Aldergrove artist Susan Gorris and White Rock artist Marilyn Dyer have joined forces to created “Braided Lives,” an exhibition on display now in a pop-up gallery in White Rock. (Special to Black Press Media)

Aldergrove artist Susan Gorris and White Rock artist Marilyn Dyer have joined forces to created “Braided Lives,” an exhibition on display now in a pop-up gallery in White Rock. (Special to Black Press Media)

Collaborative exhibit merges paintings, drawings, and sculptures

Aldergrove and White Rock artists join forces to present “Braided Lives” show at pop-up gallery

By Robyn Roste/Special to Black Press Media

Many times through the years, professional teaching assignments have placed Aldergrove artist Susan Gorris, 69, and White Rock artist Marilyn Dyer, 89, together – in Calgary and Langley, as well as part of the Aldergrove Mural Project.

RELATED: Artists busy on Aldergrove mural project

Well the two women are collaborating again, this time in an art exhibition on display through Saturday, March 26 in a show called “Braided Lives” at the Landmark Pop-Uptown Gallery in White Rock.

The show represents what the artists describe as their intertwined concepts and lives.

Their individual pursuits in making art, coupled with their intertwined careers, produced the inspiration for the “Braided Lives” exhibit where gallery visitors are encouraged to view the figurative images, collection of paintings, framed drawings, and ceramic sculptures.

“The Landmark Pop-Uptown Gallery was a perfect venue for transforming four white walls into a welcoming venue of bright colours,” Gorris said, adding that enjoying a hot beverage from the cafe next door to the gallery is the perfect complement to viewing their show.

The colourful installations and paintings Dyer contributed to “Braided Lives” explore the effects humans have caused within our environment. These are interspersed with Gorris’ intimate and fantastical drawings, paintings, and sculptures – which seek to understand the special connections that animals and humans have together.

“I have always suspected that many animals were equal to humans and not subordinate as many of us have been taught. My artwork describes unique moments in time when an animal and a human together experience a connection that may be humorous, mystical, spiritual, intellectual… or all of the above,” Gorris shared.

“My belief is that we have much to learn from our furry, feathered and sea-faring cohabitants… if only we learn how to listen harder.”

READ MORE: Aldergrove farm invites artists for life drawing sessions

After several years of studying the human figure and portraiture in a life drawing series at Art in the Country in Aldergrove, Gorris revisited each work and searched for the right animal to juxtapose with humans.

“My intention in creating this combination was derived, in part, from my own experience with different animal species through the years,” she said.

While Gorris has been a teacher much of her career, a temporary respite led to her becoming a veterinarian assistant for two years. In the decade that followed this experience, she studied the equestrian art of dressage.

RELATED: ‘Extraordinary’ vet captured on canvas by Aldergrove artist

Gorris’ commitment to animals is evident throughout her work and she is on a quest to continually learn more about the many different animals she shares life with.

“All of my life, I have enjoyed living with the combination of wild and domestic species, most of which co-habitate in peace. Last week I found my pet rooster, George, sitting on top of my mare’s backside quite comfortably settling in for the evening. These moments dissolve notions of normalcy, have been experienced by numerous animal folks, and continue to inspire the intrigue I feel when painting or sculpting this connecting moment,” she said.

Landmark Pop-Uptown Gallery is open to the public Tuesdays through Saturdays, from 10 a.m. till 5 p.m. and located at 15140 North Bluff Rd. in White Rock. “Braided Lives” remains on display until Saturday, March 26.

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“In Animal Spirit” is a piece created by Aldergrove’s Susan Gorris, and it’s on display in “Braided Lives,” a current exhibition at a pop-up gallery in White Rock. (Special to Black Press Media)

“In Animal Spirit” is a piece created by Aldergrove’s Susan Gorris, and it’s on display in “Braided Lives,” a current exhibition at a pop-up gallery in White Rock. (Special to Black Press Media)

Aldergrove’s Susan Gorris painted this owl preparing to attack an unsuspecting chicken back in 2015. (Special to Black Press Media)

Aldergrove’s Susan Gorris painted this owl preparing to attack an unsuspecting chicken back in 2015. (Special to Black Press Media)

Aldergrove artist Susan Gorris continues to be inspired by the relationships between animals and other animals, as well as animals and humans. She explores this in a joint art exhibit on display this week in White Rock. (Special to Black Press Media)

Aldergrove artist Susan Gorris continues to be inspired by the relationships between animals and other animals, as well as animals and humans. She explores this in a joint art exhibit on display this week in White Rock. (Special to Black Press Media)