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Two Regional Female Artists featured in Kootenay Gallery Exhibitions

On Aug. 28, the Kootenay Gallery will open the first two new exhibitions in our post-Covid shutdown schedule. The two shows share a theme of the domestic from a feminine perspective. The East Gallery will feature the art of one of the West Kootenay’s premier artists, Susan Andrews Grace. In the West Gallery, a retrospective of the late Winlaw artist, Ann Swanson Gross will be offered.  These exhibitions will be up until October 31.

Poet and artist Susan Andrews Grace has created a body of work she has titled Domestic Fetishes. Andrews Grace says, “My fetishes are power objects relative to the world of an artist and woman who has done a heck of a lot of domestic work. These are not the titillating fetishes of public imagination but more akin to the original fetish, an inanimate object used for spiritual purposes. Mine are made with the female gaze in mind and carry funny-bone benefits. They invite the collaboration of the viewer in making sense of everyday objects and materials.”

The exhibition explores themes of marriage and domestic life through a variety of media. The two dimensional and three dimensional art objects are subtle, profound and occasionally outrageous. Please be advised some elements of the exhibition have a mature theme.

The second show opening on Aug. 28 is Reflections: an Ann Swanson Gross Retrospective. This show comes from the Slocan Valley community where Ann spent most of her life up until she passed away in 2018. The foundation of the exhibition is a collection of works from Cindy and Richard Moser, which Cindy donated to the Gallery, prior to her own death. Valley residents Sam Simpson and Ann Harvey approached the Gallery about creating a show of Swanson Gross’s work.  The two have acted as the bridge between the Slocan Valley community and the Gallery staff to bring works to the gallery from a wide variety of friends and family.

Swanson Gross’s work is deeply personal.  Sometimes it reflects a somber or troubled soul. At other times, it is celebratory. The artist created two dimensional images, often large scale work with fibre-tipped water based pens. While her subjects were often friends and family, she created numerous self portraits. Her other primary artistic outlet were clay sculptures, many of rubenesque female figures. A cross section of both paintings and sculptures will be on display, alongside a portfolio of cards she had gifted friends over the years.

In lieu of an opening event, a come-and-go style Open House will be held from 5 – 8 pm on Sept. 25. To avoid crowding, there will be no formal speeches and admittance to the Gallery will be limited to 50 people at one time. Other COVID protocol will be in place and masks are recommended. Everyone is welcome to attend this free event.

Due to the pandemic, the Kootenay Gallery is currently open limited hours, from 12 to 4 pm, Thursdays to Saturdays. The Gallery is located at 120 Heritage Way, across from the airport, between the Doukhobor Discovery Centre and the West Kootenay SPCA.