By Adriana Lademann
Held at the Toast Collective from May 12 to May 21st What Will We Do With These Natural Gifts? features Lauren Everall, Liz Toohey-Wiese, Hailey Gooch , Haley Hunt-Brondwin, Jo Peter, five artists who met during their BFA at Emily Carr and have shown together on several occasions.
A feeling of communion with nature informs the works. Each artist seemed to have an ongoing dialogue with nature, transmuted into art. The Altarium of Offered Truths, 2016 by Lauren Everall takes up the front window of the Toast and invites you right through the gates to connect with nature. The installation includes ferns and dirt surrounding a sculpture with plaster hands holding quartz – a stone for communication. She offers up this altar for the audience to hear their own truths.
Liz Toohey-Wiese’s paintings really stood out, the colours were stunning and bright with a smart use of dark colours to balance and hold the painting together. I stood in front of them for a long time, excited by her ability to capture the spirit of the forest in the paintings with confident brushstrokes.
I spoke to several of the artists, and it was interesting to me how each one spoke of their connection to each other. Apparently a year can go by without communication between them, but they pull it together and create works that speak to each other. The link to one another seems important to note with regards to the themes of separation on disconnection and connection in the exhibition – a gift. It will be interesting to see the progression in their next show together.