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Art exhibit focuses on the over-packaging being left behind for the next generation

Strasbourg-Thompson and Holland secure new studio space amid their show
Barry Strasbourg-Thompson and Gail Holland with pieces featured in the Mayday For My Children art exhibit. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Before they even finished their Mayday For My Children art show at the St. Joseph’s Art Studio Gallery, Barry Strasbourg-Thompson and Gail Holland confirmed a new studio space in Saltair.

The new fine artworks exhibit ran March 27 through April 3. Midway between those dates, Strasbourg-Thompson announced he and Holland had finalized lease arrangements March 31 and started moving in the next day to a 1,750 square foot space at 10519 Knight Rd. near the Saltair Pub.

“Saltair Art Studio will offer contemporary fine art, fine art studio commissions, expert fine art classes, expertly designed picture framing and a unique fine art gallery,” pointed out Strasbourg-Thompson.

The move has been necessitated by the eventual takeover of the St. Joseph’s site by the Cowichan Valley Intentional Recovery Community Society, still tentatively scheduled to take effect at the end of June. Strasbourg-Thompson, Holland and the other artists in the building have been actively pursuing other locations in anticipation of the changeover.

There’s a chance the deadline could be extended, but Strasbourg-Thompson and Holland didn’t want to wait until the last minute and are pleased their alternative arrangements came to fruition.

The two artists provided plenty of food for thought and reflection with their latest exhibit.

“Everything in here is to do with that mayday theme,” said Holland. “It started Saturday night (March 27). We had a good little opening, lots of people and lots of interesting conversations.”

All her works, “even all the little ones,” she said, “they’ve all been done in the last little while.”

Holland’s art is all done with acrylic on canvas and some with silver leaf. “Sometimes I do acrylic on wood,” she added.

The show’s theme focused on the creative reusing of materials.

One particular piece by Strasbourg-Thompson was exemplary, done with acrylic on 24 karat gold leaf. It incorporated two B.C. license plates, a May 2019 sticker, two license plate holders, eight metal bolts, 19 wooden letters, powdered pigment, gel and molding paste mediums, a 1/4 inch wooden sub panel, metal screws and a pushpin on a 36x36x2 inch canvas.

“The inspiration is basically thinking of the over-packaging we do and leave it for our kids,” said Strasbourg-Thompson

A sign at the exhibit explained the concept further, under the heading Sustainability, Fear and Greed: “As I live my daily life and see the over-packaging that permeates my culture today and the waste that occurs as an after-product, I ask myself ‘How sustainable is this?’ ‘How can I change my habits and demand less packaging?’”

Some great work in that area has been done by Ontario College of Art & Design University in Toronto, one of the best art schools in the country, through its new president Ana Serrano, Strasbourg-Thompson pointed out.

“We need to train future designers and artists to work with and make these changes,” he said. “Let’s be the voice we have the mandate to be.”

Strasbourg-Thompson said all his paintings for display and sale at the exhibit were done in the last six months.

“I’m always working, there’s always a lot of work going on,” he said.

Strasbourg-Thompson continues to conduct regular classes as well for art students. “I teach them to be their authentic selves rather than their commercial selves,” he indicated.

“Art and life are supposed to be the same word. We get away from teaching art to teaching people how to make a living with it.”

Strasbourg-Thompson’ s busy exhibit schedule the rest of the year includes an ongoing connection with Rainforest Arts in Chemainus and Arts On The Avenue in Ladysmith Sunday, Aug. 28. He’ll also be joining Holland again for a show at In The Beantime in Ladysmith Sept. 1-Oct. 15 and at the Cowichan Community Centre in Duncan in November.


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Gail Holland with art featured in the Mayday For My children art exhibit. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Lots of ingenuity went into this Mayday piece by Barry Strasbourg-Thompson. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Don Bodger

About the Author: Don Bodger

I've been a part of the newspaper industry since 1980 when I began on a part-time basis covering sports for the Ladysmith-Chemainus Chronicle.
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