Monday, November 2, 2015

Felted portrait of Dame Mailarta

"Dame Mailarta"
Needle felted wool, foamcore
24" x 24" — 2015

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

In Cahoots (Synergy), Slide Room Gallery, Victoria, British Columbia, CANADA

Needle felted wool and ink drawing, gesso
A collaborative work with artist John Harris

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Jar Show, Courtenay, British Columbia, Canada

Thanks to artist Jeff Hartbower for curating another interesting show this one to challenge each artist to work with inner space of jars.

"Mama Moai" - needle felted wool

Sunday, August 23, 2015

About Face, Martin Batchelor Gallery, Victoria, British Columbia, CANADA

There is a community of artists in Victoria who aren’t seen in commercial galleries, are not employed by the University of Victoria and yet have been creative workers of considerable skill in our city for many years.
Martin Batchelor’s eponymous gallery is a place to which many of them gravitate, for, unlike other galleries, his space can simply be rented by the exhibitors. Yet each year, Batchelor likes to do a bit of community outreach, to invite artists through an open call to exhibit in a themed show. This year the theme is “Selfies,” and the triple-hung show offers self-portraits by almost 100 artists.
The show has been curated by Martin Batchelor and Efren Qiroz with artist Irma Soltonavich. Though not an artist himself, Qiroz is the man behind the remarkable website With no commercial or institutional support, Qiroz has made it his personal project to record the art life of Victoria and, to date, has posted more than 1,800 videos on YouTube.
When he announced the Selfies show on Facebook, with a $10 entry fee and no jury, the results were instantaneous. And everything was hung. The opening last week was packed, testament to the solid interest the show has tapped into.
There is often resistance among artists to thematic shows, but since the theme was the artist herself or himself, everybody wanted to participate.
“At first, they swore that they never had made a portrait of themselves,” Qiroz said with a laugh, “and had never made a selfie.” Though many people disparage selfies, everyone seems to be doing it.
Many media and a wide variety of approaches are on show.
Arlene Nesbitt, a photographer, caught herself in a reflective moment amid the miscellanea that is her usual subject matter. Marion Evamy, the principal of Red Art Gallery in Oak Bay, sent in a beautiful painted panel that began as a photo on her cellphone, was Photoshopped into a schizoid vision and was then painted with her typical vivacious colours. Appropriately, her signature is spelled ME.
Odette Laroche brought three tiny oils. My favourite shows her as Cleopatra, with a diadem and a smirky grin I just can’t forget.
Another wonderful painter, the talented Dawn Pearcy, brought a superb little painting of herself (with barnacles on her shoulders, pine cones in her hair and a touch of gold leaf for flash). She also brought two others, of her in disguise! At $200 these gems are hard to resist.
Richard Motchman, whose work I have followed for at least 25 years, is an accomplished painter of faces, and for this show he made a forceful self-portrait, which, in his usual style, is set like an altarpiece behind two hinged doors. The outer and the inner man are not the same, of course.
So many artists. Angela Montanti is one I met when she was artist in residence at Monterey Elementary School in Oak Bay. Good artist, no gallery.
Another who seems in the same boat is Nicholas Vandergugten, a singularly talented linocut artist. His stunning images of the Johnson Street Bridge, seen at Bean Around the World Café years ago, are the defining image of that structure. Rumour has it he is preparing another show soon.
In my tour of the room, I noted my tendency to favour the representational portraits over the many and varied expressive abstractions that stood in for a face. Jesi Barron is a senior citizen but her “selfie” is a vigorous oil in the traditional representational style, and perfectly portrays this well-loved artist. It occurred to me that a strong selection could be made from this show if we ever decide to create a local version of the National Portrait Gallery.
The finest of all is surely Dale Roberts’ felted portrait of himself as Mailarta, the mail art queen. You might expect that his very personal imagery and unusual medium would make it hard for him to find an audience, but Roberts has been working at a high level as an artist, apparently undeterred by thoughts of what some audience might require.
He communicates joyously through the mail with thousands of people worldwide. While his medium of felting — fibres coloured and matted together, and embellished with a bit of needlework in this case — may be a hard sell in the cutthroat gallery world, Roberts works with love and finesse.
Roberts’ self-portrait (in a mail carrier’s hat) stands out in a strong field. If there was any justice in such things (which there isn’t, by the way) this piece would be purchased by the City of Victoria as an important component of its gallery of notable citizens.

“Selfies” — self-portraits at the Martin Batchelor Gallery, 712 Cormorant St., 250-385-7919, open Monday to Saturday, until Aug. 27.

© Copyright Times Colonist - See more at:

"Dame Mailarta"
Needle felted wool
16" x 18"

Monday, July 27, 2015

"Lacey Boy" Chair, Habitat for Humanity, Victoria, BC

Lacey Boy Chair
Assemblage, with crochet and needle felting, stencilling
"Take a Seat for Habitat" The chair will be auctioned off to celebrate the Grand Opening of their new ReStore. Reimagined from a plain wooden chair. 100% money goes toward current build.

The chair before . . .

Monday, April 20, 2015

Dame Edna, Needle Felted Wool

24" x 24" — 2015
Needle felted wool, insulation foam

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Rrose Sélavy, Needle felted wool

Rrose Sélavy 
Portrait of Marcel Duchamp based on a photo by Man Ray
24" x 24"
Needle felted wool

Friday, March 6, 2015

rupaul - needle felted wool portrait

Portrait of RuPaul
Needle felted wool, styrofoam
24" x 24" — 2015

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Otsuta, Needle felted wool portrait

Needle felted wool
24" x 24"

(based on woodblock print by artist Masamitsu Ota (1892-1975) of actor Kitamura Ryokuro - 1949)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Captain Canuck, Needle felted wool sculpture

Captain Canuck
Needle felted wool
24" x 18" x 28"(H) — 2015

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Needle felted portrait series

"Aunt Minnie"
24" x 24"
Needle felted wool

"Mathu Andersen"
24" x 24"
Needle felted wool