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Dita Arntzen (1925-2000) : Artist of Light

Vancouver East Cultural Centre, Vancouver
May 27, 2001 - Jul 1, 2001

Dita Arntzen, America's Sweetheart (2000),

This exhibit and its accompanying catalogue are a tribute to Vancouver collage artist Dita Arntzen. Arntzen brought together imagery from such disparate sources as high quality fine art, auction and architecture magazines. Always a perfectionist in fine detail and composition, she produced both 2D and 3D collages.

This shows displays samples of the bright bocchi balls and small boxes that she painstakingly transformed with tiny, symmetrically positioned decorative pictures. Larger wall pieces are lavishly layered with art historical references, coupled with small creatures like frogs or fish placed against - and seemingly drifting within - gorgeous, guileless skies. Floating objects seem to float out of the pictures and into the viewer's space. They are simultaneously narrative, whimsical and spiritual.

Each picture seems to have only one light source: a kind of ethereal illumination that she occasionally manipulated with paint or ink to better unify the pieces. One fragment melts into the next, appearing to share the same light, the same colour palette and the same vision. The edges are so seamless that the gaze moves from region to region without pause or rift.

Dita Arntzen's lively spirit will live on in all who view these works.

© Mia Johnson