The Reach Gallery Museum is a triumphant addition to the Abbotsford arts scene. Aside from being able to house high-quality travelling arts exhibitions, the Reach also highlights the work of talented local artists. Heinz Klassen is one such artist.
Klassen’s collection, Drawing & Colouring: A Visual Diary, features suites of small drawings on postcard-sized pieces of paper, grouped together in custom frieze-like frames. Not only does each frame highlight one of Klassen’s personal explorations, but it also reflects on his emotions towards each experience.
Each image contains two main elements: an ink etching of the scene, and watercolours over top that bring the sketch to life. These elements combine to create a playful companionship, each complementing the other. From a distance, the highlight is the watercolour, which sets the overall tone of the image. When you look closer, you can appreciate the finer details of the drawn lines of the ink, which adds to the emotional expression to the piece.
The collection is laid out side-by-side along the wall, and within each frame are seven postcard-size art pieces (with the exception of one piece with eight, and three with 12) that reflect different states or viewpoints of a similar place. The best example of this comes in Klassen’s frame, “Along the Chilliwack River to Chilliwack Lake.” Klassen portrays these familiar locations in a way that feels as though you are walking up the Chilliwack River Valley with Klassen acting as your eyes. When the images finally reach the vastness of the lake, you can almost feel a serenity come over you: tired from the walk up, but grateful for the beauty of the view.
All of Klassen’s frames reflect on nature and architecture, with the exception of the “Travellers and Diners Series,” which proves to be one of Klassen’s most intriguing works. The collection’s greatest feat is the humanity that can be felt within each image. Throughout Klassen’s collection, the tone and mood of each piece is a strength, but it is particularly noticeable within these frames.
“Manhattan, NY” demonstrates some of the many great architectural features of the Manhattan skyline. What separates these frames from Klassen’s others is the attention to detail. This piece maintains stronger images that are well-defined and show incredible depth and awareness of space.
The diversity and complexity of Klassen’s watercolour collection makes it a must see. Drawing & Colouring: A Visual Diary will be on display at the Reach until October 4. Admission is by donation.