Biennale opens at Maple Ridge Art Gallery

Unique exhibit features paintings, sculpture and a hat maker

The Edge

The Edge

The Maple Ridge Art Gallery has joined forces with four other galleries for a joint exhibition celebrating visual arts talent throughout the Fraser Valley.

The intention of “The Fraser Valley Biennale” was to mount simultaneous displays of work throughout the summer at two locations in Abbotsford, as well as Maple Ridge, Langley and Mission.

Wherever possible, the selected artists have been invited to show their work outside their ‘home’ municipalities so that their work is given exposure to new audiences.

“What the jurors were really looking for was solid, consistently professional work in any medium,” said Maple Ridge Art Gallery curator Barbara Duncan. “The overall concept was to show some of the amazing talent we have in such a wide variety of disciplines here in the Fraser Valley. It’s time that diversity was celebrated on a regular basis, and the intention is to mount this show every two years – hence the name biennale.”

Another feature of the biennale is that artists working in any medium were eligible.

Abbotsford artist Bente Hansen was one of the artists selected to show work at the Maple Ridge Art Gallery.

Her painting, The Edge, with its broad sweep of energy and colour, seems to describe a feeling and a landform simultaneously.

“The paintings that I have entered are personal reactions or interpretations of particular environments,” Hansen explains.

“These areas may be a landscape, atmosphere, a memory or an experience. My style is very intuitive and the energy of the brushstroke has a lot to do with the way I am feeling or the expression I am trying to convey.”

Kathleen Menges, another artist from Abbotsford whose work will be displayed in Maple Ridge, found inspiration in her backyard.

Combining realistic forms with abstraction, her works in a cold wax paint medium have an organic, layered feeling that underscores her elemental response to the world around her.  “As I open the doors to my studio and move into the space, I am actually changing my persona to be open to the creative process,” Menges says. “I base my decisions on this place of creativity; less from the mental. As I work on my painting, each layer reveals what comes next until the painting is completed.”

Other artists in this eclectic show include couture hat maker Margaret Blackburn, sculptor and installation artist Mike Edwards, and Maple Ridge’s own Hansi Pinzer, a stone sculptor.

• The Fraser Valley Biennal opens in Maple Ridge with an artists’ reception on June 25 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. The exhibit is at the art gallery in the ACT until July 30.

Travelling art

The Reach Gallery, Abbotsford – Thursday, June 16 to Sunday, October 9

Kariton Gallery, Abbotsford – Saturday, June 11 to Wednesday, July 6

Langley Arts Council  – Thursday, August 4 to Wednesday, September 28

Mission Arts Centre – Tuesday, July 5 to Saturday, July 23