Understanding ‘birdness’ at gallery

Wood carver Greg Gillespie shows his first ever bird carving and explains how the head was not large enough. Photo by Joseph Quigley.

Local artists Greg Gillespie and June Krisko shared the journeys that gave their art flight for a presentation about the Rails End Gallery and Arts Centre exhibition “Bird” Nov. 9.

The two artists talked about how they came to create the art featured in the show. Gillespie is a woodcarver who creates interpretive pieces with birds, while Krisko is a digital artist who creates abstract images often based on nature.

Curator Laurie Jones said although the two artists are different, she brought their work together because of a similarity in how they captured birds.

“We all understood birdness,” Jones said. “It’s all these aspirations that we have of flight and being not human. Going beyond this Earth and seeing what else there is.”

Gillespie said he started carving after retiring in 2004. He said he improved as he entered competitions, earning second place in the people’s choice category at the World Wildfowl Carving Competition in Maryland.

“I just had a passion to do it. I couldn’t do without it,” Gillespie said. “There was one time I used to get ticked off at judging … but I used that as a challenge. I said okay, I’d come back next time and do better.”

Krisko said she came to work with digital tools after experiencing health and allergy issues with materials like acrylic paint. She said her abstract style represents different emotions and ideas.

“I’ll see something that will catch my eye,” Krisko said. “I’ll keep it in my head but it’s more of a concept, more of a colour in a way. It’s kind of hard to describe because it’s so personal.”

Krisko further said it was her first time being featured in a gallery and it was a good way to be introduced to the community she recently moved to.

“I just find Haliburton is where I’m meant to be,” Krisko said. “Much more open-minded about different types of art and different types of personalities. You can really be yourself here.”

Carolyn Ellis attended and said it was amazing to have an exhibition such as this close to home.

“It just re-enforces the vibrant community we have,” Ellis said.

Jones said she was pleased by how the event went. She added people are often surprised to hear the art displayed in the gallery is coming from local people.

“You don’t expect that,” Jones said. “Neither one is traditional, so we have this great opportunity here.”


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