New exhibitions at the Visual Arts Centre will stimulate your senses

By David F. Rooney

The three shows that opened at the Visual Arts Centre on Friday will stimulate your senses and, if you like local art,  certainly tempt you to part with a buck or two.

Cherie Van Overbeke’s show, Arriving, occupies the main gallery with 12 large abstract works by this prolific and talented local painter. Cherie has poured a lot of emotion and thought into her images and it shows. (You can read more about her show by clicking here) These are mixed-media works that have a distinctly organic look and should appeal to anyone who appreciates extraordinary viewpoints and efforts.

Suzanne Spisani’s show, The End of the Beginning, highlights her skills as a silversmith who regards jewellery, personal decoration and even housewares as objects that should be works of art in and of themselves. This is certainly obvious in Ditch the Kitchen Spoon and Balance Bowl. These two works are not merely functional, they are simultaneously whimsical and elegant. Personally, I lusted after these two works but — Alas! — they were not for sale.

Suzanne’s other pieces showed that same sense of whimsy, especially the weirdly wonderful bracelet called Slow As Molasses. Cast in the flesh of a

This is an artist's conception of what an extinct Hallucigenia looked like when it walked across the floor of a shallow Middle Cambrian-aged sea. The animal is one of many unique and distinctly weird-looking animals that left their fossils in the Burgess Shale near Golden.

fish to give its surface a highly organic-looking texture, it closely — but unintentionally — resembles a prehistoric Hallucigenia from the Middle Cambrian-aged Burgess Shale near Golden.

Of particular note is Ron Nixon’s exhibition, called Feathers. Ron spent the last 16 months working on this largely marvelous exhibition of bird images.

Ron’s best works are all in coloured pencil. Each image is highly realistic and and finely detailed, consisting of thousands of tiny strokes from his coloured pencils.

If you love birds you will definitely not want to miss seeing his work.

These three shows are on exhibition at the Visual Arts Centre at 320 Wilson Street until Nov. 5.  For more information about the shows or for information about hours please call 250-814-0261 or send an e-mail to

Here is a sampling of the works you can see when you visit The Centre:

Suzanne Spisani's mastery of silversmithing is quite clear in her small exhibition, The End of the Beginning, which opened at the Visual Arts Centre on Friday. Unfortunately for local art collectors, these two works, Ditch the Kitchen Spoon and Balance Bowl, were not for sale. David F. Rooney photo
This is another view of the these two beautiful — and functional — works of art. David F. Rooney photo
This is another example of Spisani's work: a beautiful diamond and silver brooch. David F. Rooney photo
Slow As Molasses is the work of this organic-looking bracelet. It bears an uncanny resemblance to a prehistoric Hallucigenia from the Burgess Shales. David F. Rooney photo
Silversmith Suzanne Spisani chats about her work with Andrew Hamilton. David F. Rooney photo
This gorgeous piece by local artist Ron Nixon is called Morning Rays and beautifully captures the grace and poise of a heron in coloured pencil. Ron's solo exhibition is called Feathers. David F. Rooney photo
A killdeer gestures with a seemingly broken wing in this beautifully lit drawing called, appropriately enough, Broken Wing. David F. Rooney photo
Realism is the name of the game with Ron Nixon's work and this drawing of a chickadee in the snow, Quiet Haven, is a sublime example of that. David F. Rooney photo
On the lighter side, Ron Nixon had some fun producing this drawing, entitled Stand Up Comic. David F. Rooney photo
Cherie Van Overbeke's starkly lovely piece Female, Female was one of 12 pieces she had in her solo show, Arriving, at the Visual Arts Centre. David F. Rooney photo