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Exhibition "Everything Is Shining" by James Savage

  • Island Mountain Arts 2323 Pooley Street Wells, BC, V0K 2R0 Canada (map)

Please join us in the IMA Gallery at 7pm on Friday, August 30 for the Opening of “Everything is Shining” an exhibition by Quesnel artist, James Savage. Artist Talk at 7:30pm. The exhibition runs until Sunday, September 29.

James Savage
Everything is shining

Everything we do now, intentionally or not, happens in the context of unprecedented world-wide environmental crises. These changes have deep regional resonance, especially climate change-induced insect explosions and catastrophic wildfires, both of which are evident or threatened in the forests surrounding this gallery.

Almost all works are imaginary and emerge from a long process, usually lasting weeks, of striving to depict ideas and evoke feelings. The title refers to the light, shadow and colour in most pieces, but more importantly to the spiritual (illumined, shining) feeling, and sense of connection, mystery and transcendence we can have when experiencing the natural world—even the simple pleasure of a campfire. The fear of impending disaster is also here, such as that shown in the old canvas wall tent. The tent is a literal connector to nature, and viewers are invited to sit on the chair inside.

In the context of the above discussion, the idea of “ecstatic realism” has emerged for me. The term appears in literary criticism in a mostly unrelated way, but I’ve not seen it applied to visual art. The concept is tentative, and defines a defiant, hopeful spirit to bring to art-making in this era of great change. A striving to depict sublime natural beauty, stimulate spiritual ecstasy through the action of art-making (e.g., the trance-dancing of the Sufi tradition), and to resist nihilism despite the calamities we’re creating.

This exhibit also includes an homage to and reframe of Alex Colville’s Horse and train (1954), one of the most recognizable Canadian works of art. Please see a discussion of this near the work.

I deeply appreciate the opportunity to display this work and the skilled help of staff. Thank you, Island Mountain Arts.


A few reproductions from this and previous shows are displayed in the gift shop. Please talk to gallery staff to order a reproduction of any of the pieces in the show (high quality giclee print on paper, canvas, or canvas wrapped around a frame). Pricing will be consistent with the reproductions on display.


James (Jim) Savage is a BC-based painter, musician and community worker. Works to date are almost always expressively colourful, and usually inspired by ideas about rural life, wilderness and human relationship to nature. To date, works have been purchased by parties from Canada, the UK, Germany and the USA. The tent installed in this exhibition was constructed by my father, includes a chair refinished by my mother, and was installed by my brother.

Earlier Event: August 22
Annual Community Céilidh & Potluck
Later Event: September 12
ArtsWells Community Meeting