His painting “Autumn Bear” is an example of a commission for
a client who returned to their cottage one spring to find a bear
living under the cottage. The painting of that bear now hangs in
the living room directly above the bear den. “What a wonderful
way to honour that animal!” Garbett says.
Bears are often seen as majestic or stoic, but there are other sides
to explore as well. At Whistler Contemporary Gallery, painter
Robert McCauley’s “Murmuration” depicts two bears standing
side by side, like people.
At the Adele Campbell Gallery, no two bears are alike. Artist
Jamie Summers tries to capture the playfulness of bears in
sculptures, such as with “Fat Bike Bear,” while Nicola Prinsen’s
bronze work entitled “Ted” finds the humour in an otherwise
Prinsen has been sculpting bears for at least 15 years, in various
poses — sitting, playing, even sailing away in boats. “As I get
older my creative form is less exact, the form more simplified.
It seems more important to me to interpret the gestures and the
essence of the bears,” Prinsen says.
“I enjoy sculpting their round, smooth form, and I strive to
present their humorous side. Bears in nature seem to take time
out to play. We are living in a time where bears are seen more
often in suburban areas; through my sculptures I would like to
remind viewers that we must find a way to coexist and share
territory with the nature around us,” Prinsen explains.
“There seems to be an inexplicable connection to the Whistler
bear. Perhaps it’s their human-like qualities which resonate
with anyone who has observed these wonderful animals,” says
Charlotte Webber, Adele Campbell Gallery assistant director.
80 WHISTLER TRAVELLER
Fat Bike Bear – Jamie Summers - Adele Campbell Gallery
Murmuration – Robert McCauley – Whistler Contemporary Gallery
Whistler Contemporary Gallery artist Paul Garbett lives in a
forested rural area and often hikes and bikes no matter what the
season. “If I’m fortunate I will witness bears doing their bear
things, like swimming rivers, climbing trees or being the usual
curious creatures that they are. There is no better inspiration
than that for getting me motivated to paint wildlife. Bears are a
favourite of mine. I think it’s their curiosity that reminds me of
me,” Garbett says.