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VASA's winter exhibition roundup

Collaborative visual arts exhibition showcases VASA Members Wintre Show art

The spirit of creative collaboration is in full view at Visual Arts Studio Association (VASA) as members host a traditional winter exhibition. 

As we move into the Christmas season, we’re also heading into the height of winter, and at times it’s tough to think about anything except crappy weather and gloomy skies. 

The best respite from seasonal stress is the gallery’s explosion of colour which works as the perfect antidote to seasonal affective disorder. 

Close to 20 member artists working in oils, pastels, acrylics and mixed media, have contributed approximately 55 paintings for this showcase which runs until January 27, 2024.  

“We have everything from expressionism to pure abstract to realism. We have artists who have been here for years and are continually pushing themselves to experiment with new ideas,” said Laura Taras, exhibition coordinator. 

Variety is key to the exhibition's success. For instance, Bruce Allen is known for his architectural style of painting rickety old houses. But he elegantly transforms his subjects into quirky characters that pop with a palette of colours. 

“I love his compositions. He’s really talented in creating structure,” Taras said. 

Cathy Friesen, acknowledged by many for her more realistic works, experimented with an abstract landscape after the pandemic. Her vertical painting titled Listen, based on memories of the Saskatchewan countryside, inspires the viewer to not only look, but listen to hidden grasshoppers and crickets. 

“It stands out because of movement and colour.” 

Karen Blanchet’s and Michele Ho Lung’s multi-media abstract paintings use of established materials challenge perception and showcase the visual artists' imagination, flexibility and discipline.  

Contrasting the abstracts, Steve Henry adds a whimsical touch of humour with a pencil sketch of a goofy, cartoon-like sketch of a moose. And Richard Lipscombe, a graphic artist, plays with reverse colour in three stylized mountainscapes. 

“I see both emerging artists and professional-level artists. When I first started, there wasn’t the eagerness there is now. The more artists from the community that are involved, the more what VASA artists put on elevates everything that goes on.” 

In addition, VASA also hosts a Festive Open House on Saturday, Dec. 2 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. This family event focuses on crafts and cookies for children and conversation with artists for adults.  

During the open house, many VASA members have donated small paintings that are on sale from $20 to $50. All proceeds from the small painting sale will be donated to St. Albert Food Bank. 

President Miles Constable has also donated Meadow Bells, a 12-inch by 16-inch floral painting for a raffle. Funds from the raffle will be directed towards VASA’s advanced artist techniques program. Tickets are $5 and the draw date is March 3, 2024. 

Taras closes by saying, “This show is about St. Albert community artists coming together. I am so looking forward to the opening. It will be a big party. I used to be afraid nobody would come. Now I’m worried we’ll have too many people. There’s a new energy here.”  

Anna Borowiecki

About the Author: Anna Borowiecki

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