In Memoriam – Will Datene

In Memoriam – Will Datene

Photo: © Will Datené

WILL DATENÉ 1948-2018

We are deeply saddened by the death of Will Datené on Monday November 5, 2018, while out exploring the West Coast’s light with his camera. Internationally-known photographer, teacher and mentor, Will was a founding member of Friends of the Cowichan Valley Public Art Gallery and fully committed to the creation of a world-class public art gallery and cultural centre for the Cowichan Valley.

Born in Aachen, Germany, Will emigrated at the age of 10 with his family to live in New York City. In 1968 he moved to Canada.

Will studied at The New School: a New York City university which was established in the early 20th C to offer students studies in multi-disciplinary academic and creative contexts, achieving new ways of viewing the world and social problem-solving. Here, Will joined alumni such as John Cage, Jasper Johns, Eleanor Roosevelt, Marlon Brando, Jack Kerouac, Christopher Hitchens and other seminal 20th C and contemporary artists, thinkers and innovators. Will’s professional career began as first assistant to 3 top fashion photographers, followed by work with a commercial product photography studio.

In Canada, Will studied in the BCIT Professional Photography Program, and taught professional photography with North Island College, and Continuing Studies photography courses, Camosun College. Latterly, Will’s creative work focussed on stock photography, represented by Age Fotostock (Spain/New York), First Light (Toronto) and Superstock (Florida).

To this beholder’s eyes, Will’s photographic vision is uncannily luminous and mystical. It juxtaposes earthy engorged colour with poignantly realized black and white tones. The affect is a rendering of — strangely classical — romantic decadence. A stack of antiquary books, for instance, piles melancholy green-decayed light on classically-gilded book leaves. A rooster flaunts violently erotic saturated hues. A Dog’s dark molten eyes mirror his Friend’s empathic gaze to the beholder. Adrift in sun motes issuing through a derelict doorway, the anachronism of a young cowboy clutches time’s breath.

This lyrically dark psychological stain shifts into Will’s other ludic voice, as seen in the CVPAG Society’s logo: a dog with a bone who playfully escapes the picture frame.

Authentic, warm and delightful as a person, Will Datené’s “passion and vision” emerge as a clear ethic “to seek out a more just, beautiful and better-designed world.”

Written by Wendy Robison

The Beholder’s Share — Colour

From: Kandel, Eric R. The Age of Insight; The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind, and Brain, From Vienna 1900 to the Present. NY, Random, 2012, pp.103; 341-6

“Klimt’s new style also incorporated another modern idea – that of the beholder’s share, the viewer’s relation to art. . . .

Color is uniquely important in the primate brain, much as face and hand representations are, and that is why color signals are processed differently in the brain than light and forms.

We perceive colors as possessing distinct emotional characteristics, and our reaction to those characteristics varies with our mood. Thus, unlike spoken language, which often has an emotional significance regardless of context, color can mean different things to different people. In general, we prefer pure, bright colors to mixed, dull colors. Artists specifically modernist painters, have used exaggerated color as a way to generate emotional effects, but the value of that emotion depends on the viewer and the context. This ambiguity with respect to color may be another reason why a single painting can elicit such different responses from different viewers or even from the same viewer at different times. Color also enables us to discern objects and patterns by enhancing figure-ground discrimination.

. . . our brain perceives forms largely through luminance (brightness) values, like those seen in black and white photographs. Color, therefore, can be used – indeed was used by Van Gogh and later artists – not simply to depict the natural surface of objects, but also to express a wide spectrum of emotion in new and more vivid ways. . . . Particularly important is the fact that we perceive an object’s color as much as 100 milliseconds before its form or motion. This difference in timing is analogous to the fact that we perceive the expression of a face before we perceive its identity. In both cases, our brain processes aspects of the image that relate to emotional perception more rapidly than aspects that relate to form, thus setting the emotional tone for the form – the object or the face – confronting us. . . .

Artists have long intuited the separation between color and form, often forsaking aspects of one to emphasize those of the other. . .allow[ing] the viewer to dedicate more of the brain’s limited attentional resources to the perception of pure color . . . their explosive chromatic range exerts an unprecedented emotional thrust.”

Wu Yongping – In search of New materials

Wu Yongping – In search of New materials

image: Cutting Across Space

Sculptor Wu Yongping lives and works in Shanghai, China, though his
work and reputation is international. Currently, Wu Yongping is engaged
in creating new sculptural works, as well as teaching arts education. This
Associate Professor of the Sculpture Department at the Central Academy
of Fine Art says that new art work involves researching and exploring new
material. But he also continues to use familiar materials such as applied
lacquer and glass casting.

”There is no end to creative direction;
I will insist on creating new works every year,
no matter which form and material it is made
from, and more importantly maintain the
highest state of creation.

Art has no borders, regardless of race, religion,
or color, but only aesthetics; its fundamental
purpose is creation.

Art brings me unlimited creativity, and I believe,
unlimited creativity brings people happiness.”

– Wu Yongping

From Sculptures Pacific Magazine (2013/issue 8)
Courtesy of Jock and Carmen Hildebrand

read the full article: Wu Yongping – Sculptures Pacific magazine, 2013, issue 8




2018 Fall Studio Tour
November 3 and 4, 11:00 am to 5:00 pm daily
“Marvel at the passion and creativity in these unique studios where they bring their inspiration and perfect craft.  These award winning fine craft artisans will amaze you with their exceptional talents.”“Meet the friendly artisans, browse their galleries and take home wonderful memories and exquisite treasures.”

CVPAG members included in this year’s Fall Tour:



Christie’s auctions first AI artwork for
$432,500.00 (U.S.)

read the article on Christie’s websiteI heard this story being discussed on the radio while driving home and wanted immediately to share this with our group’s members.

As an artist; I am still processing this event and am not sure at all how I feel about this development.  It is not just about the money (which is attention-grabbing), but the methods used to create the final image raise questions about what can be considered art and does an artist need to be involved at all?

On Forest Bathing   – by Dorian Melton

On Forest Bathing – by Dorian Melton

The positive feelings many people feel while being in Nature are well known, but the Japanese concept of “Shinrin-yoku”, or “Forest Bathing” takes the experience to another level.

Forest Bathing does not involve any particular exercise or activity beyond simply spending time in a forest.  Among the benefits said to come from spending time in this way this are: lower blood pressure, stress reduction, improved mood and improved sleep.  Making such visits to the forest a regular practice is said to be valuable in maintaining one’s overall health and happiness.

The Cowichan Valley is blessed with rich, verdant forests in which to “Forest Bathe”, for which I am thankful, but this concept is of particular interest to me as an artist as well.

I am inclined to believe that spending time surrounded by art has benefits similar to those said to be associated with spending time in the forest (stress reduction, improved mood etc.).   During visits to great public art galleries while travelling in Europe; time seemed to slow down for me…quietly focusing on a particular work of art for minutes at a time can be a kind of meditation.

I look forward to having a Public Art gallery in the Cowichan Valley where art can work its healing magic on visitors.

For more on Forest Bathing and nature therapy:

Book Review

Book Review

“Art, magic, and the occult have been intimately linked since our prehistoric ancestors created the first cave paintings some 50,000 years ago. As civilizations developed, these esoteric forces continued to drive culture forward, both visibly and behind the scenes, from the Hermetic ideas of the Renaissance, to the ethereal worlds of 19th century Symbolism, to the occult interests of the Surrealists. ”
– Amazon review

“Drawing on examples that range from Internet retailer Zappos to the comedy troupe Upright Citizens Brigade to a daring gang of jewel thieves, Coyle offers specific strategies that trigger learning, spark collaboration, build trust, and drive positive change.”

“Combining leading-edge science, on-the-ground insights from world-class leaders, and practical ideas for action, The Culture Code offers a roadmap for creating an environment where innovation flourishes, problems get solved, and expectations are exceeded.”
– Amazon review

Review by Bonnie Schmaus
CVPAG Treasurer


A quote from the back cover – the book is a “deep exploration of occulture (the liminal space where art and magic meet)” …. Carl “reveals the integral role played by magic and occultism in the development of culture throughout history”… ideas from “Carl Jung, Anton LaVey, Paul Bowles, Aleister Crowley, and Rudolf Stein”.

Culture Code:
It’s an education on the dynamics of groups across cultures and classes – a helpful and fascinating read.

I found the story on film maker Stanley Kubrick, quite amusing.  He claimed in his later years: “ I perpetuated a huge fraud ”  – in regards to the Apollo 8 moon landing.

Both books offer lots of insight and are written through conversations with some of our more thoughtful and provocative creators, thinkers and tinkerers. 

**Please support your local bookstore or Library

Artist Profile

Artist Profile

Yuko Yamamoto
Interdisciplinary Artist
– by Wendy Robison “Art is the purest expression of passion.”
– Yuko Yamamoto

Interdisciplinary artist Yuko Yamamoto conceives and practises creativity in many languages – paint, fibre, ancient ‘Yuzen’ wood-block, printing-making, text, performance art . . .

 “I wanted to explore, experience — not reject — different ideas and cultures – sound production, sculpture, movement in performance, directing in performance, making sound from my drawings. Tradition kills uniqueness.
When I was 4, my mother took me to an art tutor. Also, I took flute lessons. And I loved to climb trees. I wanted to jump higher than high.”


Being risky generates an aura of power and that power Yuko experiences in the creative act.  Yuko believes it is in the process of being utterly honest, intense, human, that art achieves authenticity.  And this process illuminates for Yuko the fundamental desire to be a human being. “I open myself to you.”


Born in Japan, Yuko studied and practised as a clinical psychologist.  During graduate studies at the Arts Institute of Chicago she transposed to performance art. “In North America, I found an openness, a generosity to explore creatively.”

Emigrating to the Cowichan Valley, Yuko and Hiroshi and their two daughters live in a wild mountain garden, yellow Leopard’s Bane dancing up the forest drive.  Yuko has opened herself to the Valley’s vibrant life:  offering workshops, bringing visiting Japanese artists, engaging with many local artists, arts groups, galleries, and in experimental creative projects, working with Providence Farm.   Click here to see the video.

She travels often to Japan, connecting with Japanese artists, curating exhibits and teaching, taking Canadian visiting artists to study and share in Japanese culture.  Twice, Yuko has arranged for the extraordinarily vital octogenarian Master Koyama to teach, in Valley studios, the ancient Yuzen wood-block printing technique used in kimono-making.  Click here to see the video.

As a performance artist, Yuko participates internationally.  Performance art, she emphasises, uses a body that is not trained to be an art object, exposing the body directly as the art material. Performance art is not acting. It’s creating physically with the body to expose one’s Self in beauty and authenticity. It must feel utterly truthful.

“The most important thing about performance art is feeling everything is right about one’s body: loving oneself. It hurts and it heals. It pulls the pure passion of madness into art.”

Yuko’s curatorial work in Tokyo, when Vancouver Island artists Cathi Jefferson and Gloria Daley showed their works.  The articles explain how they successfully interacted with local Japanese people.

Election Related

We asked candidates in the recent local municipal elections if they could support our cause…this was our question: I’m Jock Hildebrand and I am the president of the “Friends of the Cowichan Public Art Gallery Society” a registered group under the Societies Act.
We have been in existence for a year now, we have 60 plus paid up membership and we have 200 people who receive our monthly news letter.  Our intention is to bring the valley a purpose built Schedule “A” Public Art Gallery. This designation would allow the gallery to bring any exhibition from Canada and around our world.  Our honourary Chair person and Champion is the valley’s well known citizen, Jean Crowder.

Would this be a project you could support?

Michelle Staples  ELECTED  Mayor, City of Duncan

“This sounds like a wonderful opportunity for the valley and it is good to hear so many people are coming together to make this happen.”

Carol Newington ELECTED  Council, City of Duncan
“Thank you, Jock, for the email and yes this is a project that I could get behind. Yet another reason to visit the Cowichan Valley!”

Kate Marsh ELECTED  Council, North Cowichan
“I have heard about this initiative and think it would be wonderful to have a Schedule A public art gallery in the valley. Thank you for taking the initiative on this.”

Bob Brooke ELECTED  Council, North Cowichan
“What a tremendous idea! If elected I would not only support this but advocate for it.  Good Luck!”

Christopher Justice ELECTED  Council, North Cowichan
“I think that a public art gallery would be a great addition to the arts scene in the Cowichan Valley. As a photographic artist myself, I am attracted to the idea of an art gallery. But it would have a broader function. I believe that a key to our economic development involves transitioning from a resource based economy to a broader base. One key to this is attracting young entrepreneurs and other investors to the valley, those people who can live wherever they choose. Such people are more likely to pick a place to settle based on the availability of lifestyle amenities including great natural beauty and recreational opportunities, good schools and health care, and access to the arts.”

Rosalie Sawrie ELECTED  Council, North Cowichan
“Yes of course I would support a project that would bring different art exhibits from across the country.”

Art is Medicine

Art is Medicine


Quebec Doctors to prescribe Museum visits for chronic pain, depression From the article:

“I am convinced that in the 21st century, culture will be what physical activity was for health in the 20th century,” said MMFA director Nathalie Bondil in a statement.

“Cultural experiences will benefit health and wellness, just as engaging in sports contributes to fitness,” she said.