Great review!

VISUAL VIEWPOINTS: Leya Evelyn’s thoughtful, entrancing abstracts yield layers of meaning

ELISSA BARNARD ARTS REPORTER | VISUAL VIEWPOINTS
Published October 16, 2014 – 5:31pm

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It Happens There 5, by Leya Evelyn, is in her exhibit, Impossible Possibilities, at Secord Gallery, Halifax.
It’s a tonic for the fast-paced, careless interactions of the world to stand alone in a room with Leya Evelyn’s beautiful, sonorous paintings.
These fine abstract paintings exist unto themselves. They don’t need you, but you need them.
Evelyn’s exhibit, Impossible Possibilities, at Secord Gallery, 6301 Quinpool Rd., Halifax, to next Friday, is a major show in quantity and quality.
These intelligent, deeply worked abstracts in reds, blues, oranges, yellows and snowy white feature Evelyn’s hallmark saturated colours, scrawls, geometric shapes, spinning lines and textures.
However, there is more subtlety, more elegance and a dramatic vertical movement that opens up the world.
You are drawn to the edges, which are little masterpieces in themselves of colour, collage and shape. You are led to the interiors. You are called upon to stop and listen.
A purple base is shattered by a deep cherry-red vertical gash. A snowy
Evelyn was born in Washington, D.C., educated at Brown and Yale universities and moved to Nova Scotia in the early 1980s. She has exhibited extensively in Canada, the United States and Europe.

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Pictures from the exhibition

A few photos from my current exhibit at the Secord Gallery in Halifax.

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More dog-eared thoughts

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The past few months have seemed like years: time has been elongated without Lila. At first I didn’t know what to do with all those hours I had spent with her every day, walking, playing, cooking, caring. She was never a healthy dog, yet very high spirited and challenging, both of which I enjoyed.

I soon realized I could paint all day. I had trained Lila to be alone in the morning while I was in my studio. But now I had all my hours to do anything but be with her. So I worked twice as much for a few months. Then, of course, I got sick. Just the flu or a bad cold, but I lay on the couch for two weeks, read, slept, coughed, watched (very) old movies and slept some more. It took another week to recover completely.

At the end of my three week horizontal stint, I had an exhibit at the Secord Gallery here in Halifax (opened October 3). By then I was fine, stood for three hours and talked to the many people at the show. But mostly, now, I feel more at peace, have become more comfortable with Lila being gone. I will always miss her, I know. But I also know I can never have her warm body here again, and, sadly, that’s the irony of falling in love with a dog.

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Lila

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Born November 10, 2005; Died June 23, 2014

She was such an important part of my life for the past eight years.  I miss her strong-willed intelligence, her playful nature, her curiosity and constant need for something new to discover.  It is quiet around her now.

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Bad joke!

Tulips

 

Mother Nature, or should I say Climate Change, played a mean trick on the Maritimes today. Snow, ice pellets, snow, blowing snow and cold. Haven’t we had enough of it this year! After all, it is April.

My mother used to play the same trick on my father every year: put salt in the sugar bowl. She loved watching his reaction, spewing his mouthful of coffee over the breakfast table. It was funny, sort of, but I don’t know why she did it. What it makes me realize is that I didn’t know that side of her very much. But then, those were the times.   But better than snowstorms in April.

So what do I do on a not very nice snowy day, housebound? This morning I was painting in my studio of course, this afternoon painting the stairwell down to my studio (one more wall to go!), and then later drawing the tulips a friend brought me last week. It is so relaxing to draw. No pressure, no fumes, like a quiet meditation.

When I was listening to the radio this morning (not sure if it was on the Current or Q, but I think it was The Current, where they have been featuring a series on Project Money), they were talking about how governments, banks, and such, are selling off their art collections to raise money for themselves, even if the art was donated. And most of it has never been seen by the public. One interviewee commented that this was a foolish policy, at a time when more people go to art museums (for entertainment) than to sports events. These institutions will never get the true value of the work because the wealthy collectors are looking for what is new and trendy, not for the classic artists, like Miro or Bellini. He also, astutely, said “the value of art is how it makes us feel and think, not in how much it costs.” Perfect!

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Taking off the Panti

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Panti did say the costumes she wears allow her to be more forthright, to say things she might not as Rory. Having always been rather shy publicly, I started thinking about what mask I might wear. Probably I do it through painting. The paintings say more than I ever could. I’m just catching up with them. My paintings are not so shy anymore, nor am I.

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More Panti

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At the end of the question period, after her talk, Panti was musing on how, with the changes in cultural and social structures regarding LGBT rights, everyone is going to be the same. We will be a homogenous culture. When she first discovered she was homosexual and there were other homosexuals out there as well, she felt so liberated, free, like she could do anything she wanted. Now everyone seems to want marriage a and babies and a mortgage. The price we pay for being fair!

But seriously, there will always be rebels, no matter what. That’s why we have the arts!>

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