About Face at Chapel Gallery looks back at viewers

You probably won’t win a blinking contest against some recently presented works at Chapel Gallery.

About Face is a show featuring work by local artists Heather Hochbaum and Chris Hodge. An exhibition reception took place Thursday, May 9, and the show runs until May 19.

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Faces are a recurring theme of the exhibit, and works were painted, sculpted and stitched.

Heather Hochbaum grew up in the Cando district and now lives in Battleford.

She works in fibre art, painting, and is a self-taught quilter.

Hodge, who hails from Hamilton, Ont., but now calls North Battleford home, has worked various different jobs including a mechanical technician and computer programmer. He’s influenced by prairie surroundings.

The idea for the show, Hochbaum said, was Hodge was doing figurative work she found interesting.

“We thought it’d be kind of cool if we did just the faces,” Hochbaum said, and director/curator of galleries for the City of North Battleford Leah Garven was receptive to the idea.

Two self-portraits, one of each artist, are the first images viewers see when looking at the exhibit on one of the Chapel Gallery’s rounded walls.

Hodge said he thinks Hochbaum is more organized than he is in his work. He works from photographs, and plays with Photoshop before painting.

His works shows brushstrokes of acrylic paint, which he said he finds easier to work with than watercolour.

“I can do watercolour but I don’t enjoy doing it,” Hodge said, adding changes are difficult with watercolour, and that he likes playing with paint.

Hochbaum also has paintings in the exhibit, and some work results from exercises in painting images upside down. She painted shapes, and “you don’t have a preconceived notion of what a face should look like.”

In Hodge’s work, some of the people depicted are friends of friends, a California artist, Joe Campbell, and someone who Hodge has never met in his life.

Hochbaum’s work The Grand Jury features a free technique in which a sewing machine is treated as a pencil. Hochbaum began with shapes and faces emerged. Other work features shapes made of various stitches on jean squares.

Why the theme of faces?

One reason is that they’re instantly recognizable, according to the exhibit’s description.

“It is amazing that we can recognize the face in differing forms of its portrayal from caricature, cartoons, impressions, to simple line drawings and abstractions.”


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