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Aaren Madden

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  1. NANAIMO-BASED LANDSCAPE PAINTER Ray Ward has a data storage problem. At its root is his interest in capturing the constantly shifting light, the banks of fog and mist, and myriad cloud formations that advance and retreat daily across Vancouver Island. Along with images of land and shore, “I’ve got a sky folder that grew into about ten subfolders for different types of clouds,” he says. “I’ve got cumulus, I’ve got storm clouds, I’ve got backlit cumulus, I’ve got evening cumulus, morning sky, all different times of the day, and different varieties of clouds,” he lists with a lightness in his voi
  2. A PERSON COULD BE FORGIVEN for assuming that the sculpture “Mystique,” by Courtenay-based artist Lynn Branson, is carved out of marble. Its pale, inviting sheen emanates a similar luminosity to the stone. It is, in fact, a unique piece of walnut from which Branson has released an elegant, mermaid-like female form. Its curves, planes and voids may call to mind the Modern tendencies of Henry Moore or Barbara Hepworth, with Constantin Brancusi humming along in the background. The marble effect is intentional, but once you approach the work, the true medium becomes more obvious—as does the artist’
  3. BI YUAN CHENG IS A SEEKER OF THE TRUTH. Not truth in facts, but in feeling; not in evidence, but in experience. His pursuit as an artist is to convey the world as he sees it and share its impact with the viewer, to impart the sense of wonder it brings to him. “I always think if you do art, it has to come from your heart, from your inside world. That makes it really true,” he says. He was an artist from day one. Born in 1957 in Jinan, China, as a boy of six, Bi could often be found sitting at the side of the road with pencil and paper, sketching the passing cars or bicycles. “It just came
  4. MARK ATLEO (Kiikitakashuaa) of the Ahousaht First Nation is a survivor of the Alberni Indian Residential School. He was there for nine years, beginning when he was seven years old. Away from his family, he had to be brave not just for himself: “I had a younger brother who I had to watch over when I was there,” recounts Atleo. “He was crying every day that he wanted to go home, wondering why we were there. So I had to console him in the classroom, just being a big brother.” Atleo recalls running away, only to be brought back, during his last year there. He ran away because he was not allowed to
  5. NAOMI CAIRNS’ oil-on-canvas landscapes offer many sensory experiences in one picture plane. A lingering visit with “Teakerne Arm Shoreline,” for instance, evokes the particular magic of the Northern Gulf Islands on an early, still morning. Its turquoise and mauve-grey shadows tell the time, while quick-gestured highlights—lime-green on the trees, ivory on the rocks—bring the touch of a warm sun to your left cheek. As the eye travels to foreground, one can practically smell the cool brine of Lewis Channel. "Teakerne Arm Shoreline" by Naomi Cairns, 36 x 84 inches, oil on canvas
  6. VICTORIA ARTIST LUKE RAMSEY creates pen-and-ink drawings that are whimsical, melancholy, eccentric, orderly, complex, straightforward, humorous, sober, hopeful, dark, friendly, and strange—sometimes all at once. As the eye follows his mark’s labyrinthine journey around the page, one finds unexpected motifs that give pause—guns worked into what looks like a peaceful forest scene, for instance. Other drawings are more loosely composed, but a wriggling, effusive energy remains. Meaning is elusive, but larger, overarching suggestions are implied, and personal interpretations invited. “The message
  7. SINCE LAST AUGUST, anyone passing the 700 block of Johnson Street will likely have seen “Woven Together,” a public artwork installed on the façade of the Johnson Street Parkade. It is made of powder-coated aluminum forms in colours ranging from golden yellows and oranges to cool blues to muted browns and blacks. The forms fit together to describe circles, either in total or by suggestion using negative space. The effect, should you pause in your daily rush (and shouldn’t we all, now and then?), is of several circles advancing and receding with your eye’s movement, making a private communicatio
  8. IN 1953, KAREL DORUYTER'S family emigrated from Rotterdam in the Netherlands, a city of roughly 500,000 people, to China Lake, a tiny hamlet southeast of Quesnel. He was 11 years old. “There was a one-room schoolhouse that went up to grade six, and maybe a population of 30,” the artist laughs. “I remember my sister and I banging with two-by-fours and a big drum, making sure the bears didn’t come too close.” Though they didn’t know the language—and in retrospect, he appreciates how difficult it must have been for his parents—the youngsters “found it all very exciting.” This new way of life was
  9. BLU SMITH'S HOME is tucked into North Saanich, nestled among towering Douglas firs. It sits on a sweep of green lawn that joyfully displays a clutch of toys belonging to his two young sons. His wife, a chiropractor, seems used to graciously leading arts writers and other visitors through their light-filled home to Smith’s basement studio, dubbed “the cave.” It is not so oppressive as the moniker suggests: The ceilings are high; the walls are a crisp white and large enough to accommodate several paintings hanging and leaning. However, there is a marked lack of natural light, the windows h
  10. Aaren Madden

    Blu Smith

    "The Willow" 48 x 54 inches, mixed media on canvas Read about Blu Smith's life and art here
  11. Aaren Madden

    Karel Doruyter

    "Closure" 48 x 36 inches, mixed media on canvas Read about Karel Doruyter's life and art here
  12. Aaren Madden

    Susan Point

    "Beyond the Edge," 33 x 33 inches, serigraph Learn more about Susan Point's life and art here
  13. Aaren Madden

    Naomi Cairns

    "Gorge Harbour Entrance," 48 x 60 inches, oil on canvas Learn about Naomi Cairn's life and art here
  14. Aaren Madden

    Luke Ramsay

    "Centre Peace" 36 x 48 inches, acrylic latex on canvas Learn about Luke Ramsay's life and art here
  15. Aaren Madden

    Bi Yuan Cheng

    "Fog at Moraine Lake" 40 x 60 inches, acrylic on canvas Read about Bi Yuan Cheng's life and art here
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