The Queen, one of about 30 paintings created by artist Sherry Tompalski for the Sex and the Single Seagull show at Gage Gallery starting Feb. 14. (Submitted image)

Single seagull seeks a mate with Gage Gallery show

Sex and the Single Seagull opens Feb. 14 in Oak Bay

Residents may have noticed a particularly large Seagull roaming Oak Bay and Victoria in recent months.

What started as a bit of a community art project in a Beach Drive apartment building, culminates in an art show this month at Gage Gallery.

“We’ve had a lot of fun with it,” said Gage co-operative artist Sherry Tompalski who created the artwork while her partner Graham Thompson created the multi-media showcase Sex and the Single Seagull.

The pair are relatively new to Oak Bay and living on the shoreline, noticed the shorebirds quickly.

“We found out that apparently their population is declining … so we thought let’s do something on them but not overemphasize that part of it,” said Tompalski, who created 30 artworks for the exhibit.

The show is augmented with video of the Thompson as a single seagull seeking a mate in Victoria.

“We even put a dating profile up on the internet. It was all very silly stuff. Surprisingly I’ve had many suitors who were interested. It doesn’t seem to dissuade anyone that I’m wearing a mask,” Thompson said. “All the different places we went were very different and good and didn’t insist we stop filming.”

That started with a trip to Home Depot for chicken wire, Fabricland for felt. With a little construction glue, clamps, input from the neighbours and a mask purchased online.

“No one took a second look at me they just accepted I was a seagull,” Thompson said of outings to Cattle Point, Oak Bay’s popular Halloween bonfire and shops in downtown Victoria. A memorable visit for Tompaslki is Faith Grant’s Antiques on Oak Bay Avenue due to the challenging 10-foot wingspan of the seagull getup.

All the adventures are preserved in video and presented with the show that opens Feb. 14 at Gage Gallery.

“Because of this decrease in the population it’s harder for seagull to meet each other so of course they have to go to internet dating to meet up,” Tompalski said. “He put on the costume to go undercover into the seagull world. There he discovered they were on the internet dating. We just followed up on that theme. It inspired a lot of paintings.”

Tompalski and Thompson have 100-plus art projects in Europe, Asia and North America. Sex and the Single Seagull opens with an event Feb. 14 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Gage Gallery, 2031 Oak Bay Ave. It runs to Feb. 24.

“Hopefully it’ll be just a fun evening and have another look at our friend the seagull,” she said. “We’ve just laughed and laughed. It’s really been humorous and one thing has led to another. It’s organically expanded in different directions.”

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