Mary Dykstra’s vernissage

Vernissage? See post below.

Danica and I headed over to the Flying Pony early to see Mary Dykstra’s new show of paintings that will be hanging until the 28th. Andrew Horne introduced us to the artist and she shared some of the background leading up to her imaginative evocations of remembered stories.

Danica and Mary Dykstra pose with acrylic paintings on panel.

I always feel hesitant about photographing people in public places and artists’ works, with all the anxiety over privacy and copyright. The slides aren’t intended to give you a proper look at the works themselves … better to visit Mary Dykstra’s website for that. My pictures just offer a look around the Flying Pony, where fresh-baked goodies were served and Jeremiah Hill sang to appreciative listeners. He has a very pleasant, unaffected style.

Andrew Horne’s gallery café provides a relaxed, accessible place for many artists to show, but he’s having none of the sterile, white wall, nothing-but-the-art approach. His growing display of curiosities always gets my attention, so I threw some of them in, for atmosphere.

I enjoyed my response to Dykstra’s work. I hope she sells a lot of them, and she should. They are very reasonably priced in the hundreds of dollars and they will fit comfortably on small wall spaces in downtown houses and condos. Parents might create lifelong memories for their kids, if they let them grow up with one of the paintings.

You don’t stand back to look at Dykstra’s imaginary rooms and landscapes, you enter into them, picking out characters … the organ grinder, the little Dutch girl, Wonder Woman … you find whales splashing in canals and windmills on fire. Dykstra’s heritage is Dutch and she is realizing memories of stories her grandparents told her as a little girl.

The neat thing is, there’s no tight story line. You can make up your own story, and you could keep inventing variations forever. There is a nostalgic feel to many of the images … a 1940s car, for example. Some figures appear in multiple paintings.

Dykstra moves around from dark pictures to lighter ones, but she has a solid, gem-like rendering style that’s quite consistent. Some of the pieces reminded me of enamel work, vivid and shiny. Her imagery is easily recognizable, but not photo realistic.

My favourite piece is the one chosen for the show’s poster… the one with the flying clown head spewing flames. Not only are the colours bright, we get an aerial point of view of a little town, a circus parade on the street below, kids floating in the air. It’s quite an ambitious composition and very engaging.

2 thoughts on “Mary Dykstra’s vernissage

  1. Thank you for the interesting write up Bill. It was so nice meeting you and Danica last night at the opening. Thank you for coming out and sharing your impressions and thoughts. Much appreciated!

    • The pleasure was ours, Mary, and we were pleased to hear from Ali that your sales were good on opening night. We were very glad to have chatted with both you and Ali. Hope we get a chance to do it again, sometime.

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