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Rico’s new form flows through the Jasper Art Gallery



Jasper artist Rico’s latest exhibit, OneLine, meanders its way through the Jasper Art Gallery’s lower studio from April 20-May 14. | C. Gilbert photo

Local artist Rico’s second exhibit in as many months is unfolding downstairs at the Jasper Art Gallery.

OneLine, is a collection of stories told through images drawn with one continuous line along a narrow slat of folder cardstock. The cardstock then folds like an accordion into a book and in turn is housed in a striking box hand painted by Rico. The exhibit opens April 20.

Filled in with watercolours, each book tells a story and can be enjoyed by either flipping through it or stretching it out and taking in the buffet of imagery all at once.

“I like both ways,” she said, explaining that some books will be stretched out and hung in the gallery, while others will be left in their boxes to be experienced in a more tactile manner.

One book captures Canada Day from the pancake breakfast, through to the parade before moving onto the fireworks, entirely in reds. Another explores the connections and separations of the real and virtual worlds by wandering back and forth between natural factors and their online presence: a squirrel is seen outside, then photographed and posted on Facebook, which starts a conversation between the artist and distant friends.

“This is my first time drawing ‘inside the computer,’” Rico explained. “It seems like a different world, very separate but very connected. I’m interested in the reactions people will have because so many of us spend so much time on the Internet.”

Rico’s last exhibit at the Jasper-Yellowhead Museum and Archives was an illuminating gathering of art framed in a variety of wood boxes that were thematically backlit.

She said then, as she said now, that she doesn’t think a whole lot about the how or why as she’s diving into a new form, and that the continuous line work’s genesis is rooted in an art and garden tour she participated in three years ago. She wanted to work with something she could carry around that would emulate the long, narrow home garden that was to be her muse for the three hours she had to create the piece.

“I’ve been fascinated to work with this technique since,” she said. “I just go with it, I don’t think about it.”

The gala opening will be held on Friday, April 21, from 7-9 p.m. and will feature a cash bar and Japanese food.

The show represents the third and final installment of JAG’s winter series, curated for the 12th consecutive year by Greg Deagle.

“It’s great to see an artist like Rico pushing the envelope when she comes to us with different hanging technologies, a different technique and different materials,” he said. “We can depend on Rico to challenge us with unorthodox forms. It’s good for the guild membership to see.”

Craig Gilbert |

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