Local sculptor Dawn Detarando imagines thoughts buzzing around her head like honey bees.
Wood-turning artist Andrew Glazebrook, of Innisfail, sees himself as a DNA-like strand, linked to his wife and children.
Self-portraits are stretched in imaginative directions in the latest group show by eight local artists at the Viewpoint Gallery in the City of Red Deer’s Culture Services Centre. Some of the works not only suggest how the artists see themselves, but how the world might perceive them.
For instance, photographer Arto Djerdjerian gives us three self-portraits, stacked together like pages in a note pad, within a broken frame.
The top digital photo is a silhouette of Djerdjerian wearing his trademark bowler hat — which is how he appears to the people he meets. Beneath are more intimate photographs presenting him in ways the world doesn’t usually see, including one of the artist with a soulful expression, his long white hair loose around his shoulders instead tied back in a ponytail.
Red Deer painter Erin Boake, whose daughter was born a year ago, has admittedly had motherhood on her mind lately.
She drew a detailed likeness of herself with blue and black coloured pencils on a wooden board. Flowers and foliage sprout from the top of her head. Boake explained, “It’s about the joy of creating something that grows from the ground up, like a forest floor, the circle of life …”
While the artist believes it’s challenging to be objective about one’s own appearance, she was also thinking about how human biology is interwoven with our environments “in terms of who we are and who we become as we grow and age.”
There are several other recognizable self-portraits, including that of ceramicist Dawn Candy, who drew herself with glaze on wall tiles, and of Darren Petersen, who created an oil portrait of himself that so reminded him of his dad he called it My Father’s Son.
Detarando created a honeycomb-ed three-dimensional bust that reflects her concern for the plight of bees, including the loss of a couple of swarms on her property.
Her husband, Brian McArthur, created two detailed porcelain sculptures of himself, including one as a naked boy, running under a giant goose mascot in Goose Bay II. Besides bringing Greek mythology to mind, the sculpture could be about his affinity for Canada geese, suggests McArthur, who raised them as a child. Or “perhaps I am just cloaking myself … like a strange superhero.”
Ceramicist Shirley Rimer contributed two symbolic works. In one, she portrays herself as a contented tiny figure, watching the stars from the roof of her “safe” home. The other is suggestive of her light-hearted personality.
Glazebrook believes self-portraits should make a statement about where artists are at a particular point in their lives.
“I am always juggling family life and my work,” he said, so he decided to make an “acrobatic” piece that reflects this.
Since the wood-turning artist couldn’t see himself without his family, his abstract sculpture uses different kinds of steam-bent wood to represent each member — himself, his wife, and their three children.
The lathe-turned figures were then pinned together to create a delicately balanced family tree “that might look precarious, but is strong.”
The self-portrait exhibit continues through September at the gallery at 3827-39 St. It’s open from Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (closed noon to 1 p.m.)