Ivan Wheale steps “into the light” with latest Perivale offerings

Famed artist Ivan Wheale, always a quick wit, gets a laugh out of Perivale Gallery’s Shannon McMullan on opening day and the unveiling of Mr. Wheale’s 2018 works.

PERIVALE—The annual “official” opening of Perivale Gallery has become a pleasant rite of spring for art lovers near and far and the highlight of that opening is always the unveiling of the latest works from renown Manitoulin artist Ivan Wheale. Mr. Wheale always maintains that “this is my best work ever,” a statement usually delivered with a deadpan expression leavened by a twinkle in his eye, but this year’s crop of oil paintings definitely backs him up in spades.

Stepping into Perivale’s main gallery room the viewer is immediately struck by a stunning vibrancy emanating from the walls.

“I have come back into the light,” quips Mr. Wheale.

The paintings unveiled last weekend at the Perivale Gallery range from the traditional Georgian Bay scenes with which Mr. Wheale has become almost synonymous, but there are unexpected divergences and sojourns into the unexpected that have added and extra delight to what has always been an afternoon very well spent.

In addition to the vibrant light to be found in this season’s work, Mr. Wheale’s production level has also skyrocketed this year. “I did get a lot done,” he admits. “This has been one of my most productive winters.”

For those unable to make the trek out to Perivale’s idyllic location on the shores of Lake Kagawong there is the online website, but be forewarned, nothing quite manages the impact of seeing the work in person.

One woman could be seen peeling the red dot from the description of one work that she had purchased online. Challenged by a bystander, she quickly explains that she has decided on another painting. “I looked at them online to make my decision before I got here,” she explained. The online gallery opens at 7:30 am on opening day. “But now that I am here, I have decided I want that one instead.”

“It’s okay,” confirmed gallery owner Shannon McMullan. Long time patronage does have its privileges.

While Mr. Wheale’s works alone are reason enough to make the trip out to the gallery, there are plenty of other outstanding artists that have been recruited onto Perivale’s wall by the indomitable Ms. McMullan. She spends much of the off-season searching out eclectic new artists to fill out the gallery’s stable.

While admiring the work of an up and coming Peterborough artist, Lisa Mace, Ms. McMullan relates the story behind the work arriving on the gallery walls.

“It was quite a trek,” she laughs. “We had to bushwhack our way in on this long road, way back in the bush, we didn’t trust our car to make the trip up through the ice, snow and mud so we clomped our way up the trail. The trip back was by four-wheeler and there was ice, snow and mud splashing all over the place.”

The Expositor didn’t have to ask if the trek was worth the effort, Ms. Mace’s artwork hanging in the gallery confirmed the question before it was even asked.

But there’s more.

“Some of our artists include multidimensional Sudbury artist Brigitte Bere who works in encaustic, alcohol ink, felting, sculpture and pottery,” she said. “Jay Favot’s strong realism is rendered in acrylic with everything from bold florals to iconic Georgian Bay and Manitoulin landscapes. Jay’s show “Generations” opens August 11 with a reception at Perivale Gallery. Mark Hope is new to the gallery this year, his work celebrates rural and natural landscapes in lovely loose oil paintings and Laura Carter’s renderings in watercolour and acrylic of the Georgian Bay shores are enchanting. Well-known Manitoulin textile artist Judith Martin has a number of works in textile, as well as oil paintings. We also have outstanding photography by Kerry Butler, Sarah Furchner and Carl Hanninen and Cathy Boyd’s lovely oils capture Bridal Veil Falls and the Providence Bay shoreline and Claudia J McCabe’s exciting abstracts continue to enchant.”

Any list of artists being exhibited would prove daunting, however as Perivale Gallery represents over 50 Ontario artists and artisans and is celebrating its 37th season this year. “Be sure to check out the 11 art workshops presented by Perivale artists,” adds Ms. McMullan.

The Perivale Gallery will be hosting “In the Spirit of Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven,” an annual exhibition by Perivale Gallery artists and guest artists who were inspired by those seminal icons of the Canadian art world July 21 to August 5, 10 am to 5 pm daily. An opening reception will take place from 2 pm to 5 pm on April 21.