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COLUMN: Complex vs. clear-cut

Take an artistic break from the cold weather at the Foyer Gallery

In the midst of a snowy month, the Foyer Gallery is a warm place to view an eclectic mix of exhibits that are currently on display until Feb. 6. 

Abstract artist Ramon Kubicek is on a quest to discover divine in the familiar. 

On the walls of the Foyer Gallery he presents 14 large paintings that explore “line” by searching for its beginning and its ending. Elusive shapes represent doors and holes into concealed narratives in convoluted combinations of hushed blues, buttery warmth and mixed media in this show titled A Crack in Everything God Has Made.

“I am always seeking the transcendent in the ordinary,” says Kubicek, who has been an artist for decades. 

He began in Montreal, influenced by the work of painter Yves Gaucher, then in England worked with mixed media and installation, including complex tapestry, beadwork and medallions in the paintings. He moved into children’s stories and children’s theatre, as a writer and a maker of sets, and then performance/playwriting in Vancouver along with mask-making. 

Later Kubicek taught at Langara College and Emily Carr University and has been a full-time painter for 10 years.

“My interest in Taoism led me to read that the ancients studied cracks in nature as an entry into spirit and as a way of divining the future. Reading the future is not so interesting to me, but I take their interest to mean the individual soul is connected to all things, and so one can move into the heart of nature or into the depth of oneself simply by studying cracks in bark, leaves, stone and so forth,” says Kubicek, describing his creative stimulation for this particular series. 

Inspired by drawings based on observations of nature, history and the imagination, Kubicek also looks to the artwork of his eight-year-old daughter for insight.

He is informed by Kabbalah views on doing everything carefully, devotedly and attentively. 

After a lifelong career in the arts, Kubicek muses that he still thinks of himself as a learner, such as a Zen practitioner is encouraged not to aspire beyond the state of a beginner. His adage is: “To live passionately and to remember to laugh every day!” 

See for more. 

Bringing nature inside 

Wood sculptor Dave Gilmore, simply and devotedly, loves the great outdoors, surrounded by trees in the natural environment. 

So naturally, it’s no surprise that his chosen medium is wood and the images in his carvings are inspired by regional wildlife. 

In the display cases he presents a wide array of woodcarvings, which include local animals, such as bears and bobcats, along with eagles, blue jays and owls in the moonlight. 

Some of the artful designs are wall-hung animal heads and others exhibit condensed scenes of the woodland surroundings designed as stand-alone sculptures.

Gilmore’s process starts with transferring his sketch onto the flat piece of wood. He uses power tools to cut out the design and then spends hours carving the fine details in preparation for hand sanding and a final stain. 

When Gilmore isn’t working with wood you’ll find him four-by-fouring out in the backcountry around his home in Pemberton.

Contact for more information. 

- Toby Jaxon is curator of the Foyer Gallery, located in the entrance to the Squamish Public Library at 37907 Second Ave. 

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