Artists lost but not forgotten

BARRY’S BAY – Currently on display, at the South of 60 Arts Centre, are exhibits from two local artists who definitely made impacts on their respective communities; Clark Guettel and Hazel Wellington-Devereux.

Although the artists did the bulk of their artistic creation within different eras, there are inspirational similarities between the ways each of them lived their lives.
Guettel passed away in 2011 while Wellington-Devereux passed on in 1982.
Curator for the centre, Anya Blake, was on hand for an exclusive guided walkthrough of both exhibits for The Valley Gazette on September 5.
Having known Guettel during his lifetime, Blake remembers his uniquely creative, glass-blowing abilities from a personal perspective.
“I saw him in his studio while he was creating many times. It’s a really interesting and physically involved process. So in fact, these glass balls, which are quite popular, are a definite item of interest. His breath is probably still inside these balls, because you have to blow through a long pipe into the molten glass which makes the shape. He also used special tools to make the shape. And the centrifugal force plays a part, as well,” Blake noted.
Guettel mentioned this breathing process many times to Blake and many others, publicly, and believed that a piece of himself would stay with his art forever because of the unique process.
In fact, on his very own website, Guettel summed up his own process by saying, “I create directly, breathing life into molten glass through a steel blowpipe.”
Another slogan on the wall of his exhibit, which contains a cartoonish picture of Guettel, also reads “Hot glass has a voice. I listen to what it says. It inspires me and through a dialogue, we create together.”
Guettel lived in the area from 1974 until his passing in 2011, and Blake remembers him as a lively and contributing member of the artistic community.
“He studied at Sheridan College in the 1970’s but his home was here. He was involved with the Madawaska Valley Arts Council and he was also a part of the annual studio tour,” Blake noted.
The exhibit contains a variety of glass creations, including items such as colourfully speckled bowls, rimmed wine goblets, orbs, friendship balls and much more.
In an upstairs studio with the centre, though, another artist’s work is being displayed in conjunction with Guettel’s exhibit.
The second artist is question is local oil painter Hazel Wellington-Devereux.
Having taught Grade 8 in Brantford, Ontario for 34 years, Wellington-Devereux only unleashed her artistic side in her spare time.
In the summers, she would continually enrol herself in painting classes and even ventured as far as the Banff School of Art.
While painting at a leisurely pace, and teaching within the realm of the Silver Art Club between 1947 and 1960, she made friends with none other than the prominent Canadian painter A.Y. Jackson.
Story continues in the September 12, 2012 issue of The Valley Gazette.