Bright colours, mesmerizing patterns and fantastical shapes adorn the walls of HeatRun Gallery in Saskatoon’s Hot Yoga on 20th. The combined show of married artists, Benjamin Hettinga and Lorenne Dykes, fills the spacious, sunny gallery, located at the entrance to one of Saskatoon’s newest — not to mention, hottest (42 degrees) — exercise and meditation centers.
The show, entitled Easy Livin’, includes numerous paper cuts, screen prints, paintings, wood cuts and one large installation piece of yarn and wood.
Contrary to the title of the show, the works in Easy Livin’ share complexity and detail; time and effort are clear in their composition. It seems that the title speaks more to the artists’ approach than to the time and effort spent creating the works.
“We are both attracted to making art that takes a long time — never being in a hurry,” explained Dykes.
“We work together all of the time,” added Hettinga. “I don’t know how I would say that the works are visually similar, but they are.”
Though some of the works might contain echoes of religious pattern-art — the installation, for instance, uses American-Indian “God’s eyes” — most are not directly related to religion, or yoga, for that matter. There is playfulness in many of the pieces in Easy Livin’ not often found in religious art, such as mandalas or yantras.
“I think it works well in the space,” said Hettinga. “I don’t have a yoga philosophy about it. But I like new age music. I like Deuter and Tangerine Dream. We try to make work about good vibes, good times.”
Indeed, the gallery and the works fit well together. The huge windows, bright blue walls and golden-oak floors compliment the colours in the works. Moreover, there is complexity and innocence in both the practice of Hatha Yoga in the West and in the works featured in Easy Livin’. Dykes acknowledged that making art, like yoga, can be therapeutic.
“I first took printmaking while doing my English degree,” she said. “At first I took it for a class in which I didn’t have to write essays. But it made me more creative in the other classes I was taking. It was good for my degree. I thought of my best ideas for papers while I was working on printmaking. You have that time to sit and you’re not just stressing or thinking about [your school work]. I think it will help you.”
Readers of the Sheaf might recognize Hettinga as the creator of last years’ serial comic, Purrfect Strangers. Hettinga has taken a break from comics — mostly to complete the works for Easy Livin’— but expects to return to Purrfect Strangers in the near future.
“I went a month without updating the website and nobody noticed,” chuckled Hettinga,” I will try to [make comics], but with this show I didn’t want to show something I had already shown, something anyone had seen before.”
“This has hurt Purrfect Strangers,” Dykes agreed.
Getting in to see Easy livin’ can be somewhat tricky, as the gallery is only open for yoga and is often locked while yoga is in session. However, the HeatRun Gallery can be viewed by appointment by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 955-YOGA. A reception is scheduled at the gallery, upstairs at 117 20th Street West, on Oct. 2, 8p.m. to 11p.m. All works are for sale, and a price list is available in the gallery.
image: Pete Yee