Wainio show opens Friday at Kelowna Art Gallery

Carol Wainio: The Book opens at the KAG looking at the artists work over the last 10 years.

Opening Jan. 19, Carol Wainio: The Book brings wonderfully complex paintings by nationally recognized painter Carol Wainio to Kelowna audiences.

Wainio tackles global issues such as genetically modified seeds and the scourge of discarded plastic shopping bags, combined with the appealing subject of illustrated children’s books.

Wainio is a senior Canadian artist who lives and works in Ottawa. The show is a 10-year survey, beginning with works from 2002 when the artist began working with the motif/theme of the illustrated book.

Since then, her focus has shifted from medieval books of hours to Victorian illustrated books for children, primarily the fairy tale of Puss in Boots.

As with her other, earlier artistic explorations, Wainio has given a great deal of thought to her subject, in this case, mulling over the layers of cultural meaning in imagery intended for children.

She explores her findings using the language of the visual and painterly, not in literal or sociological terms.

The works in this touring show are mostly large in scale, and rendered in skillfully handled paint and with intriguingly constructed spaces.

Wainio’s dystopian settings are rife with tongue-in-cheek cultural references, with dense conglomerations of imagery.

The show is accompanied by an 84-page, hard-cover catalogue with essays on the work by Carleton University professor of literature, Donald Beecher, and Trent University professor in 19th century critical theory, Randy Innes.

An opening reception to celebrate the exhibition will be held on Jan. 25, from 7 to 9 p.m., at the Kelowna Art Gallery. Wainio will be in attendance to deliver an artist’s talk at 7 p.m.

Also, a panel of five artists, including Wainio, is organized for Jan. 26, from 1 to 3 p.m., at the gallery. The discussion will focus on issues facing artists outside major urban centres of cultural production.

Carol Wainio: The Book is organized and circulated by Carleton University Art Gallery, Ottawa, and curated by Diana Nemiroff. The exhibition will run Jan. 19 to March 17 at the KAG.

The gallery is located at 1315 Water St. in downtown Kelowna.  For more information about current exhibitions, public programming or special events, go to the KAG website www.kelownaartgallery.com.