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‘Outlooks on a Landscape’ at Arts Centre

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One of several seascapes by Peter Gynd in counterpoint with an Ursula Medley garden scape. “Outlooks on a Landscape” runs at the Sunshine Coast Art Centre until July 5. Anna Nobile photo

One of the things people say about the Sunshine Coast is how beautiful it is. We have mountains, forests, and the sea at our doorstep. But how many of us stop to think about our place in this landscape? The latest art exhibit at the Sunshine Coast Arts Centre, Outlooks on a Landscape, by mother and son artists Ursula Medley and Peter Gynd, poses just such questions. What makes up a landscape? How is cultural identity reflected in a landscape? What is our relationship with our landscape?

“We wanted to explore our own styles and see how they fit together,” says Gynd of the show’s premise. “We decided on a theme of landscape and how we each approach the landscape.” The result is a contemplative show with many counterpoints and interplay between the works of mother and son. Where Medley’s paintings of her garden are lush, vivid and large, Gynd’s seascapes are more reflective, keep to a palette of blues and greys, and are quite small. “The intimate scale of them draws you in and by default draws you into the scene,” remarks Gynd. Indeed, trying to capture something as vast as the sea in an 8 x 5 oil painting is surprisingly effective at conveying just how big the ocean is. Displayed next to Medley’s larger garden scapes, the viewer is struck by the contrast in styles and execution. “It’s a nice conversation between the pieces,” notes Gynd. “The macro garden scapes are set next to micro seascapes that are supposed to represent this great expanse.”

While Gynd acknowledges he has “pretty much learned most of my technique from my mom,” he’s rubbed off on her too. “Standard of excellence in execution and presentation of work,” cites Medley of what she’s learned from her son. “Work ethic. He will sometimes paint for 24 hours straight.” And what do they have in common? “We both demand attention to detail in preparation and presentation of our work,” says Medley. This exhibit is a unique opportunity to see the work of these accomplished painters, especially Gynd, who is now based in Brooklyn, NY. “It was extra special to mount this show here on the Coast with Peter,” reveals Powell River based Medley. “Although our work is different in selection, approach and execution of the landscape, the conversation between our work in this exhibit is complementary.”

Outlooks on a Landscape runs at the Sunshine Coast Arts Centre in Sechelt until July 5.

By Arts Columnist Anna Nobile

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