It will be a full retrospective of work for Chilliwack artist Evelyn Zuberbier as she presents her last solo exhibition at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre starting this week.
The show, A Touch of Earth XII, is 70 years in the making and will feature a huge variety of her work including two of the first paintings she did when she was just 12 years old.
You can tell by looking at those two paintings from the late 1940s — a winter scene in the country, and a deer in the snow — that Zuberbier was born with an artistic side.
“One of my teachers — I guess she figured I had some talent — she saw a ray of hope in me and she told my folks to encourage me that way,” she says.
And so her parents did. For her 12th Christmas, Zuberbier was given a set of oil paints and brushes (she still has some of those little tubes of paints). She didn’t have any canvases when she got those first paints, so she dug up some old, fabric window blinds from a closet in her house and started painting.
What followed was seven decades of producing art.
Zuberbier was born in Red Deer, Alta., grew up on a cattle ranch, and moved to Chilliwack in 1981. She is a co-founder and lifetime member of the Chilliwack Visual Artists Association.
She’s gone from using oil paints at 12 years old to watercolours later in life. Now Zuberbier mainly uses acrylics, and she paints anything and everything.
|Rainy Day in Paris by Evelyn Zuberbier.|
“You name it, and I’ve painted it,” she says. “I like doing anything that excites me. The thing that spurs my spirit, my creativity, is light and the way that light catches things.”
You’ll notice her love of reflective surfaces like metal, water and glass, but also her admiration of nature and people. She photographs places and people everywhere she goes and then comes home and transforms her images and memories into paintings.
“Everything was self taught,” she adds. “I never went to art school at all.”
Her work can be found throughout the world in private collections. In fact, her watercolour painting ‘Prairie Wagon’ hangs in the home of the former Prime Minister of Japan.
In A Touch of Earth XII, you’ll see landscapes featuring various seasons, portraits, scenes from trips to Europe, classic cars and hood ornaments, still life, and more.
She figures she’s painted hundreds of pieces (probably more), but as the decades have gone by, Zuberbier’s eyesight has deteriorated.
She has macular degeneration and has been getting treatment for the past five years to help slow down its effects.
Details in her work have become distorted and straight lines appear crooked and wavy as she paints.
Regardless, she says it’s not going to stop her from painting. She now positions the canvas closer to her and sometimes uses a magnifying glass to help her see better.
“I deal with it because I’m thankful I can see as much as I can,” she says. “I can still paint everything I want to.”
Catch Zuberbier’s final solo art exhibition A Touch of Earth XII Aug. 28 to Oct. 5 in the O’Connor Group Art Gallery at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre. Opening reception is Saturday, Sept. 7 from 1 to 3 p.m. Admission is free.