It’s all about rebound ability.
After a brief absence caused by the pandemic, the Women’s Art Association of Hamilton returns to the Art Gallery of Hamilton with its annual exhibition. This one, the 126th, is aptly titled Resilience.
WAAH, a non-profit organization, was established in 1894 with the aim of encouraging local female artists to work, learn and exhibit together. The tradition continues. This year’s exhibition includes 27 stunning works by approximately 20 local painters, printmakers and photographers, both established and emerging. Subjects include landscape, still life, and the occasional abstract composition.
Patty Lynes, who has been painting wonderfully vibrant landscapes for over 30 years, received the Best in Show award for “Stormy Sky.” Fiery clouds cross the sky, almost crushing the hills and water below.
But “Grounded,” his other submission, is even more dramatic. The lower part of a tree dominates the center. The roots contribute to uneven ground, making our entry into the picture uncertain. And yet, a sunny landscape appears in the distance.
By painting the roots in broad, vibrant strokes, Lynes adds a strong sense of movement. And depicting only part of the tree makes it look big and powerful.
An honorable mention was awarded to Maria Sarkany for “Power Play”, a painting she created three years ago depicting five cats sitting on cushions.
“Cats are not my cats,” Sarkany says. “They represent people in power, politicians. The pillows they sit on are the flags of the countries they represent.
The other winners are Nikola Wojewoda, Karen Logan and Stephanie Sikma.
And, of course, there are many other great works in this exhibition.
Franca Marazia and Zorica Krasulja got closer to nature.
Marazia, who excels at capturing incidental moments with her camera, tapped into nature’s flexibility and fragility in “Waking Up.” Its composition is succinct: two verticals taking up space, one of which is part of a tree trunk from which a leaf emerges.
Spoiler alert: the story behind this photo has a sad little ending.
“I photographed this in early spring. I have a beautiful silver maple in my front garden. I noticed this fresh green leaf sticking out of the middle of the tree trunk. No branch. Just a red stem,” says Marazia. “I was intrigued. Perhaps the new growth, waking up after a long winter siesta, has come out to check the location? But, after a few days, the young leaf had disappeared.
Krasulja is a painter, printmaker, creator of children’s books and an art teacher. For “Cosmos Resurrection,” she found some magenta cosmos flowers and lemongrass leaves and made an eco print, a process that takes time and patience.
“I really like doing these works because they are always a surprise until the end,” she says.
She tied and pressed the flowers and leaves between two sheets of watercolor paper and simmered the whole thing in water for an hour. The next day she separated the papers, revealing a set of mirror images.
“I look forward to creating more this year, especially as spring is here and I’m using locally found plant materials.”
Robbin Pulver-Andrews opted for a broader view of nature. A painter of landscapes, still lifes and abstracts, she has been exhibiting her work for nearly 15 years.
Rules of serenity in “StandingTall”. The water in the foreground leads to a rocky shore on which three conifers manage to thrive. Andrews paints the lake and its reflections in narrow horizontal strokes dominated by blues and greens. Softer diagonal strokes in the sky provide contrasting pattern and movement.
Women’s Art Association of Hamilton 126th Annual Exhibition
Where: Fischer Gallery, Art Gallery of Hamilton, 123 King St. W.
When: until June 12
Admission: free at the Fischer Gallery