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Painting between the worlds

All new showing from artist Vanessa Stark at Lucid Dream for the month of November

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What: Lucid Dream artist reception

When: Friday, Nov. 2, 7 p.m.

Where: MY Millennium Place

Admission: Free

Artist Vanessa Stark was painting it before she knew what it was called.

There in a book about dreams, she discovered the fuel behind her paintbrushes.

“In the moments of high intensity, as well as times of deep relaxation, when all senses are aware, but the mind is quiet with focus, we cross to the place between… It is the land of the lucid dream.”

Reality and dreams collide in Stark’s new solo exhibit entitled Lucid Dream: The Art of Living The Dream, showing for the month of November at MY Millennium Place. An artist reception will be hosted in her honour on Friday, Nov. 2 from 7 to 10 p.m. in the theatre’s upstairs art gallery.

“I thought it was the way my paintings are,” Stark said of her exhibit title. “Sort of between dreams and reality… Like a lucid dream, I usually don’t think about what I am painting. As I paint, I start to see something and go with it. It’s a lot like having a dream and then afterwards looking at it and wondering what that dream means.”

And also like dreams, Stark’s paintings need more than a second look.

She draws from vivid colours in acrylics for her works. Kingly reds, deep ocean blues and spirited greens swirl into loose forms of trees, mountains, bears, humans, sky and waves. Look even deeper into the moving shapes with a second or maybe even a third look to find the faces of ancestors in the wind or the tree bark speaking of Mother Nature’s sweet face as it does in Stark’s artwork entitled Zion.

The focus of the forest scene is a nationless woman; the everywoman who is living at peace with herself and her surroundings.

“She is like every race,” Stark said. “She is in an ideal place where everyone is peaceful. She is all humankind combined into one and being at peace.”

Stark is always searching out her own peace, whether in her canvases or on the mountain as both a snowboarding and mountain bike coach. The pro rider rediscovered her love of painting after an accident kept her indoors. Her imagination and paintbrush roamed into the mountains where her body could not, and on canvas she discovered the balance her life needed. She now pushes the limits both as a mountain adventurer and critically acclaimed artist.

“I think (painting) really does complement (what I do in the outdoors),” Stark said. “The more I paint, the more it opens your eyes to look around. Sometimes we forget. You take what we have for granted, and then you go away and you come back and you remember how amazing it is here.”

Stark has showcased her artwork at numerous exhibits in the Sea to Sky corridor. This year alone her colourful acrylics graced the World Ski and Snowboard Festival’s If Ullr Was A Girl exhibit, Bizarre Bazaar, the Pemberton Vineyard Restaurant opening and the Whistler Farmer’s Market. Her works has also been featured in Snowboard Canada, Updown, Vibes, Whistler Magazine and Frequency.

However, Stark’s November exhibit will showcase all new works, including a new top sheet for a 2007 Prior Snowboard.

Stark’s search for balance even illustrates itself in her subject matter illustrated on the board, the dragonfly — a mystical symbol of balance as it hovers between air and water — centres itself between the seasons. Winter twists up into snowflakes and spring entwines down into colourful flowers.

“It will be an elemental experience,” Stark said.

The Lucid Dream opening reception includes mingling, bar service, snacks, live acoustic music by Andrea Graham and a raffle to win a Prior snowboard or skis. Tickets will be $2 each or eight for $10 with all proceeds benefiting Avalanche Awareness.

Admission is free.

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