Remembering a friend and fellow artist with a Fort Langley exhibition

Artists Edith Krause and Claire Moore remember Jo-Ann Sheen with a retrospective show.

Jo-Ann Sheen was a “much beloved” member of The Fort Gallery for the past decade.

And just two months after her passing, a special tribute is being presented in her honour.

Starting next Wednesday, her longtime friends and a fellow gallery members, Edith Krause and Claire Moore, are curating a show called, Jo-Ann Sheen: Retrospective, featuring a collection of Sheen’s artwork.

The accomplished and prolific printmaker passed away in May.

“As a [Fort Gallery] member she was scheduled to have an exhibit together with myself early this fall. Instead we are having the retrospective…” Krause said.

The exhibit will feature a representation of her work post art school, elaborated Krause, who met Sheen while they were both “mature students” at Emily Car University in 1998.

Sheen’s obituary spoke to the personality of the 66-year-old wife and mother of two, Krause said.

“Jo-Ann was one of a kind. She excelled at everything she did – and she did a lot. Her inherent energy and enthusiasm for life was perfectly balanced with a thoughtful yet cautious streak.”

It went on to read that she was an avid dragon boat athlete who: “jumped into everything with gusto and an enthusiasm that was infectious for those lucky enough to be around her. Adventure and travel ranked high on her busy agenda, as did baseball, horseback riding, tap and jazz dancing, and hiking.”

Sheen was also a graduate of SFU and a member of Malaspina Printmakers Society.

Her first serious works after art school, a series of portraits layered with etchings of decomposing leaves or other textures, reflected her interest in how peoples’ faces reveal only part of who they are.

Behind every face, there are stories, she would say.

This interest evolved into works that include hands, about the body language that often betrays the facial mask.

These works also incorporate Sheen’s delight in getting people involved in art.

Her drawings of hands and faces are mounted separately, and viewers are invited to mix and match them to create different expressions.

In another interactive project, Sheen hung coaster-sized rag paper stained by wet teabags on the gallery wall and invited visitors to elaborate on what they could see in the stains by drawing into them.

The gallery will be reprising this project for the retrospective.

Her most recent art, made from garbage, reflects her ability to see beauty in everything.

Begun in collaboration with Claire Moore and Diana Durrand, the project called Package Deal, saw Sheen make printing plates from squashed fast-food containers and printed these on rag paper.

She was fascinated with the care, engineering and detail that goes into single-use items.

Her sense of humour infuses many of these prints, with little figures hanging from squashed water bottles or climbing through cogs made from pie plates, with funny or ironic titles, Krause said.

Jo-Ann Sheen: Retrospective runs Wednesday, Aug. 9 to Sunday, Aug. 27 at the Fort Gallery, 9048 Glover Rd. in Fort Langley.

An opening reception will be held on Sunday, Aug. 13, from 1 to 4 p.m.

The gallery is typically open Wednesdays to Sundays, from noon to 5 p.m.

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