People chat during the opening reception for Art of the Portrait

People chat during the opening reception for Art of the Portrait

Art of the Portrait fills Cultural Centre gallery

A range of striking portraits grace the Art Gallery at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre until August 25.

“Eclectic” is a word that’s perhaps overused when describing art shows, but for this one it may be apt.

The Art of the Portrait is the latest offering by members of the Chilliwack Visual Artists Association in the Art Gallery at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre until August 25.

For textile artist Judy Hurley, it’s the rich textures and colours that she loves.

When the opportunity came along to do a portrait for the show, she created two characters with three dimensional crocheted hats that she called, A Gal in a Hat, and A Guy in a Cap.

Both faces are set in a backdrop made from an old tapestry from the 1980s that has an antique look.

“I thought it was a challenge to do something fun.”

She used all kinds of techniques to get different effects, like steaming the fabric to alter the look.

As a textile artist, she works with fabric, thread and beads.

“I use anything I can find that can be sewn down,” she says. Hurley’s background was in textiles and fashion, as head of fashion at Kwantlen and UFV, until she retired in 2005.

“People say I should put my work under glass, but I think the tactile aspect is important.”

She doesn’t even mind if people want to reach out and touch her work, which of course is not always the case for most art exhibitors.

“It doesn’t bother me at all,” she said. “It’s about the mood of the moment and the experience. I say go ahead.”

She’s aware the conservationist point of view is to avoid touching it to preserve the materials’ longevity and durability.

“I say who cares.”

The show offers a stunning array of portraiture in various styles and media from paintings, drawings and sculpture, to ceramics and textiles.

“The only limitation is the artist’s own imagination!” says Mary Chalmers Main, spokesperson for the CVAA. “This makes for a very interesting and eclectic exhibition.”

The gallery on Corbould Street is open Wednesdays to Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m.