'Wonder' is one part of Barbara Maye's multimedia exhibition currently showing at Studio Connexion in Nakusp.

Pigment of the imagination: Maye finds new ground

In stone and paint, Barbara Maye has re-grounded herself in “Pigment.” And if life imitates art, her life is also falling into balance.

In stone and paint, Barbara Maye has re-grounded herself in “Pigment.” And if life imitates art, or they at least run parallel, her life is also falling into balance.

The artist made the move to Revelstoke recently, and has returned to Nakusp to mount “Pigment,” a show of both her painting and sculptural work at Studio Connexion. Not only has her life become more grounded, like stone, but more balanced, like exhibiting in more than one medium: when I spoke to Maye she had found a deep peace in her decision to let go of the stress and hustle of pushing for gallery shows and instead embrace the security of a steady pay check while continuing to create afterhours.

In this show, she moved between carving stone and then painting the forms and colours of her sculptures, a solid mix of the very concrete and the more abstract. Although the stone is a very tangible, weighty medium, the shapes carved into each piece are abstract. And although the paintings are clearly of the carvings, their forms and colours create canvasses of abstract images that stand on their own.

Unlike previous shows, she has embraced a wider array of colours in her painting, something that progressed during the process. While initial paintings stick to more monochromatic palates, the colours open up as time went on, and in the final canvas she painted, there is a fantastic mixture of hues and textures that give a very different, joyous feeling to its stone portrait.

“I’m not going to stop creating, but I’m not pursuing it like it’s all I’m doing,” Maye told the Arrow Lakes News, as this may be the last gallery show she’ll be mounting for a while. “I just want a little bit of stability in terms of income.”

The artist welcomes a return to the regular nine-to-five world as an opportunity to reconnect with everyday life, something she sees she’s had the privilege to be able to take a break from. Many artists struggle with the same thing, the balance between working to sustain day-to-day living and having the energy and inspiration to create. It’s a chance to seek a point of equilibrium and be “less obsessive,” said Maye. Still, she promises to continue to explore the connection between art and life, and makes no promises that there will be no shows.

The multi-media-savvy artist is continuing to teach in Nakusp and Revelstoke, so keep your eyes peeled for her posters. “Pigment” is showing at Studio Connexion in Nakusp (203 5th Ave.) Sept. 27 to Oct. 12 with the opening reception held on Friday, Sept. 27 between 5-8 p.m.

 

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