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Cataract surgery inspires Oak Bay artist to go ‘crazy with colour’ for Victoria show

Seeing (with new eyes) runs Jan. 3 to 22 at Gage Gallery in Bastion Square

Oak Bay artist Jo-Anne Silverman values her eyesight.

It’s not that hers has ever been pristine, but her eyes are living their best life at the moment.

Silverman wore glasses her entire life up to last year when she had cataract surgery. Her newfound perspective inspired her latest art show Seeing (with new eyes) – as did those she dedicated it to – her three eye doctors and a former client, living with blindness.

A former CBC researcher, she moved into fundraising and advancement work with Lakehead University for a decade before coming to Greater Victoria. Here she worked the same field at Glenlyon Norfolk School and finished up her career at what is now called United Way Southern Vancouver Island.

“Always in the background I was working on my art,” Silverman said.

She recalls as a youngster when her uncle would come over to watch the fights with her dad and she’d be in the dining room drawing. When she was seven, that uncle commissioned a nice wood adult-sized easel for her – it’s a fond memory that solidifies the support felt from adults in her life.

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In more recent years, she joined the Gage Gallery Art Collective that started at its Oak Bay gallery before moving to Bastion Square in Victoria last year. Previous shows as a Gage member include Lush, an orbital display where proceeds funded Cool Aid.

“As a collective, you have a lot of responsibility for the day-to-day,” she said.

Still working, with her 75th birthday approaching, she stepped away as a member and left the collective to focus on her work. When an opening for early 2023 came up then an opening came up for non-members, she snapped up the opportunity.

Each show is different artistically.

“The change thing is really important to me. I don’t want to keep doing the same thing over and over. It doesn’t make sense to me,” she said.

This show, her renewed eyesight inspired her to go “crazy with colour” and ideas.

Each work is available on a pay what you can concept and each show benefits a non profit. Amazingly enough, many offer more than the market value, she said, but no reasonable offer is refused.

“I want my art to be accessible. I don’t want it to be out of the range of possible for those who love it.”

This show features 18 pieces of varying sizes from eight inches square to 25.75 by 40 inches and benefits the Vancouver Island School of Art.

READ ALSO: Gage gallery moves to Bastion Square

Seeing (with new eyes) runs Jan. 3 to 22 at Gage Gallery in Bastion Square, Victoria. Silverman will also be in attendance for an official opening Jan. 7 from 2 to 5 pm. and each Wednesday and Saturday of the show from noon to 3 p.m.

Christine van Reeuwyk

About the Author: Christine van Reeuwyk

I'm dedicated to serving the community of Oak Bay as a senior journalist with the Greater Victoria news team.
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