Detail from Holding Back the Storm

They come in all shapes and sizes

Come Together at MAG features work of East Sooke artists

Collaboration has two meanings, the first is to work jointly especially in a literary or artistic production, the second is to cooperate traitorously with the enemy. There is no enemy in the upcoming exhibition at the Metchosin Art Gallery (MAG) — it’s the exact opposite. Three strong artistic women, who also happen to be family, are showing their art work for the month of June at the MAG.

East Sooke artists Bonnie Coulter and Angela Menzies are mother and daughter and they, along with sister and aunt Margaret Heywood, are collaborating in painting large-scale artworks.

Both Coulter and Menzies are known through their participation in the Stinking Fish Studio Tour and the East Sooke Studio Tour. Both women work in their separate studios and each are inspired by the natural beauty of East Sooke. Menzies’ work is both whimsical and serene, with a healthy scattering of female nudes and dogs. Coulter draws her inspiration directly from her surroundings, landscapes and fishscapes, seaweed and seaside. Heywood is a long time student of the arts who lives in North Vancouver and succumbs to landscapes and florals.

They have collaborated on a piece entitled, “Holding Back the Storm” which depicts a child with threatening clouds behind and a dog at his side. Menzies painted the portrait and Coulter the landscape, each contributing what they knew best,

The work solicits different responses and a first reaction is one of fear, for the child.

“Funny enough, the photo was one of my son laughing,” said Menzies.

Menzies explained that the work is about transition and kids as they grow. It’s about the anxieties and worry from parents and grandparents as they see the approaching storm of adolescence.

“It’s the only joint piece in the show,” said Menzies.

There will be plenty to look at in the show. Each of the artists will hang up to 25 works each. Menzies will have a new series called “Sizes,” which looks at how women perceive themselves when they take the number off the free size.

“It’s the essence of their personality,” said Menzies. She said they are nudes of 23 real women she knows. She asked each of them how they say themselves if they took their body image out of the equation. The paintings are their answers.

All of the work will hang for the duration of the show, which runs from June 6 to July 7. Opening reception with the artists on June 8 from 2 to 5 p.m. The gallery is open Thursday through Sunday, 12 to 5 p.m.

The MG is a brand new non-profit gallery located at 4495 Happy Valley Road in Metchosin. The 1,000 square foot gallery is located within the old Metchosin school library. The MAG is a contemporary art space that supports the local arts community and offers innovative exhibitions, performances and artist talks.