West Coast artist Sarah Platenius engages Georgina and Mark Valk during the opening of her solo art show dubbed ‘Exalted Heart’ at Experiential on April 12. The show will be on display until May 3. (Photo - Joanna Streetly)

Sarah Platenius hosts solo show at Tofino’s Experiential Art Gallery

“I like to collaborate with not just the art, but with the spirit of the artists.”

ERIN LINN MCMULLAN Special to the Westerly

“There’s a trick to flying, you must fling yourself at the ground – and miss.” – Douglas Adams.

This quote from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, embedded like a secret message at the heart of ‘Tenderness,’ a mixed media work by Sarah Plantenius, seems to address the evolutionary nature of art itself.

Yearning for flight, expressed both by the tree’s upward stretch and the murder of black crows ascending as one. Only a chosen few reaching the uppermost branches.

Describing each piece as an adventure, Platenius emphasizes, “Art, like life, is a practice of learning to show up more fully.”

“Whatever you’re doing in life, whether it’s art or anything else, keep moving forward, tuning and fine-tuning your vision and what you love.”

That love of art shines through in her first solo show, ‘Exalted Heart,’ bringing her solitary practice into a communal space. The latest leap in a journey that, earlier this year, saw her attending environmental writers workshop ‘Orion in the Wilderness’ at American Museum of Natural History’s research station in southeastern Arizona.

What Platenius’ visual and literary art shares is that underlying tension exemplified by Adam’s quote: our human desire for things to be different than they are. And yet, what the tangible wilderness reflects back to the wilderness of our hearts is instead an acceptance.

“In wilderness is everything: both the answers and the understanding of how things are sometimes. When we pay attention to this in nature, it helps us see this truth more clearly in ourselves.”

Inspired by her coastal environment and the interconnectedness of life, Platenius approaches her artistic practice as she does her walks in nature, with an air of discovery, patience and a willingness to be surprised.

Often, she will return ready to apply a new colour or carrying moss tendrils to layer into a collage. In ‘Home’, a gust of motion integrates old copper pennies with laundry on the line.

Environmental tensions seem implicit in ‘How the Light Gets In’ with four jigsaw panels mounted as if being pulled apart – fracturing ocean currents as whales migrate towards its epicentre. Absent from one panel altogether.

Platenius describes framer Joel Gray’s work as a collaboration.

“I like to collaborate with not just the art, but with the spirit of the artists,” says Gray, who has known the artist and her family for a dozen years.

A Tofino resident for 20 years, Platenius grew up spending summers in Clayoquot Sound with her father, Jim Hudnall. Hudnall is the whale scientist-cinematographer best known for The Great Whales (1978).

Andrea Fergusson describes the gallery itself evolving intuitively like an art project, with Platenius’ show opening a fabulous evening with the artist and well-attended by the community.

“Our future shows will always include Friday evening openings now where possible, as well as ‘Artist on Site Saturday’ to follow, where visitors can see a glimpse into the feature Artist’s creative process.”

‘Exalted Heart’ runs until May 3 at Experiential Art Gallery. Open daily 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

READ MORE: Tofino artist offers a special brand of West Coast love

READ MORE: Streetly’s book launch captures Tofino magic with evening of storytelling

READ MORE: Soulful session kicks off Winter Music Series in Tofino

Just Posted

Port Alberni language pole becomes ‘spiritual journey’

Funding shortfall could prove to be saving grace for project

Fines bring an end to Tofino’s controversial Poole’s Land community

Michael Poole is selling the roughly 20-acre property.

CARE column: Cold winter season terrifying for stray cats

Kittens Starsky and Hutch will have a warm foster home this winter.

Tofino’s top engineer leaves district amidst massive sewage treatment project

District office currently working through $60 million sewage treatment plant

VIDEO: Remembrance Day in Ucluelet

Town gathers at Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans Club for Remembrance Day ceremony.

VIDEO: B.C. couple creates three-storey ‘doggie mansion’ for their five pups

Group of seven, who Kylee Ryan has dubbed as the ‘wandering paws,’ have a neat setup in Jade City

MacKinnon powers Avs to 5-4 OT win over Canucks

Vancouver battled back late to pick up single point

Port Alberni mom takes school district to court over Indigenous smudging, prayer in class

Candice Servatius, who is an evangelical Christian, is suing School District 70

Family of B.C. man killed in hit-and-run plead for tips, one year later

Cameron Kerr’s family says the driver and passengers tried to cover their tracks

Princeton couple pays for dream vacation with 840,000 grocery store points

It’s easy if you know what you are doing, they say

Chilliwack family’s dog missing after using online pet-sitting service

Frankie the pit bull bolted and hit by a car shortly after drop off through Rover.com

B.C. wildlife experts urge hunters to switch ammo to stop lead poisoning in birds

OWL, in Delta, is currently treating two eagles for lead poisoning

B.C. First Nations drop out of court challenge, sign deals with Trans Mountain

Upper Nicola Band says deal represents a ‘significant step forward’

Most Read