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Former gallery owner returns to painter roots with solo show

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Cathy Dobson

There’s a special moment at the end of a beach day when the crowd thins and the stillness of the sand and the rush of the waves is mesmerizing.

“As a lifeguard years ago, that’s when I developed a kinship with the water,” says Sarnia’s Lynne Brogden.

“Whether it’s water vapour, ice or liquid, I have a love of water and that’s what I’m portraying,” she said gesturing around downtown’s R.W. Lawton Gallery and her solo show.

Brogden is better known in the community for being an art dealer for 25 years and owner/curator of the Kenneith Gallery on Vidal Street North.

Through the decades, she was also raising a family and assisting her husband Al with their engineering firm, but she stole time here and there to do painting and sculpture.

“At high school in Toronto I won a scholarship to the Ontario College of Art,” she said. “But before I could go, our family moved to Sarnia because my father was transferred here by Dow.”

She never did go to art college and eventually majored in home economics at university. But Brogden took art courses when she could and used her artistic eye to work as an interior decorator for a time.

“I really didn’t paint for 30 years but finally, four years ago, time was available.” In 2010, she collaborated with a few local artists and friends to hold an exhibition at a local gallery. She uses her middle name Kenneith to sign her paintings.

That’s when her appreciation surfaced for American pop artist Jim Dine.

Dine loves heart shapes and frequently paints them in abstract technicolour.  Brogden did the same, enjoying it so much that hearts are the theme of her new show, “The Small Heart of Things,” that opened Nov. 7.

She’s combined the hearts with her fascination with Lake Huron, creating small and large canvases of modern and abstract paintings in acrylic and pastels.

“I had to get hearts out of my system,” she laughed, pointing to a collection on one wall of dozens of small 2.5-inch X 2.5-inch blocks, each adorned with a stylized heart or star.

They sell for $10 each or two for $15 and are meant to be tokens of friendship, Brogden explained.


WHAT:  The Small Heart of Things, a solo show by Lynne Brogden.

WHERE: R.W. Lawton Gallery, next to the Imperial Theatre on Christina Street.

WHEN: Until Dec. 1., 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday and on performance nights.  Meet the artist Nov. 22 from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.

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