Curated by Rod Taylor
Heritage homes and buildings are a significant part of Nelson’s cultural identity, and if you’ve spent much time walking around Nelson, chances are you’ll recognize more than a few of the houses depicted in the paintings you see here. These paintings could certainly be appreciated in another town or city, but that familiarity, that particular Nelson-ness adds a resonance and connection that would be missing elsewhere. These are portraits in the truest sense, but the sitters in this case are typically houses, not people. There is no morality or judgment here; these bright and lively paintings present an idyllic view of Nelson’s residential heritage, and document Carol’s vision as she walks our city’s neighbourhoods.
Avoiding any narrative, the paintings seem to prefer a stillness that doesn’t often suggest the immediate presence of people. Rather than naturalistic concerns with light and realism, the focus in these paintings tends towards formal concerns of colour selection, texture and composition. This can be seen in areas of flattened colour in a lawn or the side of a house verge on abstraction at times in a way could be seen as reminiscent of artists such as Richard Diebenkorn or David Hockney. These areas contrast with repetitive elements such as fences, siding or leaves. Coupled with strong diagonals, these elements combine to impart a sense of quiet movement and rhythm, and at times provide a certain dynamic compositional tension.
I’ve known Carol for several years now. Over time, it has been a pleasure to get to know her, and witness her development as an artist, as well as her growing connection to the community. Carol Reynolds is a regional painter in the best sense of the term. The unaffected pleasure that she finds in being a Nelson resident is evident in her work and comes through clearly to anyone who shares that enjoyment. In that sense, her paintings speak a language that transcends our region, although they are intrinsically rooted in it.
The Garden Diva
This show just wanted to happen. Living in Nelson is wonderful. I needed to express my feelings for what I see in my paintings. As I walk past all the old heritage homes I think about all their stories. What babies were born in them? Who lived and died in them? How many Christmas dinners were shared? Everyone had to rake leaves and shovel snow. Most people had gardens. There must be so many memories. To me, each house is like a box full of stories. And today people are still living their own stories. I see the pride they have in their homes. And I see the care. There are always people working – painting, cleaning, gardening. I love all the colours. And I love how the big old trees seem to mingle with the houses giving shade in the summer and all those beautiful leaves in the fall.
I take photos when I walk and work from them in the comfort of my studio. I think about light and shadow, lines and shapes, and colour. I paint almost every day. I work in oils. This collection of paintings has taken me two years to complete. I’m sure I could keep going for another two years. There are so many paintings waiting to happen. But it was time to hang the show.
Welcome to Painting the Town. Thank you for coming.