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Terroir | Physically Speaking

This is the second of an ongoing series of exhibitions which are intended to explore and celebrate the incredible depth and breadth of our region’s visual arts community. Borrowing the word terroir from the wine industry, this series of exhibitions seeks to discover if there are any special characteristics that the geography, geology and climate of the Okanagan Valley has had on the artist who live here and the work they produce. In choosing the title I loved the double entendre of the word "figuratively" which by definition implies the words are metaphoric; they are a figure of speech meant to convey something different from their literal meaning, while also alluding to the human form and condition, which is a subject each of these artists draws upon as an inspiration. This is intended to be a survey, an introduction to a range of contemporary artists working here in the Okanagan Valley who are all exploring a similar theme. I hope this exhibit will encourage you to seek out more of their work, along with others working in the region, and I look forward to hearing the conversations and the dialogue which will develop as a result of this exhibition.  I would like to thank all of the participating artists for their willingness to be a part of this exhibition. 

Stephan Bircher was born in St-Gallen, Switzerland. In kindergarten he had his mouth washed with soap on a regular basis and grew up to become an anarchist, a hippie, and a camel tamer in India.  After the camel tamer (ok... camel trainer) stint he taught art, handicraft and sports in secondary school in Switzerland. He now makes his home in Enderby, British Columbia and spends a lot of time in his shop tinkering with bones and found objects. As a lighting designer he has designed for theatres such as the Electric Company Theatre and the Leaky Heaven Circus in Vancouver, Caravan Farm Theatre in Armstrong, Runaway Moon Theatre in Enderby and the Wishbone Theatre in Dunster, Alberta.

Rose Braun was born in Regina, SK and completed a bachelor's degree in Psychology/Sociology at the University of Regina. After completing a B.Ed at the University of Alberta and attending an arts program at the University of Calgary, it gave her the opportunity to reflect upon the importance of art and culture in her own life; both on a physical level, and psychological, having experienced the impact of a strong cultural environment in those cities. Braun's university studies provided her with a critical mind allowing a chance to discover her true passion; creating art. Braun's art career began, following her heart, taking concrete and imagined ideas of places and people, and working them carefully onto the surfaces of her steel canvases. Moving to the Okanagan in the 80's proved to be great inspiration with our rugged, natural landscape.

Michael Hermesh was born 1955 in Spiritwood, SK and studied art at Okanagan University College and the Vancouver School of Art (Emily Carr). He also has extensive experience in furniture design and ornamental carving. From his residence and self-constructed studio, he continues to indulge his passion for sculpting, as well as hold drawing workshops and sculpture courses. His primary interest is figurative sculpture and his public sculpture, “The Frieze of the Arts”, graces the façade of the Summerland Arts Center. “The Friends of the Garden” and the Summerland Chapter of the International Sculpture Symposium (through Agriculture Canada) have commissioned his “Standing Man” sculpture for the Summerland Research Station Ornamental Gardens. Michael’s work continues to be well received and is represented in international collections throughout Canada, Italy, Germany, and Spain.

Wanda Lock is a painter living in Lake Country who, according to her significant other, watches too many coming of age movies. She is also known to play the Stone Temple Pilots while working in her studio. She is not sure what her fondness of grunge music and teenage angst movies have in common with her current body of work but she is convinced that all will become clear in good time. Wanda graduated from Emily Carr College of Art and Design in 1992 and returned to the Okanagan shortly thereafter. Recent exhibitions include ‘It came from the sky’, Elevation Gallery 2010, ‘Pitching Tents’, Vernon Public Art Gallery 2009 and ‘Stacks and Piles’ Kelowna Art Gallery 2008. Wanda Lock is represented by Elevation Gallery in Canmore, AB The Front Gallery in Edmonton, AB.

Shauna Oddleifson graduated from UBC Okanagan (previously OUC) in 1998 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, graduating with distinction. Since then, Shauna has been involved with the arts community in Kelowna working in galleries as well as volunteering with various organizations and special events. Shauna has a studio practice, both art and craft-based, and has exhibited work throughout the Okanagan as well as in various artist run centres and galleries across Canada. She is on the Board of Directors for Cool Arts and is the Assistant to the Associate Deans Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies at the University of British Columbia Okanagan.

Johann Wessels was born in the small town of Bloemfontein in the center of South Africa. After completing high school and compulsory military service, he earned his BA in Fine Arts majoring in History of Art, Drawing and Printmaking. He was awarded the prize for best art student in his final year. He taught History of Art, Printmaking and Drawing at a number of universities in South Africa before leaving for Canada in 1999 when he settled in Moosejaw, SK for 10 years. In this time he worked in the film and TV industry and was the recipient of a Saskatchewan Arts Board Grant in 2010. He moved to Penticton, BC in 2011.