Two mothers unveiled their artwork to the public for the first time on February 23 at The Arts Station.
Brina Schenk and Michelle Galway opened the doors to their collaboration between paintings and 3D sculptures, which work together to bring each painting to life.
Previously, the two locals worked on the lantern festival and realized how much fun it was to create art together.
Before this, Galway and Schenk had met through their kids. Both have two of similar ages. Regularly seeing each other through programs, the two started running together and formed a budding friendship. After their first collaboration at the lantern festival, they decided to try something else.
“We thought, well, let’s start something. Let’s start making more!” said Schenk. “And then we said, let’s maybe start a business. But before that, let’s have an art show!”
The theme of suspended art was inspired by the work of Alexander Calder. After Schenk saw his work at the Philadelphia museum, it had a large impression on her. Since then, she kept the idea in the back of her mind. After discussing how Schenk and Galway could have their work complement each other, the idea was formed that they could create sculptures which would work together with the paintings, most of which were already done.
“We wanted to combine paintings; 2D and 3D, create almost like a 3D world, and find a different way to tell the story that’s in the painting, make it come out and become approachable,” said Schenk.
One painting by Schenk took two and a half years to create, and features a world filled with wonder. Animals are being drawn towards a vibrant island full of different structures and creatures. The painting, appropriately named ‘Attraction’, was made to represent Fernie.
“It’s about things being pulled towards something,” said Schenk. “There’s something about Fernie that has that same pull. People just want to come here… there’s something that pulls people here.”
Accompanying the painting are three handmade moths, suspended from the ceiling, traveling toward the island. Each are made in the image of local moths, which Galway studied during her course on entomology, the scientific study of insects, a branch of zoology.
Another work of art is called ‘Hold on’, and features a painting alongside a sculpture of many different hands, which represent a data bank of ideas, hopes and dreams we hold on to in life such as childhood, real estate, wanting things, not wanting things, the ability to do things and the inability as well.
In this particular piece, Schenk created the painting and hand sculptures, and Galway was involved in all the fabric work. Each artist’s involvement in each piece varies, and they will often take on different roles for each piece.
The artists created everything for this display in two months, with the exception of a few of the paintings which took Schenk years.
Galway has worked with a lot of fabric, having previously studied textiles in Newfoundland. Schenk started painting because someone told her she was a painter. After a vision and hours of practice, she started to produce work that was worthy of display.
Having children separated each artist from their passions for a few years, and they used this art show as an opportunity to rekindle their artistic spirits.
Some of the works of art are not for sale, due to their fragility. The flower piece proved to be so delicate that it broke on the way to The Arts Station.
This art show was not only a way to gain exposure, but also a means of understanding others interests.
Both artists were nervous putting their work on display for the first time. Early in the evening, they received some very encouraging feedback and this allowed some of the stress to dissipate.
“For us to show everyone what we do, is kind of scary,” said Schenk.
This gallery show opened Thursday, February 23, and closed the following Tuesday.