Ava Christl is the artist in residence at Ranger Station Art Gallery. Amid the pandemic and the closure of the gallery, she has kept herself busy through a variety of art projects. Her works, The Skeena Paintings, are on display now, and Ranger Station is open once more. (Adam Louis/Observer)

Ranger Station artist in residence keeps busy amid pandemic

‘I’d really like to encourage people to really come out and support the arts,’ Ava Christl says

Even while the Ranger Station Art Gallery was closed, resident artist Ava Christl was hard at work.

The Duncan-born artist’s work is on display at Ranger Station in an exhibit called “The Skeena Paintings.” The paintings reflect the landscapes and waterscapes in the Skeena area of northern B.C.

“This is a land that draws me back, time and again, from seeing it as a young person to experiencing it again 60 years on,” she said in an artist’s statement. “Every visit brings out childhood memories and at the same time brings forth something new.”

RELATED: ‘Re-emerging’ artist takes on Harrison’s Ranger Station residency

Christl’s Skeena paintings reflect not just the ever-changing landscape itself but also the memories that come with it and her own concept and reflections on the passage of time.

“The work is based on real places re-imagined over time,” she said. “I wanted to show how beautiful a place it is. IT’s currently a river system that’s under threat of pipelines and LNG plants, all this huge industrial complex stuff that has no business in the pristine river.”

Ranger Station Art Gallery shut down earlier this year following the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the gallery was closed for part of her residency, Christl undertook creating 30 paintings in 30 days, a challenge issued throughout the lower mainland from one of the curators in Vancouver. She has also amassed a collection of 100 drawings entitled “100 Days of Solitude” in which she created one new drawing every day for 100 days since March 11.

RELATED: Ranger Station Art Gallery plans weekend reopening

“It was initially to mark the days,” she said. “It was a way of taking a moment every day to meditate and pray for the world and think about what was going on.”

Christl said there are even more pieces of this collection that couldn’t fit in the Ranger Station gallery. She said she has plans to create a few more pieces for this particular collection before seeing where inspiration takes her.

While local arts organizations are continually adapting to COVID-19 circumstances, Christl wanted to encourage the public to continue supporting the arts.

“I’d really like to encourage people to really come out and support the arts,” she said. “Artists are really struggling. We make art as a way to express not only ourselves but to communicate to the world, and when that doesn’t happen, it’s really heartbreaking. It is a time to show support.”

Ranger Station Art Gallery is located at 98 Rockwell Drive in Harrison Hot Springs.


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