Born in Regina (she's the sister of Regina-based filmmaker Mark Wihak), Marian Wihak is a graduate of the University of Regina where she studied theatre design. For some time now, she's worked as a designer in film, TV and theatre based largely in Toronto. When not so engaged, she also finds time to paint. This exhibition of large-scale oil paintings, which is on at the Art Gallery of Regina until January 23, was inspired by time Wihak spent recently working on a film in Saskatchewan.
Because of the chilly weather, we didn't have many thunder storms in the province this past summer. But we all realize the immense power of nature and the suddenness with which a storm can brew up when the right combination of heat and humidity are in their air. Quite apart from their value as dramatic skyscapes showing massive clouds and storm systems, Wihak says, "the paintings in this series are expansive, stylized representations that are as much metaphors for spiritual longing as they are portraits of a magnificent geography."
To that extent, the paintings remind me of Taoist-type paintings which, through the scale of the natural features that the artist depicts in comparison to the human viewer, are meant to convey the relative fragility of our existence in a vast and often imperious universe. To put you in the mood to see the show, here's the trailer for the 2000 disaster flick The Perfect Storm. (YouTube)