Recent History – 2002
September 5, 2002
By Mark Nielsen, Daily News Staff
From bits and pieces can come works of art.
That’s the idea behind Bits’n’Pieces, the latest show to open at the Dawson Creek Art Gallery, which features a collection of collages created by Edna McPhail.
Art gallery manager Ellen Corea noted that while McPhail is usually regarded as a painter, those who’ve taken her classes know that one of the tasks she likes to assign her students is to make a collage.
“Its a wonderful opportunity to teach people how to look at colour and it’s something that I’ve really learned from Edna,” said Corea. “She’s so strong in her colour sense and her ability to create images just with fairly pure colour and in a very, very painterly manner.”
Most of the work is new, much made in the time since McPhail pitched the idea for the show to Corea. A change of pace was the prime reason, explained McPhail.
“I’ve painted in oils, I’ve painted in acrylics, I’ve painted in water colours, and you just want to do something different,” she said.
Painting may take a fair degree of eye-hand coordination, but collages — made by tearing bits and pieces out of magazines and gluing them onto the scene the artist wants to create — pose some challenges in their own right.
They’re time consuming — even the quickest project took McPhail 10 hours — and what you see may not necessarily always be what you get.
“When you look at a magazine and you’re looking for a certain colour, it’s very hard to tell if that’s the colour you’re looking for because as soon as you get it away from the other colours, it changes,” McPhail said.
“You have to get very discerning so it’s good exercise. You have to really look at the colour and know what it does to the other colours.”
Most of the works at the show depict scenes from around the B.C. Peace — cowboys riding horses, the icepack breaking up on the Kiskatinaw, rustic rural homes.
And at the top of the walk up the ramp that traces the art gallery wall, there is an unfinished work, with a magazine, a pot of glue and a brush — encouraging visitors to give the medium a try themselves.
Think of it as an assignment.
Also on display is a collection of photographs by Moe Boucher of old Dawson Creek landmarks such as the S.S. Kresge Co. building, Grandview Meats, and Jack’n’Jill Confectionary.