Nestled in the nook of a tree somewhere along a trail in the woods of Maple Ridge, stares an eye.
The eye, a painted rock, adds life to the inanimate object it is sitting upon and is meant to create a moment of surprise, or intrigue or contemplation for anyone who just happens to see it, according the Whonnock artist who is behind the fabrication of numerous eyes on local trails.
Gloria Stanley has placed around seven of her painted eye stones, including one replacement, along six trails in Maple Ridge – Cliff Falls Park, Kanaka Trail in Whonnock, the Lower Thornhill Trail, and Rainbow Ridge Trail in Whonnock.
Although, the first stone she set out was at Silverdale Creek Wetlands in Mission at the end of January.
After walking the local trails – more so than usual because of COVID-19 restrictions – Stanley noticed a trend of painted rocks, especially at the wetlands. A lot of them, she said, had messages written on them.
Stanley, a mixed media, three dimensional artist that uses natural materials, and member of the Whonnock Weavers, had been painting eyes for a sculpture she was working on.
“And I just had an excess number of them,” she said.
And she is not bothered that people are taking the eyes. After posting a picture of one of the stolen eyes online, Haney artist-in-residence Aaron Moran reached out to her.
He told her that when you place art in a public space, it’s really worthwhile, regardless of how long it stays in the space.
If it disappeared so quickly, he assured her, maybe it means you’re doing something right.
“I thought that was a good way to look at it,’ chuckled Stanley.
Stanley’s sculptures have been part of international exhibitions, but because of the pandemic, there are not a lot of opportunities currently to show her pieces.
So the fibre artist is happy working in her studio on works to show when art exhibits and shows are running again – and painting eyes onto rocks leaving them for trail walkers to stumble on and reflect upon.
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