by Richard Skrobecki and Chandler Swain

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

To complement Mississippi Mills Bicycle Month, General Fine Craft, Art & Design (Almonte’s latest art destination) invited our gallery artists to create work around the theme of bicycles, biking and bike culture. The result is a rich array of various media by 15 artists who have interpreted (to wondrous effect) the history, sport and simple pleasures of pedal-powered transportation.

Approaching the gallery, one is struck by the contrast of a beautiful planter box brimming with flowers contrasted by a birch bark-covered child’s bike (both by Chris Grosset) playfully embedded in it. Looking further into the large bright window behind it are Erin Robertson’s similarly colourful, quirky papier mache/wire sculptures that will not fail to cause a smile.

The front section of the gallery is filled with other wonderful pieces including Jennifer Noxon’s “High and Mighty” painting (possibly the view from atop her own bicycle?) innovatively framed for MMBM, Barbara Mullally’s beautifully cheeky “Bike Critter” brooches in silver and carved bone, and Ingrid Harris’ riding doll “Karl von Drais on Velocipede” which tells the intriguing story of how an 1815 volcanic eruption lead to the invention of the bicycle.

Many of the artists made a series of work for The General. Scott Dickson of Nelson, BC is well-known for his paintings depicting adventure sport cycling in the mountain ranges of his home province. His four ‘biking family’ paintings and limited edition prints are sought after by many sport-bike enthusiasts. Chandler Swain’s love of 19th century imagery led to a series of carved porcelain plates depicting women cycling in period dress. Susan Ukkola uses her layered technique of photo transfer, melted beeswax and paint to create images that emit a happy sense of nostalgia. Lily Swain’s paintings, multi-layered and intricately crafted, transcend time and place to fascinating effect.

At the General we enjoy putting together exhibitions that follow local themes, allowing art to add another perspective to what’s happening in the community. During August’s Puppets-Up! International puppet festival, the gallery will feature “The Art of Puppetry”, showcasing the skills that go into building puppets of many types and from different parts of the world. Stay tuned for other interesting shows and drop in to the gallery to see the work of over 70 artists from across Ontario and Quebec – and the Almonte region too!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

General Fine Craft, Art & Design is located at 63 Mill Street in Almonte.

Visit our website at: www.generalfinecraft.com for gallery info, artist portfolios/biographies and more