The exhibition Generations in the upstairs gallery at the Station House this month is a tribute to three generations of artists in the Cariboo put together by artist Brian Garten.
In his presentation at the gallery opening Nov. 3, Garten explained that he wanted to pay tribute to his late mother, who never had a show of her own during her lifetime, but was a great influence in the artistic talent developed by himself and his two daughters.
There are paintings in the show by Brian, his late mother Arlene (1954 to 2014), and his two daughters Madison (Maddi), 20, and Mariah, 17.
Brian says there was always an easel in the corner of the kitchen where his mother painted many local landscapes and pioneer homesteads.
“She was always painting cabins,” Brian says in his artists’ statement, “so when I did my first painting in oils, I just assumed that was what I was supposed to do, paint a cabin. As I got a little older I thought it was such a boring subject, but now I see the value in it all. These cabins are such an important part of our history here in the Cariboo.”
Brian’s own art work took the form of intricate designs created as a tattoo artist at Praying Mantis Tattoo for the past 22 years, but he also enjoys finding time to paint portraits and landscapes, often direct to canvas in the great outdoors instead of in a studio.
When Brian’s daughters Maddi and Mariah were toddlers, he says they would often sit at his lap and watch him paint at that very same easel his mother used.
Mariah, shows an inherent skill for painting and ceramics and spends time daily on the many character sketches that fill her sketchbooks, he says.
Maddi is now enrolled in the Bachelor of Fine Arts Program at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax and wasn’t able to be here for the opening of their show.
But shortly before Maddi left for school, Brian says he, Maddi, Mariah, and his father, Doug, took a trip out west to Callan Lake where his grandfather Bruce Garten used to cowboy.
He says they started painting outside but when a huge rain storm came up he and Maddi ran for cover.
Mariah, however, continued painting through the storm under the sheltered of an umbrella held by his father, Doug.
Brian took a photograph of that scene which he later painted in his studio and has hanging in the show.
Included in the exhibition are two paintings by Brian of his girls at work that day, along with the plein air painting Mariah completed during the storm.
The show also includes a painting of the same location that was done by his mother Arlene as a gift to her father Bruce Garten.
“When I was a kid, my grampa used to stay in a little camper trailer out there and we’d go out and check on him on weekends. We’d bring out supplies and in almost any weather we could all be found painting together as a family.
“There are a lot of good memories there. Both my grandparents are laid to rest in that area.”