SOPA FINE ARTS
2934 South Pandosy St
Tues – Sat 11– 5, Sun – 12 – 4
JOURNEY – STEPHEN SHELLENBERGER
Solo exhibition - FEB 2 – MARCH 31
If you could see one art exhibition this year, I recommend ‘Journey’ with Stephen Shellenberger.
Shellenberger is an artists' artist. Some may say he's a fifty-something hipster/graffiti artist but that's just the surface. Underneath the cool facade is an intelligent, well travelled and articulate visionary with a generous spirit. Stephen expresses himself in a way that comes so naturally, trusting himself and the process. We joked that he was going to make some 'prettier' work for Sopa's exhibition but if his definition of pretty is being colourful and slightly less political, we'll take it. That's not to say Stephen's War Wall from his last solo exhibition, 'Walls of Perception' in Montreal isn't beautiful, because somehow it is ...and it solidified his name as a foremost Canadian 'Extreme Painter'.
Shellenberger's show prior to his last, 'Peep Show', says a lot about his artistic vision as well as his social conscious. Everything in his work is recycled. He utilized boat tarps to tablecloths and various odds and ends that he's found in his travels. The upcoming show, 'JOURNEY' is also in the same vein as Shellenberger utilizes bedding and other remnants. Having hung with Basquiat and Warhol in the early 80's they had an impact on him and though you wouldn't directly notice either in his work, they were key influences. But his strongest influence would have to be Robert Rauschenberg who according to Shellenberger, "Kicked the door down for the rest of us." Shellenberger likes to push the envelope, play by his own rules and like his mentor, isn't afraid to be authentic, daring and original. "It is often the incompleteness that people find interesting, that I find interesting. Just as in music...the unplayed notes are as important as the ones that are played."
A collector himself, Stephen knows what joy a great piece can bring someone. It's the biggest reason his work remains affordable. "I want the average person to be able to own my work. It might be the only original piece they buy...what an honour that is for me."
You could talk the hours away with Stephen about his travels and what brought him back to Canada after several years in the United States and you'd never be bored. We're simply thrilled that he selected Sopa on his western tour to hang his hat for awhile.
Please join us on Feb 2nd from 7-9 for a glass of wine and to welcome this fabulous new artist.
For additional information or images the work in this exhibition, please contact Deborah Boileau at the gallery.
T: +1 250 763 5088 - www.sopafinearts.com