Visually stimulating and original sounds - Young artists combine two loves in unique display
Friday's cover by Cathy Callaghan, news staff reporter. The Daily News, Friday, Aug. 21, 1987.
Truro - Dim lights and inspirational music set the scene for An Episode Of Sparrows - an artistic group of Truro youths who recently presented an uplifting exhibit at the Colchester-East Hants Regional Library.
The exhibit does not follow a theme, nor does it try to make a statement.
The works of art, ranging from oil paintings, stained glass works, assemblages and ink drawings are as different as the backgrounds and personalities of the artists who created them.
The group got together more than a year ago after realizing how much they had in common in the areas of both art and music.
Taking the name An Episode Of Sparrows from a book title, the young artists held their first show in August of 1986 and have been extremely pleased with the public support and feedback their work has received.
However, audiences are not only exposed to the artistic talent and visual stimulation of the work but also the unique and original sounds of music performed and produced by the group on audio tape.
Both forms combine to create an enthralling atmosphere in which even the most untrained art lover can enjoy each piece of art and derive impressions from them.
Members of the group are Gary Ayres, Bill Davison, Greg Denton, Stuart Dunphy, Mark Hamilton and Joanne Hatfield.
Gary Ayres, whose work at the exhibit includes paintings, assemblages, and stained glass work, began to paint seriously in 1979 following a year's travel in India.
Mr. Ayres, 30, said the influence of eastern imagery shows in his first paintings, although he later developed an interest in 20th Century abstract painting.
"This influence continues and I consider myself an abstract painter for the most part."
The Dumfries, Scotland native said he learned stained glass work while taking classes at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax. Musically, he plays the flute and plays mainly for his own amusement.
Next year Mr. Ayres will be returning to Scotland and hopes to increase his skill with stained glass and undertake architectural glass work, for example the installation of glass windows. He moved to Truro in 1986.
Bill Davison was born in Truro and graduated from the Cobequid Educational Centre in 1981.
Mr. Davison has one year education from NSCAD and plans to return in the fall.
His work and interests vary from music to painting and he draws a lot of his style from the influence of the early 20th Century.
Greg Denton expresses himself through paintings, music and poetry and shared his past writings with friends at a poetry reading Aug. 18.
Born in Wolfville in 1963 "with pencil in hand" he attended the NSCAD in Halifax in the fall 1982 where he began to "re-evaluate my attitudes towards art and the creative process."
After leaving art college he ceased drawing for a year to begin again fresh. In 1984 the paintbrush replaced the pencil "as the most common extension of the arm."
Mr. Denton will be attending NSCAD in the fall to continue his education and work for a bachelor of fine arts.
Stuart Dunphy, 17, was born in Manitouwadge, Ont. and moved to Bible Hill with his family when he was young.
He is a student at Cobequid Educational Centre where he is involved in the art program and is presently doing a lot of drawings with pencil.
Mr. Dunphy said his mother, the late Elke Dunphy, a former member of the Attic Painters, had an influence on his desire to be an artist.
He is not sure about future plans but would like to attend an art college and expand his talents into sculpture at some point.
Mark Hamilton was born in Tatamagouche and is a graduate of the architectural design course from Colchester Regional Vocational School in 1986.
He attended the Kings foundation course for one year and then came back to Truro where he works at a construction job.
Mr. Hamilton said he has enjoyed paintings as far back as he can remember and the exhibits of An Episode Of Sparrows are the highlights of his artistic work.
He will be attending NSCAD in January where he would like to pursue both sculpture and painting, along with welding and glass work.
In five years "I would like to have lots of time to paint and be well fed. Or rather, it doesn't matter if I'm well fed."
Joanne Hatfield, the only female in the group, was born and raised in Truro and while her talents as a painter and drawer can be easily recognized, she is pursuing an education in music in the fall at Dalhousie.
Miss Hatfield said she developed an interest and love for music at an early age and began studying piano under Professor Haralds Berino, a Latvian composer-pianist who was a well-known teacher at that time. Later she studied with Sister Marion Nolan.
Her interest in art began to develop when she was in high school and she completed her first oil painting in 1984. Having no conventional art supplies she used old paint from a paint by number set, a fingernail brush and a mascara applicator.
Mr. Hamilton said the group has set out to show residents of Colchester County something they have never seen before - music complementing art.
Another aspect to the display, somewhat amusing and interesting, is the naming of the art works. The title and picture often do not correspond but can stand by themselves as far as entertaining the spectator.
Ms. Hatfiled said naming the pieces is almost as fun as creating them.
For example there is "the little stick man may or may not be dreaming at all." Or how about "somnambulists amongst the turmoil of industry" and "two black snakes on their way to the moon?"
More than 70 people attended the opening of the exhibition on Friday, Aug. 14, which again exemplifies the importance and interest of art in the Truro area.
"We find Truro people have an open attitude toward new things and are very supportive of the arts," Mr. Hamilton said.
He said the exhibit is unique to the library but not to the world of modern art.
"There are many more artists out there who just haven't had their work seen yet."
An Episode Of Sparrows' exhibit will be at the Colchester-East Hants Regional Library until Aug. 26. The works may be viewed Aug. 22, 25 and 26 from 2-5 p.m.
photo caption 1: An Episode Of Sparrows, a group of young Truro artists and musicians, is presenting its second annual exhibit at the Colchester-East Hants Regional Library. One of the featured artists in the exhibit is Joanne Hatfield and two of her pieces, "Somnambulists amongst the turmoil of industry" and "Revelation 19: 17, 18." On the cover is "The awakening of an object" painted by Greg Denton and being admired by Ms. Hatfield (left) and Mark Hamilton (right).
photo caption 2: Mark Hamilton was one of the featured artists recently when An Episode Of Sparrows, a Truro-based group of artists and musicians presented a unique and uplifting exhibit at the Colchester-East Hants Regional Library. Two of his pieces on display were "Two black snakes on their way to the moon" and "A precious distance by Omnibus."