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PHOTOS: Solo exhibit ponders garden paradise in qathet

Bright colours and lush brushwork excite patrons of the arts at opening

Fifth-generation artist Peter Gynd bedecked the qathet Art Centre walls with 30 of his bright and abstract oil paintings of all sizes for his solo exhibit titled: 10989 Dunlop Road. The opening reception, with an artist talk, on Saturday, February 3, drew crowds of curious onlookers who seemed impressed with the colourful work.

"In 2020 when the pandemic hit, I was living with my wife in New York City and we came up here to this amazing garden of Eden," said Gynd. "Throughout the history of art, gardens have been portrayed as magical and divine dwellings."

Coming from the horrors of the pandemic, which hit New York hard, Lang Bay became a place of refuge for Gynd and his wife. The garden on Dunlop Road belongs to world-renowned artist Ursula Medley, who is Gynd's mom. The beautifully cultivated outdoor paradise became the subject for his series of more than 60 oil paintings.

"The exhibition invites visitors to journey through interpretations and indulge themselves in the lush brushwork and expressively optimistic compositions," stated Gynd.

The paintings range in scale from smaller 10 inches by eight inches to bigger ones at four feet, three inches. 

Gynd began the series years ago and said he likes to take a long look at one particular subject. 

According to Gynd, this particular exhibition is a grouping of 30 oil paintings he made this past summer and fall of scenes in his mother’s garden.

"These luscious and joyfully coloured paintings have multiple iterations on a grouping of trees surrounding the entrance to the south-of-town property," explained Gynd.

Cedar trees and a large fir tree are depicted in every painting in contrast with bright purple, red and pink abstract lines and in complementary patterns.

"I love the community here in qathet and would like to make this my home base," said Gynd. "I do have some upcoming opportunities in Los Angeles and Texas.”

Currently, Gynd considers himself based between qathet and Houston, Texas. Although he didn't grow up in the qathet region, he did grow up on the west coast of Canada, and his work reflects his reverence of nature.

Gynd tried to make the move to qathet after his mom moved to Lang Bay in 2001, but the timing wasn't quite right. So, he pursued higher art education in Calgary and then in Brooklyn, which he made his home base for close to 10 years. 

"There were always things happening [in qathet] but it was more hidden," said Gynd. "Now happenings and art events are a bit more out in the open."

Following in his mom's footsteps, Gynd has taught painting workshops in Canada, including qathet, Italy, Mexico and the United States.

The 10989 Dunlop Road exhibit can be viewed at qathet Art Centre until March.Viewing hours are Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from noon to 5 pm.

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