Connections, a newly displayed art exhibit at the University College of Cape Breton Art Gallery is aptly named. Although the works by the three represented artists are unique, they seem connected by strong roots in the natural world.
The works by Nick marsh represent a beautiful cross between the functional and the aesthetic. Although the work is intricate and needs nothing to compliment it, most of the pieces look ready to receive various collections of pocket change or flowers. Each vessel is layered and inlayed with textures and dark, earthy colours which seem to reflect their connection with this world while at the same time seeming almost extraterrestrial in origin.
From a distance or a certain light, the works of Dawn MacNutt might look like a group of static dancers. From a bit closer, they still look like human figures coming together in conversation yet for some reason draped are in wicker. The medium here is actually twined Native and English willow which would look equally at hom ein the garden as in the gallery.
Although a wholly enjoyable display, the highlight for me was the work of Taiya Barss. Having seen some of Taiya’s work in various setting in both Sydney and Halifax, I have become a fan. Much of her work seems like a collage of textures. LIke poetry, her paintings are made up of fragments of thoughts and elements which come together to represent something whole. Like those of the other artists in this exhibition, these works are very naturalistic, many featuring human and animal figures which appear to be fused with trees, rocks and water. Her combinations of the real (landscapes) and the surreal (angel figures) add depth to her depictions of nature which include transparent toads with full bellies, painted turtles and an eerily human owl.
This is just the latest in a seemingly continuous line of impressive and beautiful displays at the UCCB Gallery. With an ever expanding permanent collection and a constant flow of renowned visiting exhibits, the Gallery seems to be taking its place amongst nationally prominently and respected galleries. This current presentation runs until January 27, 2000, and deserves to be enjoyed by students of UCCB as well as the general populace.