From: EDMONTON JOURNAL, December 21, 2007, page F7
Save the environment, one painting at a time
The Four Outside Views exhibit at the McMullen Gallery is happily doing double duty.
This expansive show of 45 paintings created by four Alberta artists is an energetic attempt to document some of southern Alberta’s most beautiful vistas. It’s also a prime example of art as environmental advocacy.
In particular, show curator and participant Pam Wilman is advocating that the Castle wilderness area (an unprotected stretch of alpine lands abutting southern Alberta’s Crowsnest Pass, roughly the region between Pincher Creek and Waterton Lakes National Park) is designated as a provincial park or given some other form of environmental protection.
“This is all about using art as an educational and advocacy tool,” says the Edmonton painter.
“I’m trying to make people more aware of the wilderness areas in the province as well as underlining how endangered these areas are. Many of the vistas I’m painting no longer exist in the form I’ve shown them because these very fragile areas have been developed.
“Ideally this region — the last major area of the Alberta Rockies that has no protection — should be made into a provincial park. We need to look ahead and make sure we are developing this area properly, which means we make sure that we are leaving in things like wildlife corridors like they did when they were building up around Canmore.”
Wilman’s landscapes are joined by vistas painted by Adeline Rockett, Sophia Podryhula-Shaw and Donna Miller. All four are members of the Alberta Society of
Artists (three are also U of Alumni) and all
have travelled to the Castle region to paint.
Pam Wilman and her artwork Lone Tree
(oil on canvas) at the McMullen Gallery
Wilman and Rockett go there every summer.
This particular exhibit highlights the sublime beauty of this endangered area by showing four different but engaging painterly views of the same landscape.
Rockett says her paintings reflect a loose and personal “emotional response” to these alpine areas as opposed to a photorealistic approach to painting landscapes. One of the reasons the artist takes this more abstracted and impressionist approach to the vista is specifically to make sure that her profound engagement can be shared by viewers of the art.
“This is all about me editing down my images to that feeling of the area, the very emotion you might remember from driving through the area yourself,” she says.
The foursome aim to engage as many Albertans as possible with both the beauty and the environmental message of the art. This McMullen Gallery show is the end of an artistic voyage that has already hit such venues as the Grande Prairie Public Gallery, the Fernie Arts Station, the Lebel Mansion Gallery in Pincher Creek, the Crowsnest Public Art Gallery and Edmonton’s Glenrose Hospital.
Wilman says landscape painting is not just about documenting the pristine and traditionally beautiful. In her attempts to capture the full diversity of the area, the McMullen exhibit features images she created inspired by the sprawling Lost Creek Fire of 2003.
An avid hiker and skier, Wilman paints most of her work outdoors, even when creating large-scale oil paintings.