Silhouettes, geometric shapes, letters, words and numbers are interwoven through the artwork in the main gallery at the Station House this month.
The shapes and designs build on each other, linking piece to piece, and yet each tells a different story.
The show is called “Connections” and is a collection of work by Prince George artist Betty Kovacic.
“Connections is about the ways that we as citizens of the world are connected to each other and to other living creatures who are citizens of the world. It’s also about the way we are connected to the world itself,” said Kovacic.
It’s a topic Kovacic started exploring many years ago, with one of the art pieces on display.
It connects earth, at the bottom to water and air at the top.
“I was thinking about how it is all connected and how those are essential to life.”
In one of the sets, three pieces, on their own, represent earth, air and water.
Using the lettering common to much of her work, Kovacic has interwoven the chemicals that go into making air, the things you find in earth and the composition of water, as well as plastic – “hugely impactful to our oceans and water” – in the third.
In the third, a dolphin is connected by strands of an umbilical cord to a baby.
“Again, I am talking about commonality and not differences. Even through we look like we are terribly different, we start our life in water,” said Kovacic.
Silhouettes are also a common device Kovacic uses through many of her pieces.
“The silhouette is stripped of anything that identifies it. It is stripped of gender, sexual orientation, religious belief – anything that identifies it as someone specific. Yet, to acknowledge that everyone is specific and individual every silhouette is created in a different way,” said Kovacic.
“By using the silhouette I felt I could address it as a global language, so that the image could pertain to anyone, any human being, and yet also how it pertains to human beings as it references and is informed by anything else that is part of our world.”
Each piece has a story, said Kovacic, if you know where to look.
Some are smaller, simple, like one that showcases an injured waxwing she brought into her home, while others are a general message about the world around us: shared strength; solitude; elephants saying “I am. I am here.”
“We are all one huge community,” said Kovacic. “We don’t even know how we or our actions are impacting other areas.”
It’s a message also reflected in the text found in her work.
“It references that even with all of our knowledge and all of our communication, sometimes we still don’t hear each other. Text is about communication and sometimes the lack thereof, and so to me it is also about patterns, about the exploration of aesthetics, about fitting in other bits of information.
Kovacic’s pieces are made in a variety of mediums. Most start out on paper, with Indian ink but also incorporate charcoal, water colour, graphite, colour pencil and paint.
“When I start this work I have no idea how it’s going to work,” said Kovacic. “And then it develops as it goes, intuitively and, one can hope, with years of working knowledge and all of that comes together.”
Her drawings, she said, are very different than her paintings.
“It’s almost like a meditation and I just let it evolve.”
Still, the theme running through her work is evident.
Kovacic quotes Margaret Mead in some of her messaging: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
It’s part of what she hopes to show with her work.
“We have more in common than we do have differences,” she said.
“There is really a lot of detail within each piece and I think that if people take the time to look and think about it and think about how everything could come together, they could make their own stories as well.”