Elgin artist Pat Walsh says the drought in art exhibitions brought about by the pandemic led to a personal decision on her part “to get her work out there.” And so, she has.
The vernissage for her exhibition, Remembered Landscapes, Past and Present, took place on April 22 at the Little Green Library in Huntingdon. Five days later, this year’s installation of the Contamination Culturelle, a travelling outdoor collective exhibition to which Walsh contributed a painting, was launched in Saint-Urbain Premier.
“Having art in public spaces is just so awesome and so underdeveloped and overdue. I think it is thrilling,” she says of the Contamination Culturelle project, which groups together 30 artists (in visual arts, digital arts, mixed media) and 21 different locations in the Vaudreuil-Soulanges and Beauharnois-Salaberry region. The theme of the exhibition is Élement Terre, which highlights the core elements of air, water, and earth according to three “circuits” that will rotate between locations until November.
The different artworks were all professionally photographed and printed as a vinyl decal that was attached to backboards, so there is a uniform look to the exhibition despite the different styles or forms on view. Walsh’s painting, which is of the Hinchinbrooke River, is part of the riverbeds or water “circuit,” which can be viewed at the Quai municipal des Cèdres in Les Cèdres until May 14, when the exhibition will move to Coteau-du-Lac. She says she wanted to contribute work that was relevant to the theme that visitors would relate to.
The collection of paintings that is currently hanging in the Little Green Library presents some of Walsh’s earlier work. “I was surprised at how well it stands up,” she admits, suggesting she is really interested in how memory and the present moment intertwine. The exhibition also features two contemporary pieces which focus on “the primal forces of nature and their enduring and overpowering strength.”
All of Walsh’s work, including the pieces in both exhibitions, was done on the spot or “en plein air.” Walsh says she enjoys trying to capture the experience in the moment, suggesting her immediate environment never fails to inspire her. Of her earlier pieces, she says she can remember biking to the different locations to paint.
The exhibition in Huntingdon will continue until May 27. Then, it won’t be long before Walsh will unveil another solo show at the Salle Culturelle Alfred-Langevin in November.