From March 5-15, seven local artists who all graduated simultaneously from the University of Manitoba’s school of art are collaborating to showcase an art exhibit aptly called Re:Union at Cre8ery gallery and studio, which is located at 125 Adelaide St. in Winnipeg’s exchange district.
The artists – Elaine Baril, Jordan Miller, Brian Pollreis, John Roshon, Dawn Wilkinson, Louise Valcourt, and Stevan Siemens – all attended the U of M together from 1997-2003 and have displayed shows with one another at a few venues over the years.
The Re:Union show, however, marks the first time all seven former classmates will be displaying their work together since graduation. Each artist brings to the table their distinctive and unique art styles to spice up the exhibit.
Miller owns and runs Cre8ery, and it was her idea to finally get the group back together to display under one roof.
“We are all graduates of the U of M bachelor of arts honors programs,” Miller told the Manitoban.
“Some of us started a gallery after art school, and some of us continued to exhibit together.”
According to Miller, in 2002, five out of the seven started a gallery called Five on Third, which was eventually renamed to Outworks Gallery and lasted from 2005 – 2011.
Whether they owned a gallery together or simply collaborated on shows, all the artists have managed to keep in touch with one another over the past 13 years.
This show aims to promote the idea of long-term collaborations amongst artists.
“Over the years we have kept in touch through not only showing together, but have also made a point to reach out and get together as friends, and reconnect from time to time,” said Valcourt.
Re:Union works to highlight the artists’ unique styles, and how they compliment each other: Baril draws inspirations for her paintings from nature, while Miller wander freely within the confines of her canvas by creating abstract paintings. Pollreis’s works explore three-dimensional media and his own perception of nature, whereas Roshon uses wood, paper, and sometimes beeswax to showcase the beauty of the cycle of life. Wilkinson uses photographic paintings to celebrate everyday life, Valcourt’s acrylic and mixed media paintings explore the subconscious, and Siemens’s art/science installation uses sound waves to express moods.
This collaboration of these talented artists and their art styles has created a common theme of bold and expressive colours, organic structures, and sheer fun.
“We have a nice mix of representational and abstract art, colorful bold styles and softer pieces, as well as sculptural and found art,” Valcourt commented.
“The contrasts work together well to form a unique voice that varies in visual tone.”
The artists hope to encourage both artists and art students to stick together and collaborate more. This way, they can continue to stay motivated in a line of work that can sometimes make one feel insatiable and lonesome.
“It can be daunting as new artist out of art school, trying to figure out your next steps on your own,” said Valcourt.
“Art-making can be a lonely process, so having a community brings strength and camaraderie, and resources that you can pull together. You can encourage and motivate each other. I find it very inspiring.”
For more information on Re:Union, including gallery hours, visit www.cre8ery.com