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Impressions of the Elements

By Mike Youds. Article reposted from

Three classical elements, seven artists and a variety of print-based media come together in a newly opened show and sale at the Old Courthouse.

Earth, Wind and Fire is a collective exhibition by members of the Kamloops Printmakers Society, a studio-based group of TRU alumni and instructors. The show runs until Aug. 29 in the Kamloops Arts Council’s main gallery.

Inspired by print-based methods learned in the university’s fine arts program, the printmakers formed a society in 2007 and established a studio on McMaster Way not far from the campus. Printmaking requires a lot of space to accommodate an array of equipment, making a co-operative approach more practical and the art practice more accessible.

A medium with ancient roots, printmaking has undergone something of a renaissance and the studio reinforces that dynamic of Old World artistic collaboration, offering mutual enrichment through workshops. The society remains the only printmaking co-operative in the Interior.

“Our membership goes up and down, year by year,” said Linda Jules, who includes part of her printed paper basket series in the show. “This show is probably larger than any show we’ve had together.”

“Co-operatives exist in bigger cities, so it’s important that we have one here in Kamloops,” said Melaina Todd, gallery co-ordinator with KAC. “We want to do more workshops to keep print culture alive in the Interior.”

Earth, Wind and Fire encompasses printmaking techniques including etching, screen printing and collagraphs.

Hailing from Nelson, Todd exhibits a relief linocut of an abandoned sawmill on Kootenay Lake. The linocut is printed from a carved piece of old flooring linoleum.

“The nice thing about relief is that you get these natural impressions that make it look like an old woodcut,” she said.

Jules’ three baskets are part of an ongoing dimensional printmaking series she was invited to exhibit in Dundee, Scotland, two years ago.

“I do sculpture as well as printmaking,” she said. “My series of baskets is a way to combine the two art media.”

Striking in their appearance, the black-and-white baskets are inspired by traditional birch-bark baskets produced by indigenous North American women going back thousands of years. A lot of experimentation went into the design and creation of these fine-art baskets, each one exhibiting different approach.

One woven paper basket features archeological profiles — Jules used to be an archeologist —called stratographs.

Another called Heaven Meets Earth has an interior design taken from a book written in 1885 by a Frenchman named Camile Flammarion, an astronomer inspired by science and the 19th-century movement known as spiritism. No wonder it has a mystical feel to it.

Six other Kamloops artists have works in the show, including Kelly Perry, Maureen Light, Darlene Kalynka, June Emery, Elizabeth Sigalet and Ila Crawford.

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