Tonquin Beach by Judi Kimmerly. (Contributed)

Shuswap artists come into focus for upcoming exhibit

Salmon Arm Art Gallery presents 20/20, an open community exhibition

By Barb Brouwer


It’s all eyes on Shuswap artists when the Salmon Arm Art Gallery presents 20/20, an open community exhibition for artists of all media on Friday, Feb. 21.

“This is a great opportunity for artists who have never exhibited before to take a chance and show their work to the public,” says curator/director Tracey Kutschker, noting the exhibition is open to artists of all ages and abilities and gives the community the opportunity to see the diversity of art in the community. “I don’t feel like there’s other barriers; if it comes in the door and it’s 20 inches by 20 inches it’s going on the wall.”

Kutschker says she has received many expressions of interest and believes more than 70 local artists will participate.

Artist Judi Kimmerly shares Kutschker’s view on the opportunity for all local artists to participate in this non-juried show.

A graduate of Vancouver’s Emily Carr School of Art and Design, Kimmerly is entering two pictures.

One particularly close to her heart is a recent painting of Tonquin Beach near Tofino, a scene she drank in during a visit last year.

“I hadn’t been near the ocean for years because I’d been so ill,” she says pointing out she had grown up near the ocean and loves the beauty of the Shuswap. “I like nature and i look out on the lake, but the ocean has always been my muse, so much movement.”

In the throes of a serious illness that prevented her from doing much of anything six years ago, Kimmerly focused on what she could do and enjoyed. That was art.

Like her other projects, Tonquin Beach was painted from a photo she took on vacation.

“I can’t paint real life, I paint with my own colour, imagery and imagination,” she says. “And it’s abstraction. I can’t paint grey and beige, I need more colours from the Crayon box.”

Her illness also led Kimmerly to another art form.

“I started making soap about a year ago and I consider them to be little pieces of art,” she says of the decorative bars. “Because I was ill, I couldn’t have toxins so I had to make my own so I would know what went into it.”

It’s not the sound of the waves that inspires another participating artist, whose paintings feature her favourite animal.

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“I am obsessed with moose, I just love them,” says Grandview Bench resident Marg Robertson. “They often walk out behind our property and I just love it.”

Unable to get enough real-life views of her ungulate friends, Robertson set out trail cameras in the forest beyond her property.

“I have been gathering photos and this year I just thought I have to paint it and get it out of my mind,” she says, noting that she too, uses the photos for reference and looks at other sources for the four paintings she is entering in the 20/20 exhibition.

Robertson admits to being frustrated and a tad jealous when other people tell her of their encounters with moose.

“I go to sketch and paint and says why you, why not me? I’m the one that wants to see these things,” she laughs. “I don’t know what it is about them but If I see one, I am just beside myself with joy.”

Robertson began painting as a child, taking a correspondence course in Grade 8.

“I just started painting on my own then got married, had kids and stopped for a while,” she says. “Around 1988 I started to go back to it and went to college courses and I want to paint all the time.”

Everyone is invited to 20/20’s opening reception from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21. Enjoy live music and refreshments, and wear your best and most colourful eyewear. The art gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Coffee Break and Artist Talk is from 2 to 4 p.m. Thursday, March 19. All art gallery events are admission by donation. Event information can be found at and on Facebook.

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Moose family by Marg Robertson. (Contributed)

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