Upcoming art fairs in Sydney include a book launch celebrating the collaborative process and the West Coast.
Connections and Collaborations will be on view at Sydney’s Tulista Gallery on Fifth Street from November 18-25, featuring works by Wendy Picken, Lorraine Douglas, Kerry O’Gorman, Heather Maciak and Mara Szyp.
“The show is called Connections and Collaborations because it brings together things that I love about living on the West Coast,” said Picken, who will host the show on Nov. 18 from 6 to 8 p.m. She wanted to include people she had worked with in the past.
Works by Douglas, O’Gorman, Maciak, and Szyp — or at least their inspiration and theme — Browse Picken’s books.
“When I do illustrations for my books, I collaborate with Lorraine,” says Picken. “She did some calligraphy for some of the pictures and illustrations in the book.”
Picken worked on the book for 11 years. “She (Douglas) just brought some new enthusiasm and new excitement to my project, and I believe that’s why I was able to finish it.”
The book’s central character is called Angelina Carolina Wilhelmina Figs, “a damselfly-mouse-bird-moth with an intricate mix of beetle-frog nose.” Picken says the character was inspired by the 19th-century British illustrator Edward Lear and his character Scroobious Pip. Picken said her daughter fell in love with the character after her daughter received a copy of King Lear’s absurd poem, which describes an unspecified animal, the Scrobious Pip.
Picken’s character follows that tradition, and old friend O’Gorman feels the character’s three-dimensional model.
Picken acknowledged that there are some biographical elements to the newcomer’s story, which was inspired by Picken’s love of West Coast life. Picken wasn’t familiar with the area when he came to study art, but quickly fell in love with it, thanks in part to Emily Carr’s books and paintings, and has remained so.
“It’s still magical to me, and I’m always amazed that there aren’t any fairy tales on the West Coast.”
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Art Saanich Peninsula