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Chile: impressions after the storm

  • Wed Oct 05 - Sun Oct 30

Pond Gallery

Tony Marinus Vander Voet

A solo exhibition of new mixed media works inspired by the artist's voyage of discovery and rediscovery of the Chilean landscape.

Meet the artist recepton Saturday October 15, 1:30 to 4:30 pm.

Artists' Statement

Chile is an extraordinary country with a crazy geography. Ribboning down the west side of South America for almost 4300 km, Chile is a land of enormous contrasts and great beauty, with its rugged coastline and beaches, deserts, lush lake-filled valleys, araucaria forests, snow-capped volcanoes and mountains.

I first arrived in Chile with my wife and young son in late July, 1973. On September 11, the Chilean military took power in a bloody coup d'état, We returned to Canada the following August.

In 2010, Susan and I traveled for two months during the Chilean summer to visit old friends and to sight-see. With its new buildings and extensive subway system, Santiago had changed enormously from when had lived there. Coastal towns and cities like Viña del Mar and Reñaca were delightful, and we were especially charmed by Valparaiso. We traveled by bus from Santiago south to Villarica and Pucón and then on to Puerto Montt, via the Argentinean cities of San Martin de los Andes and San Carlos de Bariloche. On the magical island of Chiloe, we explored several heritage wooden churches, observed penguins in their natural habitat in Puñihuil, shopped in the craft markets, visited other artists, enjoyed incredible seafood and even ate chocolate "kuchen" made with seaweed at the Parador Darwin. A short tour along Chile's southern highway took us past turquoise lakes and majestic volcanoes. In the north, we drove from La Serena to Pisco Elqui where the mountains were multicoloured and barren. The Elqui river valley was lush with vineyards and orchards, and the sky was so clear that we saw more stars than we had ever seen before.

I created "Impressions: Chile After the Storm" as an exhibition of twenty two mixed-media paintings, (36 x 36") to try to convey the power of the Chilean landscape. I tried not simply to render images, but to capture some of my feelings as we travelled through the countryside. The paintings reflect only a small part of what we saw which, in turn, is only a small part of what we have yet to see.

I have used different stylistic approaches to the various works - ranging from the more realistic to the more abstract - from the organic to the architectural. As I work on a canvas, I let the subject and the canvas itself tell me what I need to do next. This has made the year-long painting journey almost as exciting as the trip itself.

I paint for the sheer joy of painting. The living colours, lines and shapes give each work a separate existence. The act of painting is a conversation between the work and me. The final painting serves as a record of that conversation.

Tony Marinus Vander Voet