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3104-115 Fulford Ganges Road
Grace Point Square
Salt Spring Island, BC,
Canada V8K 2T9
Tel/Fax: 250-537-8822
Toll Free: 1-866-537-8822
Email: art@gallery8saltspring.com

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Gallery 8

One year after taking ownership of the J. Mitchell Gallery, Razali Wahab has symbolically made the transformation with a name change to Gallery 8.

The newly expanded gallery space on the upper floor first made an appearance for Carol Evans'  recent solo show.

Now the space has been launched into permanent action as a second exhibition room. Also in place upstairs is Yorkshire Design, a centre for interior design complete with showroom furniture and books of colour swatches. A full-colour catalogue printed for the current show is just the first in what will now be standard practice.

The title of the grand opening exhibition of Wahab' s visionary new path, Symbolically 8, makes reference to the gallery' s name and also provided the artists a fun theme with which to playfully celebrate the partnership.

David Jackson contributed one of the most eye-catching examples of the  "eight"  theme with his abstract expressionist red on red canvas, Razed Eights. Bright red and spidery black drips on a dark red background reveal the numeral in question, slightly raised from the surface with the thickness of the paint.

J.D. Evans' The Eight Gate is a more esoteric take. Her familiar palette of silver and bronze markings on black is made complex by mythic creatures: a twisting dragon, a woman, a fish, and a running man transforming into an eagle.

The Chinese-influenced dragon and goldfish suggest other symbols of luck (as the number 8 is for Asian people). The male and female figures suggest, in contrast, the human requirement to act and make the most of life's chances.

Jade Boyd's diptych August 8 After 8 is a landscape made slightly surreal by the smooth surface of the board it was painted on. The sunset swirls in patterns of cream and toffee, echoed by fernlike bushes in the foreground. A night sky with stars starting to peek through is hinted at in the forest's shadows, deep blue and teal green.

Joyce Grieg has created a multimedia sculpture with Pieces of Eight, a wood-framed square box with a glass face.

Tight rolls of fabric that have perhaps been glazed in slip rest in the eight side compartments. In the centre, two larger rolls make an eight when viewed with the right eyes.

Also called Pieces of Eight is a series of small dishes (arranged as a wall piece) in kiln-formed glass by Bill Boyd. Mosaic-like designs have two shades each of yellow, red and green separated by white, while in two others white panels are edged in two shades of blue. The price? $888.88.

Michael Robb, who often mixes animal forms and mythical archetypes in his surreal metal sculptures, has contributed satisfying new work. Yopol looks like a double crested rooster-fish. The body’s large ochre yellow scales end in a fish tail, but are supported by two fringed chicken legs. The black bird head hosts two magnificent feathery red combs. Yopol is wearing a number eight on a chain around its neck. (For this show only?)

Not on theme but also fantastic is another sculpture by Robb called Contingency.

A tall pedestal with a shape worthy of Doctor Seuss is decorated in heart patterns and raised dots, painted with a bronze finish. On top is an extended fish character with mosquito type eyes, topped with a sort of shark body waistcoat.

Jerry Davidson's extremely realistic Arrangement in Black & Grey with Chopsticks looks incredibly true to form. Ceramic vessels, eggs and chopsticks appear to project so much into apparent three-dimensional space that viewers may be inclined to get close up and see whether or not they really do.

Kettu (The Fox) by Karin Marita Jones is a good example of her fine metal craft. Using the Damascene inlay process with precious metals on blackened steel, her technical skills are easily matched by her artistry. In this case, a six-inch diameter dish has the Japanese-inspired scene of a fox near the pebbly shores of a lake, under stark birch trunks. A cool night in late fall is evoked.

Roger Warren's stained maple sculpture is a pleasing geometric ensemble in two parts: Circle Square, Square Circle places the cut-out of one shape within the block of another.

Many more fine artists and works can be found at the gallery, and with more breathing room they all show to their best advantage. As Wahab continues to move things up to the next level it will be interesting to see how far his vision will take him.

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