New Exhibition by Victoria-based painter Barbara Wilson



New Exhibition by Victoria-based painter Barbara Wilson

Cariboo art lovers are about to get a chance to celebrate the life's work of one of their own with the opening of a new show in Wells this month. Barbara Wilson once owned and operated the Wells Hotel, using sales of her artwork to help create and maintain the hotel and gallery as a BC Cariboo Gold Rush heritage attraction.

Born in Winnipeg and growing up mostly in BC, she returns to the Cariboo in May for a new 35-piece exhibit of her work. While not a true retrospective, it remains an opportunity to see Wilson’s current work in the context of a small selection of her past pieces, which were influenced by her training in physics, architecture, and math as well as her passion for dance and new classical music.  They also focus on three primary locations: Barkerville and Mackenzie in BC, and Taiwan.

Since 2012, Wilson’s practice is to meditate until no preconceived forms remain in her mind, and only then touch the canvas. Speaking to her process, Wilson says, ”Going into the canvas is like practising a martial art. Painting is a connection to the breath. We can, through art, connect with the sense rhythms of the body. Painting can be holotropic, a shamanic dance, precipitating an altered state.”

Wilson’s gestural style developed over years of painting and drawing in many genres including landscape, observed architecture and figure.  Pure abstraction has now become her main focus; it is this process of gestural expression moving toward pure abstraction that Wilson brings to IMA this year. Jennifer Iredale curated this exhibition; a long-time curator of Barkerville; she recently retired as head of Heritage for the BC Government.

Reflecting on more than 60 years of art practice, Wilson muses: “Now I put the work out as a personal history writ large, deriving from myriad wonderful personal connections and coincidences.”

WHO: Barbara Wilson art exhibit

WHAT: Coming From Nowhere: Thoughts Beyond Reality

WHEN: May 19 – June 12

WHAT TIME: Opening: May 19 at 7pm.    Artist Talk: May 20 at 7pm.

WHERE: Island Mountain Arts Gallery – 2323 Pooley Street, Wells, BC

Barbara Wilson

For more information about the show or any of the programs offered, visit the Island Mountain Arts website at, call 1-800-442-2787, or email For more info on the ArtsWells Festival Of All Things Art please visit