Refined reminiscence

Local artist Liz Dalton recreates century-old Kingston photographs

Nassim Soleimanpour
Nassim Soleimanpour
The large brushstrokes used by Dalton in her pieces help to depict the theme of memory.
The large brushstrokes used by Dalton in her pieces help to depict the theme of memory.

Had I known the artful power of a brushstroke could be so calming, I would have made my way to an art gallery in Kingston sooner.

The bright vibrant blue and green oils on canvas caught my eyes and brought the otherwise dull white walls of the Kingston Glass Studio and Gallery to life.

Calling Tramp Royal, Kingston Harbour, a painting which was part of the exhibit Reminiscence, depicted serenity through the juxtaposition of the sea blues and gradients of greens.

But the colours themselves were far from the simplicity of the subject of the painting — a single sailboat.

Upon reading Liz Dalton’s artist statement, I found that the exhibit demonstrates one of life’s complicated realities — the ever-changing nature of memories. Initially a family history project, Dalton’s piece allows her to channel her views on her memories.

The paintings, reworked versions of Queen’s Archives photographs of the Kingston Harbour at the turn of the 20th century, were an interesting way to connect the idea of history to personal memories.

Small versions of each original photo sit on the wall next to each of the renewed paintings, but both versions depict an identical scene. The only thing that changes is the colouring — from black and white prints in the originals to vibrant hues.

Another interesting piece entitled Verona at Rest shows two human silhouettes on a boat engulfed by a fiery red sky. The strong colour choice could have easily given me an angry, anxious feeling, but instead moved along with the theme of the rest of the exhibit. The large brushstrokes used in Dalton’s pieces were sweeping showings of movement in her work that was reflected in her message of memory.

A part of Reminiscence is glasswork by Paul Smits. Although lacking the memory-laden meaning, the pieces on display are just as colourfully enticing as Dalton’s paintings.

Smits exhibits both glass pendant jewelry and a variety of plates and bowls.

Taking a group of thin-coloured glass tubes, Smits cut them into small pieces and melted them together in a kiln to shape them. The result is a mosaic of blue and green glass in bowl form that looks like a concave globe.

Piecing together Dalton and Smits’ work for one show seemed puzzling to me, as only Dalton truly references the Reminiscence title in her work.

I left the exhibit with that same sense of calmness that I was given in my first few steps taken in the gallery.

Reminiscence will be at the Kingston Glass Studio and Gallery until Nov. 1.

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