Nova Scotia

International works hang at Inverness arts centre's first juried show

The Inverness County Centre for the Arts launched two shows on Saturday, including a first-ever juried exhibit of international works in the main gallery and local pieces by members in the outer galleries.

Artwork from Canada, U.S. and Europe chosen by former Art Gallery of NS curator Ray Cronin

Page Simon, curator for the Small Treasures exhibit at the Inverness Centre for the Arts, says the show attracted hundreds of entries, in part because of the prestige associated with the juror, Ray Cronin. (CBC)

The Inverness County Centre for the Arts was packed on Saturday for the opening of two exhibits, including the centre's first ever juried art show.

One is called Hands Dancing, which showcases the centre's members who submitted a variety of pieces that are hung in the outer galleries.

The other is Small Treasures, featuring international works under 30 centimetres in any dimension. The main gallery is covered with paintings, small sculptures and videos, among other media, created by professional and amateur artists from across Canada, the United States and Europe. They were selected from hundreds of entries by jurist Ray Cronin, a former curator of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.

Page Simon, the centre's curator for Small Treasures, said the main attraction was designed to show small works together for aesthetic and practical reasons.

The main gallery was packed with artists and their family and friends, as well as aficionados, for the launch of Small Treasures on Saturday. (CBC)

"Small pieces displayed together, not being overwhelmed by larger pieces, hold their own better," she said. "People do beautiful small works, and they often get lost in big exhibitions, so it makes a nice kind of coherent exhibition.

"And also, when you're doing a juried show that's international, it means that it's easier for people to ship pieces, and it also means that you can get more pieces into a space."

One work is made from pieces of woven metal from the iconic copper roof of the Château Frontenac hotel in Quebec City.

There's an interesting coincidental pair of tiny paintings inside plastic bottle caps by Inguna Gremzde of Riga, Latvia — and paintings inside metal beer bottle caps done by local artist Sarah Rankin of Mabou.

The show also includes some whimsical and interesting pieces mounted on displays in the middle of the main gallery.

Simon said the juried show is important for local artists to gain recognition for their work and for artists who want to add to their resume for academic reasons or to make their work more attractive to other galleries.

"It is a prestigious show, not because that many people worldwide know about the Inverness County arts centre, but because we have a very well-known juror," she said. "So being picked for the show by Ray Cronin is a big feather in one's cap."

Ray Cronin, former curator for the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, says he was impressed with the quality of entries and with the curation of the Small Treasures show at the Inverness County Centre for the Arts. (CBC)

Having two shows on display at the same time provides a contrast and a conversation for local artists and for aficionados, Simon said.

"I think both shows are a lot of fun and interesting and well worth the trip to Inverness," she said.

The Hands Dancing and Small Treasures exhibits are on display until July 29.

With files from Mainstreet Cape Breton