On June 13th, 2021, the Tofino Gallery of Contemporary Art will open its doors to its inaugural exhibition featuring Vancouver Island and BC artists. It has been gallerist Leah McDiarmid’s dream to open a gallery that represents established and emerging artists, and now the dream has materialized into an intimate space which will showcase works in all art forms and mediums. Tofino is a world-class destination situated at the literal end-of-the-road, bordering the shores of Long Beach and the lush forests that sit on the traditional territory of the Tla-o-quiaht First Nation.
Located behind bustling Rhino Coffee House in Tofino’s vibrant village, the TGCA is accessed via a short alleyway which leads visitors to an elegant storefront anchored by a Birgit Piskor sculpture. Surrounded by neighbouring First Nations art galleries, photography ateliers and the eponymous Mark Hobson Gallery, TGCA is centrally located and keeps great company in the arts, restaurants and retail scene.
Leah has been a lover of art and design, and a collector of art since purchasing her first Herbert Siebner painting in her early 20s, paying for it in instalments. She completed an Architectural Interior Design program at Pacific Design Academy in 2008, and an Art History & Visual Studies degree (Honours) at the University of Victoria in 2019. Leah and husband Bruce are long-time residents of Tofino, with Bruce and his brothers having grown up there in the 1960s. The McDiarmid family owns and operates the iconic Wickaninnish Inn at north Chesterman Beach.
The Tofino Gallery of Contemporary Art will be a place to engage with meaningful artworks from both individual and collective artists. Leah McDiarmid is busy preparing for the opening exhibition with aspirations of creating a cultural hub for both locals and tourists.
TGCA will open with a collection of works from Vancouver Island and BC artists: painters Marion Evamy, Irma Soltonovich, Paula Callahan, Arden Rose, and Ira Hoffecker; photographer Stacey Bodnaruk; and sculptors Birgit Piskor and Fran Solar. This group exhibition examines and explores ideas of place, space and form within each artist’s concepts, materials, and processes. Sculptor Birgit Piskor’s sensual forms in modified concrete is largely about transformation. She sees the potential for great beauty in change, where she channels the essence of concrete into shapes and textures that defy its inherent rigidity. “My work is largely about transformation … my intent is to capture that edge of transformation and the liminal space between what is and what is yet to be”.