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At the Galleries: Explore a variety of mediums and artists this summer in Victoria

Bateman Foundation offers a peek into the artist’s life

Media of all sorts – glass and oil, newcomers to Victoria and tried-and-true – lie in wait as summer tourism hits a high this month in Greater Victoria

At The Avenue Gallery in Oak Bay, Bi Yuan Cheng, Maria Josenhans and Lisa Samphire are the central focus.

Samphire has been blowing glass for more than 35 years, producing a diverse body of work that includes private and public, sculptural and functional pieces.

“Glass is the medium I have chosen to express and explore my interests in making art. It is the resolution of interrelated aesthetic and technical problems that makes glass an exciting and challenging medium in which to work,” Samphire said.

In 2008, Samphire had four pieces acquisitioned by the federal government of Canada for its visual arts collection. The following year, her work was selected to represent Canada at the Cheongju International Craft Biennale in South Korea.

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Josenhans was born and raised in New England but brings her innate aesthetic to the west coast she now calls home. She considers the landscape as her garden, a place of connecting with beauty that gives rise to something new and reaches beyond daily concerns. Whether it is a grand vista or an intimate pool by a stream, her aim is not to have the viewer experience what she sees and feels, but to create a space that shares a tender tribute to the ordinary.

Raised in China, Yuan Cheng began practising art at age five. At 11, he was mentored by one of China’s most prestigious art professors who developed his considerable skills in oil and watercolour. Yuan Cheng immigrated to Canada in 1990 and lives in Vancouver where he continues his masterful career capturing the beauty of the Canadian landscape with calligraphic brushwork, mastery of light and refined use of colour.

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West End Gallery continues its curated collection featuring Canadian artists, a vibrant group exhibition continuing throughout the summer. Participating artists include Steven Armstrong, Cameron Bird, Naomi Cairns, Rod Charlesworth, Steve R, Coffey, Ken Faulks, Greta Guzek, Gabryel Harrison, Dana Irving, Paul Jorgensen, Ken Kirkby, Mary Ann Laing, Grant Leier, Lucie Marlo, Joel Mara, Annabelle Marquis, Elka Nowicka, John Ogilvy, Paul Paquette, Robert Savignac, Peter Shostak, Jeannette Sirois, Blu Smith, Peter Wyse and more. The showcase is augmented with glass and sculpture works by Kathleen Black, Elaine Brewer-White, Maryse Chartrand, Dulce Alba Lindeza, Robert Held, Tammy Hudgeon, Robert Leatherbarrow, Darren Petersen and David Thai.

Find West End Gallery at 1203 Broad St. or westendgalleryltd.com.

Madrona Gallery offers a solo exhibition of new sculptures by Guthrie Gloag this month.

In his highly anticipated fourth solo exhibition with Madrona, Gloag’s most recent collection takes inspiration from an extended period of introspection. Over the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021, the artist was not able to travel to his normal locations for material. This led to a greater level of ingenuity and allowed him to adapt to a new way of creating work.

Find Madrona at 606 View St. or online at madronagallery.com.

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Imagine being completely immersed in more than 300 of the greatest works of post-Impressionist artist Vincent Van Gogh. Now imagine experiencing all of this art liberated from its two-dimensional limitations into a three-dimensional experience that exhilarates every sense and brings to life one of the most influential artists the world has known. It’s all part of Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience, which has sold over three million tickets globally, making it one of the most popular current travelling exhibitions. The sensory extravaganza opens in Victoria at the Starry Night Pavilion at Bayview Place on Oct. 14.

Tickets sell out quickly and are available at vangoghvictoria.com.

Gallery Merrick recently had its grand opening in downtown Victoria after making the move from Nanaimo where owner Joe Bembridge created a successful gallery featuring an eclectic collection of work from Canadian artists.

“When I first opened there were people who told me, ‘This isn’t going to work here, it’s been tried before,’” Bembridge said. Four years later, it was time to move to a bigger location and Bembridge decided that Victoria would be a better fit for the gallery.

In their new location at 1806 Government St., Gallery Merrick is also available to rent as a venue for small gatherings, fundraisers, and other events.

Bembridge also offers a mentorship program for aspiring commercial artists. Learn more at gallerymerrick.com.

The Robert Bateman: Heart & Home exhibition opened in June.

Best known for capturing the essence of nature through realist art, Robert Bateman has been sharing his artwork for more than seven decades. His new exhibition is a close look at not just the artist but as a father, friend, teacher, and advocate.

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“I think the main, motivating reason for the various creations in many mediums I have made over a lifetime is partly to fulfil the inner desire to explore, to create, and to please other people,” Bateman said in a news release.

“It likely started when I did a painting of an elk at Christmas in 1942 for my mother. I got invaluable encouragement, to which we all naturally respond to. Also, a homemade gift that takes thought and time should be more treasured than something bought in a store or from internet shopping.”

Visitors see ordinary moments – a birthday, a family hike, a walk on the beach – to seized moments of beauty and joy. The collection is a mix of experimentation of mediums – including creating furniture, pottery, drawings, and paintings.

Robert Bateman: Heart & Home runs through Feb. 28, 2023, at the Bateman Gallery, 470 Belleville St.

“There’s a diverse array of pieces that allow visitors to be part of intimate moments of Robert’s life,” said Andrea Terron, exhibition curator and head of gallery and exhibits at the Bateman Foundation.

“You’ll feel at home in the family room with personalized furniture pieces and feel inspired when you walk into the Bateman studio. You’ll see a well-travelled artist in his youth with rare art pieces created during his infamous journey to 19 countries in a Land Rover Series 1, fondly named ‘Grizzly Torque’ with his life-long friend Bristol Foster.”

Learn more at batemanfoundation.org.


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