March 16, 2023
Renowned Salt Spring Artist Randolph Parker brings his acclaimed Islands collection home to Ganges' Gallery 8.
RENOWNED SALT SPRING ARTIST RANDLOPH PARKER BRINGS HIS ACCLAIMED ISLANDS COLLECTION HOME TO GANGES’ GALLERY 8
In what is believed to be a first for the art world, Parker’s works feature an ingenious coupling of fine art and GPS technology.
SALT SPRING ISLAND, B.C. – Following successful runs at Mayberry Fine Art in Winnipeg and The Muse art gallery in Kenora, Ont., Canadian landscape artist Randolph Parker will bring 40 paintings from his acclaimed Islands series home to Salt Spring for a two-week exhibition.
The show opens March 31 at Gallery 8 in Grace Point Square (3104 – 115 Fulford Ganges Road) and runs through April 17.
“The Islands project has created more interest, excitement and media attention than we ever imagined, including feature interviews with CBC Winnipeg and CTV National News,” said Winnipeg gallery owner Bill Mayberry, who celebrated 50 years in the art business with the launch of Islands in 2022.
Islands – Lake of the Woods -- a collection of 220 paintings and companion coffee-table book – evolved from an epic, five-year adventure that saw long-time friends Mayberry and Parker travel 2,800 kilometres among the thousands of islands that dot one Canada’s most magnificent lakes. In all, the project was six years in the making and the undertaking of a lifetime for the artist.
Significantly and likely for the first time in the history of landscape painting, Parker tagged each piece in the collection with its own Global Position Satellite (GPS) coordinates. He did the same with the 10 new Salt Spring Island landscapes included in the Gallery 8 Islands show.
For decades, art lovers and artists alike have tried to find the exact locations that have been captured in paintings by prominent Canadian artists, especially the Group of Seven. That previously daunting and frequently impossible quest is entirely possible with Parker’s most recent works.
At 7 p.m. on March 31 and 1:30 p.m. on April 8 at Gallery 8, Parker and Mayberry will talk about their nautical and artistic odyssey on the Northwestern Ontario lake. On both those dates, Parker will sign copies of the Islands book from 1:30 to 4 p.m.
“It’s such a pleasure to be able to exhibit Islands in B.C. in collaboration with Gallery 8 and its owner, Razali May,” Mayberry said. “We’ve now come full circle with this magnificent artwork to be shown within walking distance of Randolph’s studio where he put years of work into making Islands a reality.”
The Gallery 8 exhibition will showcase 40 acrylic paintings – 10 large-scale on canvas and 30 smaller pieces on birchwood panel -- from the Lake of the Woods series, plus Parker’s latest Salt Spring Island landscapes with Mount Maxwell and Mount Erskine among the locales captured in works on panel and canvas. The collection will be available the week of March 20 for viewing online at Salt Spring Island Artists - Art Gallery 8 Salt Spring
“Identifying a painting’s location by its GPS coordinates seems like such a simple idea. It’s staggering that it’s never been done,” said Parker. “But, it is a massive amount of work to keep track of the coordinates. Every number has to be correct.”
The seed of an idea to couple fine art with GPS technology was planted in 2014 when Mayberry and Parker boated to the spot that had inspired British-born artist Walter J. Phillips’ iconic 1928 block print Sunset, Lake of the Woods. Mayberry, a Lake of the Woods cottager for almost 40 years, had first discovered Phillips’ vantage point by chance in 2005 after pondering its likely location for years. As they marked the exact location with their GPS and mused how Phillips might have reacted to this use of technology, ideas began to percolate.
“With no shortage of enthusiasm, we committed to what ultimately evolved into a multi-year art and literary project,” recalled Parker, an outdoor enthusiast who has explored landscapes across Canada by air, land and, now, by boat.
Parker and Mayberry travelled the Ontario-Minnesota lake over several summers, two autumns and one winter. Back at his Salt Spring Island studio, Parker dedicated himself to the most challenging project in his decades-long career.
During the same timeframe, the duo collaborated to create the 230-page coffee table book that showcases the collection, chronicles their nautical journey and explores the storied lake through the lens of historical mapping and art history.
“I have always believed that great things come from placing a gifted artist in the right situation,” Mayberry said.
The entire Lake of the Woods collection can be viewed online Islands – Lake of the Woods. A preview of the book is available online Lake of the Woods Islands - Preview | Mayberry Fine Art Priced at $95, the book can also be purchased online.
Randolph Parker is a nationally recognized landscape painter who grew up in Ontario’s Muskoka region and studied art at Mount Allison and York universities. Salt Spring Island has been his home now for more than 30 years. Randolph Parker | Contemporary Canadian Artist | Mayberry Fine Art
Mayberry Fine Art | Canadian Art Gallery | Winnipeg | Toronto has been helping clients build valuable collections of Canadian art for 50 years. In addition to galleries in Winnipeg and Toronto, their operations include an online and live auction house in partnership with Cowley Abbott, a specialist in that field. Mayberry Fine Art is considered a foremost expert in historical and contemporary Canadian fine art.
Gallery 8 Salt Spring Island Artists - Art Gallery 8 Salt Spring, founded in 2009 by owner Razali May, features both established and emerging Salt Spring and British Columbia artists. Located in downtown Ganges, Gallery 8 also provides opportunities for sought-after artists from across Canada to exhibit their work on Salt Spring Island.