During this dark, pandemic time, local artist Marlene Kallstrom-Barritt is exploring themes of gratitude.
“Bubbles” of all sizes can be found in her paintings in the Ascending: Colour Captured. Line Anchored. exhibit at the Viewpoint Gallery at the Culture Services Centre.
Like carbonation in a champagne glass, these small, white bubbles appear to be rising upward, like little bursts of gratitude, said the Red Deer artist.
Kallstrom-Barritt explains she’s inspired by the joyous aspect of many landscapes: Sun-splattered mountains can appear to be “bursting into song,” as described in the biblical passage, Isaiah 55:12.
In these moments, the natural world can seem thankful, even when we humans may not be, she added.
Her loose paintings are anchored by drawn ribbons of ink that are similar to the lead in stained glass windows.
In her artist statement, Hallstrom-Barritt describes this style as abstract realism: “It has just enough abstraction to keep me interested and just enough realism to keep me grounded.”
Whenever she paints, she focuses “on patterns and details, such as the fine lines in a flower petal, the serrated edges of a tree leaf, the colours in a piece of granite, or how the frost makes lovely patterns on window glass.”
In her practice, she seeks to capture “whatever is lovely and admirable… It’s my hope that my artwork will add a little joy or peace to someone’s day.”
The retired nurse, who attended Red Deer College’s visual art program, also believes it is necessary to slow down “in these days of hurry up,” and appreciate the details of our environment.
The exhibit continues to Nov. 15. A First Friday reception will be held Nov. 6 from 4 to 6 p.m., with the artist in attendance.
Some refreshments will be served, but visitors are asked to practice social distancing and to wear masks.
As the Kiwanis Gallery in the Red Deer Public Library is closed until December, the city has provided gallery space for this exhibit.