctive carbon markings. “I try to show the natural beauty of clay unencumbered by glaze and use the horsehair carbon to illustrate the pattern of the fire used to make this work permanent,” she said.
As visitors made their way through the show during the opening Tuesday evening, some were seen touching and even picking up pieces of Anderson’s work. She doesn’t mind.
“How the piece feels is as important as the visual,” Anderson said. “I’d like them to like it so much that they do want to grab it.
“I don’t like to see my pieces broken, but that’s the risk you take.”
She first became interested in pottery when she took a course at Northern Lights College in Fort St. John 11 years ago. Kroecher taught art in high school until retiring six years ago.
Emboldened by the success of their first show together, held in the Energetic City, they’ve taken their work on the road. But before they even reached that stage, there was plenty of soul-searching as they acted on their creative drives.
“Everybody is an artist, but not all of us have found a way,” Anderson said.