Just Imagine at the Kelowna Art Gallery

Just Imagine brings together the work of four blind or vision-impaired artists in a show that is sure to engage Kelowna audiences in an exhibition that opens to the public on Jan. 12.

Just Imagine highlights the work and methods of artists Bruce Horak, Busser Howell, PJ Lockhart, and Eriko Watanabe. It explores the idea that once we get past the typical notions of “seeing” the potential for artistic and creative expression is limitless.

Curated by local artist Ruth Bieber, who is also blind, the exhibition is intended to create a conversation about how human beings see, perceive and respond to the world around them.

German-based Eriko Watanabe said in her artist's statement: “What I intend to do through drawing is to transfer what I perceive with my senses using dots, lines and surfaces. These include tastes, smells, touch, the flow of time, temperature, space, emotions, atmosphere, feelings, fantasies, ideas, and even my own imagination of colours and light.”

A piece comprised of over 200 portraits by Calgary-based artist Bruce Horak, titled The Way I See It will be featured in the show and offers a glimpse at the answer to the often asked question “What do you see?”

New York-based artist Busser Howell is a painter working in the vein of expressionist abstraction. His most recent work incorporates paint, paper, and other materials to create a single, monolithic image that becomes kinetic, with refraction of light on highly textured surfaces.

Local resident PJ Lockhart is a prolific, self-taught artist who creates multi-media abstract work that incorporates everything from cell phones to hair gel.

Just Imagine is an inclusive exhibition for both sighted and vision-impaired patrons, with some works of art available to touch. A brochure to accompany the show will be produced in both text and Braille, and the labels for the art will be displayed in both large print and in Braille.

A panel discussion has been scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 12, from 1 to 3 p.m., with curator, Ruth Bieber, artists Bruce Horak, Busser Howell and Eriko Watanabe, and John M Kennedy, professor emeritus in the psychology department at the University of Toronto, as guest speakers. On Sunday, Jan. 13,  from 1 to 4 p.m. a special Family Sundays activity of painting portraits with artist Bruce Horak has been scheduled.

Just Imagine, generously funded by the Vancouver Foundation and the Central Okanagan Foundation, will be on view from Jan. 12 to March 17 at the Kelowna Art Gallery. An opening reception for gallery members and their guests will be held on Friday, Jan. 11,  from 7 to 9 p.m. A by invitation only event, all four artists will be in attendance.

The Kelowna Art Gallery is located at 1315 Water Street in downtown Kelowna. For more information about current exhibitions, public programming or special events,  visit the Kelowna Art Gallery online at www.kelownaartgallery.com.

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