Drawn Together Collective
Opening Reception: Thursday January 21, 7:30PM
Drawn Together is a collective of women artists working in southwestern Manitoba. Using vastly different media and coming together from a broad range of backgrounds and experiences, members of the group support and encourage each other’s art practices through studio visits, exhibitions, and knowledge sharing. This is the first exhibition organized by the collective, taking the children’s song Heads, Shoulders, Knees & Toes as a starting point. The exhibition is a gathering of the work the members of the collective have done, “putting their heads, and sometimes shoulders, knees, and toes together – for over a year.” The resulting pieces all reference the body: a human body, an animal body, a hybrid body, a clay body, a mythical body, or a body that is fragmented, soft, vulnerable, and armoured.
Amy Buehler examines the objectification of the female form in popular culture, particularly art, media and advertising. With 1950’s fashion design as the source material for Driven to Abstraction, Buehler uses formalist theory to construct images representing the interdependence and collaboration of women. In Woman Sitting, the figure is as much an object as the chair she sits on.
Becky Chin’s two groups of watercolour paintings respond to the song and physical movement of the song: memory sketches of dresses she wore for violin recitals over forty years ago, alongside flamenco dancers, and memories of her trip to Spain.
Susana Danyliuk’s painting is symbolic of her journey back to health from depression after an unanticipated life change. In this work the body symbolizes a protective cocoon. Danyliuk says “As every person, creature suffers their own unspeakable pain or unplanned forks in the road.... our physical selves insist on survival.”
Through the augmentation of the elements of functional ceramics that reference the body, such as the foot, lip and shoulder, Anne Fallis Elliott allows eyes and other body parts to emerge from her ewers and teapots. The result is a menagerie of metamorphosing vessels.
Using a range of printmaking techniques,Basma Kavanagh creates a lush and complex surface evoking the galaxy of thoughts, feelings, and memory inside the mind. This space is apparently infinite, yet contained by the skull: “The Brain – is wider than the Sky – /For – put them side by side –/ The one the other will contain/With ease – and You – beside ” Emily Dickinson, poem 632.
Lisa Lysack uses the image of a single figure to examine themes of endurance and exposure. In her works of a lone swimmer she explores the notion of "keeping your head above water".
Driven by her love of animals Mary Lowe strives to capture their spirit in clay and through paint. She sculpts graceful equine heads with powerful shoulders that embody strength, and playful cats with bellies that call to be petted.
Gerry Oliver was inspired by Chinese calendar animals and jigsaw puzzles to use cut-out shapes to assemble brightly colored playful animals. While their overall form represents recognizable animal types, the shapes used to construct them suggest that underneath the skin each creature is unique.
In her recent works on paper, Cheryl Orr-Hood uses the habits of barn swallows occupying an abandoned farm workshop to pay homage to the activities of the humans who worked there once. Through images of graceful arching patterns the birds form as they fly over the barn Orr-Hood symbolizes the rhythm of labour that, by the end of the day, was felt through limbs up through shoulders and down past knees to toes.
Rosemarie Péloquin’s needle felted portraits represent character rather than physical likeness. She uses the malleability and texture of wool to create heads that appear eerily paused in mid-thought.
Janet Shaw-Russell’s work evokes the fragility and resilience of the human body. Janet uses delicate paper sewing patterns as the foundation for anatomical drawings and sculptures. To delve inside our most intimate dwelling place, she cuts away and adds layers to a plate of frosted mylar. This process creates the subtle tonal variations of her pressure prints on paper.
By embellishing wool sweaters with whimsical needle felted elements Chris Reid offers potential wearers a method to cope with “wearing the weight of the world on their shoulders”. The overall initial impression of the work is colorfully playful but details such as plants with eyes, teeth and creeping roots reveal an underlying darkness.