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Local artist makes key connection

Sabine Schneider is the Community Experience Manager here at the Art Gallery of Grande Prairie. Congratulations on your exhibition Sabine!

Local artist makes key connection
By Diana Rinne of the Daily Herald-Tribune

There are those with whom we connect instantly. Grande Prairie’s Sabine Schneider had such a moment of recognition a few years ago when she met Red Deer artist Glynis Wilson Boultbee at an expressive arts course in Edmonton

“While we were working together, I was personally prompted by an artefact that she had brought, that she had made, a little book,” said Schneider.

That moment unfolded into a relationship between the two artists that recently culminated in the exhibit Soul Sisters: A Journey to the Hearth, now on exhibit at the Harris-Warke Gallery in Red Deer.

It was during the course in Edmonton that Schneider and Boultbee began to explore their artistic connection, doing some collaborative work with clay in which one artist would begin a piece and the other would finish it.

“For me, clay holds memory,” said Schneider. “There are some things that, through the sense of touch – and probably through this ephemeral experience – something occurred that I wasn’t aware of.”

The duo recognized that they responded to each others way of making art during the course, but once it was complete they said their goodbyes, she said.

When the Prairie Gallery held it’s grand opening at the Montrose Cultural Centre two years ago, Schneider, the gallery’s community experience manager, had the chance to invite Boultbee to be a part of the celebrations

“We were looking for somebody who does socially relevant art projects,” said Schneider. Boultbee, who is also a poet fit the bill, giving her a chance to come to Grande Prairie and see some of Schneider’s work in person.

“We have a sensibility for material in common,” said Schneider.

A friendship was forged and the duo decided to explore that friendship by making art together.

They met for six weekends – as schedules would allow – and explored the concept of ‘soul sisters’ using an expressive arts approach which “invites the exploration of process rather than product.”

The exhibit chronicles their journey from that first meeting in 2009 with artefacts and artwork created during those weekend adventures.

Works range from clay to paintings to woven pieces.

“We embraced a way of making art that doesn’t demand a high level of skill. We were mostly concerned with what was emerging and what needed to be expressed rather than creating aesthetically or technically complex work,” she explained.

The journey they took is evident in the works, none of which is identified as being created by a particular artist.

Schneider notes an early collaborative piece in which the artists used simple materials such as craft paper, ink and gesso. “…we really noticed that we were really careful, that we didn’t want to cross any boundaries, that we yet had to negotiate what they were for each of us,” she said.

By the end of the process, the duo returned to working with clay and a conversation they had about universal patterns.

“We kind of took that from the above perspective and put things together the way we wanted to share them with the public without really editing – just leaving the things as they emerged. It’s quite honest and authentic. It’s an exhibit without pretending, it is as it is,” she said.

As part of the show there is also a place in the exhibit where the audience can reflect and respond to the work.

While Schneider is unsure if the show will come to Grande Prairie, she said she and Wilson Boultbee are considering starting a website.

“We feel quite encouraged at the moment,” she said.

Soul Sisters: A Journey to the Hearth will be at the Harris-Warke Gallery in Red Deer until Sept. 10.

View article on Daily Herald-Tribune’s website.

View “Exhibit delves into the heart of a deepening friendship” article from Red Deer Express.