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    Categories: Entertainment

VASA thanks its lucky stars … and friends

It’s that time of year when all of the family members gather round and offer their contributions to the feast.

Similarly, this is also when the members of the Visual Arts Studio Association have gathered to put their best works forward for an anthology exhibit of sorts. Thank Our Stars is VASA’s all members show. The title is great advertising albeit a bit of a misnomer since there are 130 artists in the fold and only 34 on the walls.

Count Cheryl Moskaluk as one of the 34. Working with the grateful theme, she prepared a piece that even included the stars that she’s thankful for.

“I’m working on a lot of botanical themes right now but when I thought about it, I thought, I wanted to do a ‘big sky’ kind of painting. What you’re grateful for is usually what you overlook in your everyday life, the things that are in your backyard. For me, that’s the viewing platform out at Big Lake,” she began.

“There’s that big prairie sky. It was always a really great place to think.”

And get inspiration. The painting is a beautiful tribute showing a night scene with lots of stars in that big sky with a solitary figure immersed in shadows sitting on the platform’s bench. She’s been that person many times, she said, just sitting in the peace of nature.

Joining Moskaluk as exhibiting artists herein are Al Anderson, Victoria Armstrong, Suzan Berwald, Karen Blanchet, Dolly Bolen, Bev Bunker, Karen Cassidy-Shaw, Carroll Charest, Doris Charest, Carolyn Chmilar, Elizabeth Doucet, Olga Duk, Lorna Gilfedder, Teresa Graham, Sharon Hjartarson, Melissa Humeniuk, Nancy Kloster, Claudette MacLean, Peg McPherson, Liz Meetsma, Luise Mendler-Johnson, Leona Olausen, Aeris Osborne, Claudette Pelletier-Hannah, Andrew Raczynski, Helen Rogers, Judy Leila Schafers, Gail Seemann, Donna Simpson, Bruce Thompson, Pat Trudeau, Frank Van Veen, and Kevin Wilson.

Thank Our Stars runs until Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017. An opening reception and gala fundraiser will be held tomorrow evening from 6 to 9 p.m.

Carol Watamaniuk, the president of the organization, hopes that many people will be encouraged to come out for the show, especially on opening night. A variety of hand-painted ornaments are on sale during the event, in addition to a vast number of original artworks, including jewelry. There are even some games that have been organized to keep the crowds entertained for the affair.

She wants people to remember that the major arts group is also an organization that gets support from the city itself. That’s because VASA works hard for the people too.

“Raising dollars is incredibly important,” she stated, referencing the social programs that the artists run such as Authentic Art and the Tea and Tours for seniors, the latter of which was discontinued for a period but is now in the works to restart. “It’s impossible to do that without the resources.”

“It all takes resources. We’re hoping that we can really develop those well. It’s a really great way to end the year. If ever VASA was in a party kind of mood, it’s right now.”

The gallery is located at 25 Sir Winston Churchill Ave. in the Hemingway Centre. Call 780-460-5990 or visit www.vasa-art.com for more information.

Paddy Lamb has spent some effort collecting the rusted remnants of former inhabitants of his Edmonton-area piece of land … for his art. Using old tractor parts or tool fragments as inspiration, he created drawings of the still life found objects. He paints them. From his painted representations, he even attempted to recreate some of the original objects to incorporate them as part of a finished piece. There’s even a video he made to play in the Art Gallery of St. Albert’s vault to further the thematic exploration.

“My work explores the imprint of society on nature in a variety of locations. More recently this has led to an interest in aspects of abandonment, neglect and disuse as part of the physical landscape,” the artist wrote in his artist’s statement.

“I am trying to build a picture of a particular place and the shifting balance between man and nature within a specific environment. The re-appropriation of physical materials from the field adds a tangible link between the actual and the imagined.”

This extrapolation of an extrapolation or deconstructed construction is a fascinating method that should prove to enthral many. Thankfully, the exhibit called The More I Gather has a nearly two month run to give viewers ample time to make return visits.

An opening reception will be held tomorrow from 6 to 8:30 p.m. with an artist walkthrough at 6:30 p.m. The gallery is located at 19 Perron St. Call 780-460-4310 or visit www.artgalleryofstalbert.ca for more information.

Scott Hayes: Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns and profiles on people.