The rise of new Dawn

U of M alum debuts solo art exhibition

Photo by Carolyne Kroeker.

From Feb. 5 to 16, Cre8ery, an independent art gallery located on the second floor of 125 Adelaide St. in the Exchange District will be launching a new exhibition called Appearance of First Light by Ashleigh Dawn, a U of M alumni and middle years fine arts teacher.

Appearance of First Light is Dawn’s debut exhibition, and for her the show symbolizes the crack of a new dawn or the breaking of the day. It represents her introduction into Winnipeg’s art scene.

“This is my first solo show, so I am just sort of showing the world this new beginning that I am trying to take in my encaustic medium,” Dawn told the Manitoban.

The majority of the exhibition is comprised of encaustic paintings. Encaustic is a style of painting that involves melting beeswax, adding colour pigments, and applying it to a canvas, typically a wood surface. The most famous use of the medium dates back to the first and second centuries C.E. when it was used in the Egyptian Fayum mummy portraits.

Although she is adept in several media such as oil painting, acrylic, watercolour, abstract art, and ceramics, Dawn believes encaustic painting is her preferred medium for now. She appreciates the smooth texture and translucence that is characteristic of encaustic paintings.

“The majority of my work is based on encaustic paintings,” said Dawn.

“They are beautiful pieces that are very soft, and the layers of wax sort of make them hazy.”

The exhibition’s pieces are bold and vibrant. They include colorful paintings of birch trees, blooming flowers, and several birds native to the province. Dawn’s art sparkles and showcases a soft, yet glowing view of nature.

For Dawn, her quest to become a solo artist has been a long and enjoyable ride. Her journey thus far serves as the inspiration for the show. She believes this exhibition creatively highlights who she is as an artist and a person.

Although she appreciates art works that provoke deep thoughts, Dawn pointed out that Appearance of First Light is simply about the appreciation of nature, colours, beauty, and light.

Cre8ery is owned and managed by Jordan Miller, a fellow fine arts graduate from the U of M. In addition to exhibitions, the gallery also runs a workshop program for young artists.

Miller, who was honored with the 2011 YMCA-YWCA Woman of Distinction Award in the Arts category, believes Appearance of First Light is unique to Dawn’s style, especially with beautiful encaustic paintings.

“I think [Dawn] has a nice balance of colours and style in her exhibition […] it’s very colorful, and your eyes kind of bounce around the room as you walk in, and the encaustics are beautiful.”

For more information about Appearance of First Light, exhibition hours, and ticketing, visit