Life is intense.
And according to a local artist collective that calls itself the Group of 8, art is even more intense.
Cre8ery Gallery and Studio will open a brand new exhibition this Saturday, March 18 entitled in.tention, featuring the paintings of seven female Winnipeg artists who form an aggregate group of eight.
The Group of 8 officially formed in 2008 while attending an artist retreat in Clear Lake, Man., led by Diana Thorneycroft, George Glenn and David Garneau.
They met initially while studying some years before with local artist Milos Milidrag (of the former Yugoslavia).
They estimate to have been painting for a total of 130 years and have individually shown and sold works all over North America and Europe.
The group gathers monthly for sharing and discourse, referencing the early salons, which, historically, were hosted by women of an elite class, and centred around discussions of society, politics, culture, ideas and art.
“Group of 8” also humorously alludes to the titular Canadian number painter groups, such as the Regina 5, Painter’s 11 and the Group of Seven.
The group invites guest artists to participate, evaluate and discuss their individual pieces, and to encourage each ones’ personal and professional development.
Though called the Group of 8, the group has always been, and will remain, a tight-knit seven.
“We don’t plan on filling that eighth spot as it is representative of the spirit of the Group,” says member Pat McCullough.
“That,” she adds with a laugh, “and the ‘Group of Seven’ is taken.”
The in.tention exhibition does not insist on an underlying thesis to explain the body of individual works.
Though the artists don’t practice their art together, there is a faint congruity to their palettes, with a semblance of organic, dreamy shapes and gestural strokes throughout.
However, the subjects of the paintings differ from artist to artist. All, in some way, will touch on life and death issues, where we come from and where we are going.
“We don’t all have the same theme,” McCullough explains. “For example, one artist chooses one word a year to explore, and this year it is joy.
“We don’t all paint the same way,” she adds. “The intensity of our passion is the unifying theme for this exhibition.”
in.tention is on display at cre8ery at 125 Adelaide St. from March 18-22. Visit www.cre8ery.com
Published in Volume 65, Number 23 of The Uniter (March 17, 2011)