A shared but distinguished vision of art

Lisa Goudy
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Twin sisters Debbie Richards and Diane Stewart have more in common than their blood relation.

The two local artists have their exhibition, Double Vision, on display at the Mosaic Gallery in the Moose Jaw Cultural Centre until Jan. 18. The official opening of the exhibit was on Saturday. Richards is a quilting artist while Stewart is a textile-painting artist.

“It is the two vision, the double vision obviously, of twin sisters, the ways we have looking at the world that are similar and yet different,” said Richards. “We’ve used the same photograph as our source and we’ve interpreted it in our own way, but it’s very unified because of size and the fabrics used have relation to one another.”

Richards uses fabric with a few embellishments and Stewart uses the same fabrics.

“It’s neat because you see it from far away and it looks like a pretty picture and you see it close up and (say), ‘Oh my goodness. These are individual pieces of fabric and individual bits of embroidery,’” said Richards.

The exhibit features 30 pieces and the project began in 2009. After the first three sets, the sisters submitted proposals to galleries across Canada.

“It takes a number of months to do each piece,” said Richards. “One is super realistic and the other one is abstract.”

Each photo used as inspiration for the art holds special meaning for the sisters. For instance, one inspiration photo was where the sisters grew up on Lake Huron, another is where Stewart’s daughter got married, one is a path by Stewart’s house and yet another is a still of Richards’ husband’s hockey equipment.

“So it’s all things that mean so much to us. We’ve either been there together, taken the photograph together or else they mean something to both of us together,” said Richards, who grew up in Sarnia, Ont. and has lived in Moose Jaw since 1985. “The main thing is just that there’s so much joy in being able to produce art that is quite joyful and the reason it is so joyful is that our relationship is like that.

“We are so close and have such a strong bond that I’m hoping that really comes out in the art, that joy of living and being together.”

Stewart is a professional artist, but Richards first taught piano lessons for 27 years. Richards said her art is on a “continuum. It’s still expressing yourself just in a visual way instead of a listening way.”

While each sister’s interpretation is similar and yet different, Richards and Stewart are constantly learning from each other.

“It’s drawn us closer together because it gives us a chance to do our own thing and yet be working on the same thing. So we’re sharing a common language,” said Richards. “It’s been really enlightening for me and it’s been a real growing experience for me.

“On the other hand, she says it’s also been very broadening for her because she’s using colours in her palette that she’s never used before. So it’s been good both ways.”

Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.

Organizations: Double Vision, Mosaic Gallery, Moose Jaw Cultural Centre

Geographic location: Canada, Lake Huron, Sarnia Moose Jaw

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