Extraordinary steel sculptures on a nuclear theme at Centre 64

Review of Atomic Rays and Scattered Light exhibition at Centre 64

The current exhibition in the main gallery at Centre 64, which opened July 3 and runs to July 28, is really two complementary exhibitions with a partially overlapping theme. That theme is war, nuclear war, although when you first walk into the gallery and get your first glimpse of the sculptures and the majority of the paintings the theme is not immediately evident, such is the beauty of the artwork.

Atomic Rays is an exhibition of 13 steel sculptures by Salmo artist Howard Roo. Each symbolizes nuclear war by the inclusion of such iconic symbols as the Doomsday Clock, the ruins of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, doves of peace, or atomic clouds which he created by ionizing water to produce steam. Howard commenced his career as a sculptor in steel just 5 years ago, having spent his previous years building steel gates and fences. He slowly became an anti-nuclear activist after reading and studying about the effects of the atomic bombs on Japan in World War 2, the years of the Cold War, and the continued stockpiling of nuclear weapons to this day. Dissatisfied with his ability to explain himself in words, he spent the past 3 years using his craft as a worker of steel to express his ideas in sculptural artforms.

Although war is ugly, Roos’ sculptures are beautiful. They are balanced compositions of intricate, intertwining forms, arrived at inspirationally by the artist who does not draw plans to work from. So fascinating are the designs that this viewer found it difficult to absorb the somber message of the war symbols they contained, entranced as I was by the beautiful designs of the sculptures.

The free standing sculptures on plinths or on the floor are backed up by the colourful, paintings on the walls by another Salmo artist, Tova Main. The title of her display, Scattered Light, refers to the qualities of light she explores in her acrylic landscape canvases which fill three of the gallery walls and an easel or two. But four canvases that hang on the fourth wall in the raised alcove are of a much different, much darker mood. Each depicts a word and an image that symbolize war. Working with Howard Roo in 2015 she was infected by his passion in what he believes and so developed the four paintings in relationship to Howard’s work. Perhaps the most telling image is of a scorpion, the only creature to have survived a nuclear test explosion in the USA.

These four paintings are in stark contrast to her newer landscape paintings, counterbalancing the destruction of war with images of things that endure. Says Tova, “Art is the capturing of light” and that is what her paintings do, particularly an imaginary landscape in moonlight with a solitary figure that greets visitors as they enter the gallery.

While Main and Roo exhibit their work mainly in and around Salmo, this exhibition will again be displayed in Cranbrook in October. Before then, work by both artists can be seen in a group exhibition in the old schoolhouse at Ymir during the Columbia Basin Culture Tour in September. However, given the space provided in Kimberley’s beautiful gallery in Centre 64, this may well be the best place to view this unique exhibition.

The gallery is open from 1 to 5 each Tuesday through Saturday afternoon and admission is free.

Mike Redfern

 

Just Posted

Parmedics union raises alarm over spike in out-of-service ambulances

Staffing shortages affecting service levels in Kootenays

Summer theatre returns to Centre 64

Kimberley Summer Playhouse kicks off their season this June.

Entrepreneurs of the future

Submitted by Aleata Harty-Blank Kimberley’s Spark Youth Centre gives all youth the… Continue reading

Kimberley Health Care Auxiliary looking for donations

Renovations at the Thrift Store on Howard Street are complete; store is open and donations accepted.

Healthy Kimberley Food Waste Recovery Depot now open to the public

Food bank, school meal programs and other community groups will continue to have access to the program.

Five highlights in the 2019 federal budget

Latest budget includes a sprinkling of money for voters across a wide spectrum

Facebook to overhaul ad targeting to prevent discrimination

The company is also paying about $5 million to cover plaintiffs’ legal fees and other costs

B.C. mosque part of open-house effort launched in wake of New Zealand shootings

The ‘Visit a Mosque’ campaign aims to combat Islamophobia

‘That’s a load of crap’: Dog poop conspiracy spreads in White Rock

Allegation picked up steam through a Facebook page run by a city councillor

Explosives unit brought in after suspicious boxes left at B.C. RCMP detachment

Nanaimo RCMP issues all clear after packages were found on lawn earlier in the day

Avalanche control tomorrow on Highway 1

Expect closures of up to two hours east of Revelstoke

Newfoundland man caught after posting photo of himself drinking and driving

The 19-year-old took a photo of himself holding a beer bottle and cigarette while at the wheel

2019 BUDGET: As deficit grows, feds spend on job retraining, home incentives

Stronger economy last year delivered unexpected revenue bump of an extra $27.8 billion over six years

Carfentanil found in 15% of overdose deaths in January: B.C. coroner

Carfentanil is 100 times more powerful than illicit fentanyl and used to tranquilize elephants

Most Read