MUSKOKA - Three Muskokan artists are sharing their love of Algonquin Park with their show Focus, Form and Colour.
Photographer Jerry Schmanda, wood worker David Standfield and painter Janine Marson are sharing their love of the park through their work, which is on display at the park’s visitor centre.
“Our work has to represent the flora, fauna and wildlife of Algonquin Park, that’s one of the stipulations of applying for a show through the visitors centre and the Friends of Algonquin Park. It has to reflect what you would find in and around the park,” said Marson.
The name of the show represents the artists who are responsible for it. Schmanda embodies focus through his eyes and camera lens. Standfield explores and exposes form with his wood carving. Marson fills her paintings with light, energy and colour.
Marson said the three artists applied to have a show at the centre because they love the park.
“I grew up on the doorstep of Algonquin Park. It’s had a huge influence on me through going in the park, painting, going on trails,” she said. “It’s left an indelible mark and it has on the other two artists as well. They’re passionate about the park as well.”
The artists’ connection to the park is reflected in their work.
“It’s not just because we want to paint pictures that look like the park — it’s because we’ve been there, we’ve experienced it, we’ve felt it,” said Marson. “It is quite unique and quite special so once you’ve been there you’re never the same.”
Despite the artists’ shared passion for the park, they had not intended to have a show together.
“Jerry and David applied for a show and I applied for a show, then the Friends of Algonquin Park decided we would be best to show with each other,” said Marson.
She said a show must fill the gallery space completely and supply additional work to fill holes should something be sold.
“It’s a busy place with tourists going through there,” she said.
The artists, who knew each other and had a shared a connection to the region as residents, eagerly accepted the Friends’ recommendation.
“It was a natural fit,” said Marson.
Each artist brings something unique to the show, she said, but the feeling behind their work is the same.
“We’re trying to express our love, our need to protect and preserve it,” she said.
Standfield, for example, is showing a craved loon egg with a hatchling emerging from it. The piece reflects the fragility of the loon population and the necessity of protecting it.
Schmanda’s photographs express nature and wildlife with a sense of joy, but include an underlying theme of preserving it.
Marson expresses her love of the park’s landscapes through her paintings, but conservation is a key message, too.
“It’s the connection between the joy that you see, but also the need to preserve and protect it,” she said.
Focus, Form and Colour runs in the Algonquin Room at the visitor centre in Algonquin Park, Highway 60 at kilometre 43, until Sept. 26. The centre is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.