Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre Opening: An homage to Canadian female artists

Marlene Lowden explores the mostly unknown history of Canada’s women artists in Blind Contour Homage Series

Marlene Lowden's exhibit Blind Contour Homage Series pays tribute to Canadian female artists. Photo: Melissa Jameson/Revelstoke Mountaineer.

For artist Marlene Lowden, what started out as a simple art-class assignment quickly blossomed into a project of exploration and discovery.

“I usually paint really large abstract oil, so I chose a sketchbook and a pencil and I started using blind contour drawing,” said Lowden.

Blind contour drawing involves looking at the object an artist intends to draw, but not looking at the paper or pencil. A lover of art history, Lowden also began studying famous artists as part of her side project. That soon turned to studying famous Canadian artists, and very quickly after switched to a focus on Canadian female artists.

“I realized I didn’t know any famous female Canadian artists. I could name Emily Carr and then Maud Lewis, because of the movie that came out a few years ago,” said Lowden. “I realized I didn’t know the womens’ shoulders I was standing on.”

She began collecting information and writing biographies on the female artist she was discovering and blogging about her findings. She started turning sketches into oil on canvas, with a blind contour understudy. It was an organic, unplanned process, said Lowden,

“It was just one painting after another and they started speaking to each other and I realized I have a body of work,” she said. “I start to get teary eyed when I start to talk about these people because I have been working with their pieces and studying them for a couple of years now.”

GASP connects youth to nature, art

Grade 10 student Ava Keerak took part in the Glacier Adventure Stewardship Program. Photo: Melissa Jameson/Revelstoke Mountaineer.

Youth from Revelstoke and Golden had a chance to connect with nature and learn photography skills through the Glacier Adventure Stewardship Program.

Run annually, GASP provides youths in Grades 9 and 10 a chance to learn about the environment and gain backcountry skills while also practicing photography. This year the 12 participants spent one night at the Asulkan Hut and one night at the Wheeler Hut.

Ava Keerak, a Grade 10 student at Revelstoke Secondary School described the experience as surreal.

“It was just fun to record what everything looked like, because I didn’t want to forget,” she said.

This year the photos were edited by Grade 12 student Nolan Gale. Gale first participated in GASP as a student in Grade 10, then returned as a student leader in Grade 11. During his first year participating Gale had just begun exploring photography, but over the past few years has strengthened his photography skills. While editing the project this year was challenging, Gale said he was happy to be a part of it.

“You get to see the photos everyone’s taking and try to make a nice exhibit. It’s not really something I’ve ever done before,” he said.

Participants in this year’s GASP exhibit are Nolan Gale, Devyn Gale, Kolibri Drobish, Cedar Cameron-Harding, Ava Keerak, Alyssa Bollefer, Hazen Lambert, Megan Babak, Sonia Rosenberger, Bryce Golovach, Noah Babak and William Cooper.

Blind Contour Homage Series and GASP–Glacier Adventure Stewardship Program are on display at the Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre until Nov. 22. The Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre is located at 320 Wilson Street and is open Tuesday to Saturday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.