Starting Thursday October 18, the Enriched Bread Artists will be hosting their 26th Annual Open Studio. I got to speak to a few of the artists to get a bit of a sneak preview of what they will be showing this year.
For those who have never been before, this event goes over the course of two weekends, and sees the resident artists inviting the public to come in and explore their studio spaces and see some of their new works. This is also an excellent chance to meet the artists and learn about their artwork and practice.
I’d like to introduce you to some of the artists who will be showing at this year’s open house.
Carl Stewart – 14 years with the EBA
Carl Stewart is a weaver, using his woven fabrics and naturally dyed wool as the medium for his art. This year at the EBA Open Studio, Stewart explained his new fabric project: “it’s a unique fabric for each country where homosexuality is criminalized and the inspiration for the colours are based on the national flags.” He will also be showing part of a series he is working on involving the fading of memories using wool dyed from earth or plants found in places significant to him.
Christos Pantieras – 18 years with the EBA
Fresh off his fourth show this year, Pantieras, a sculptor, mixed media and installation artist, will be showing works from his series In Bits and Pieces. “I use text. Text for me is a medium and where I source the text is from online communication […] or language or words that are on online profiles. Even though for me it’s a homosexual experience, I want it be open and universal so everyone can link with it” says Pantieras about his work. The narrative of these pieces delve into the world of digital communication, and what can be learned about someone through the digital breadcrumbs they leave online.
Dan Sharp – 13 years with EBA
Sharp is a painter who has previously worked in abstraction, but has decided to venture into the realm of representational painting. Inspired by an artist’s work he discovered early in his career, he seeks to pay homage to an artwork by Ron Kitaj, while modernizing and relating to his personal experience. Featuring a woman in an office setting holding a blank sheet of paper, Sharp says, “what intrigues me, really, is the blankness. She’s managing information and the organization of information, but that emptiness is like the expression ‘the blank canvas’ means anything can happen. That to me is potential and a symbol of things that can happen and knowledge to be gained.”
Gayle Kells – 24 years with the EBA
Gayle Kells is an oil painter who uses her experiences as a third-generation immigrant from what is now known as Lebanon. “I’m very interested in the history of our culture and how people integrated into society and how the culture is seen by the others; by Canadians,” says Kells. Her works discuss the idea of identity, and how impactful that can be, particularly in Canada, where what it means to be Canadian is as varied as it’s people. Deeply personal, Kells’ works tell about the Canadian experience from a perspective that really needs to be represented.
Jenny McMaster – 5 years with the EBA
McMaster is an artist who uses handmade paper as her current medium. Organic shapes are the basis for her work representing clouds, tree tops and even maps Ottawans will find very familiar. Featuring cut outs, embroidery and wool, the pieces are visually interesting and share a dreamlike quality. “Holes in things are kind of terrifying and can be seen as wounds, but they can also allow us to see through things. I like the fact that I allow things to fall apart and then I repair them. Then the act of repairing becomes the aesthetic,” says McMaster about her work. It’s interesting to see her studio and the papermaking process. Definitely check it out.
Juliana McDonald – 18 years with the EBA
Juliana McDonald is an oil painter whose works focus on her relationship to her environment. Her connection with nature is the thread that ties her artworks together. “That’s why I like to work in tissue, because it’s fragile and I wanted my materials to echo the impermanence of life in general but also the fact that the monarch is in trouble,” says McDonald on her tissue paper paintings, which were made as a reaction to the destruction of a butterfly habitat in her community. Her works speak to the ever-changing presence the natural world presents around us and how we experience and cope with these changes.
Mana Rouholamini – 8 years with the EBA
Rouholamini is an artist interested in words and the power of language. As a trilingual person, she takes meanings, expressions and ideas associated with language, and between languages, and expresses them in her visual artworks. “I’m really interested in how words shape us or shape the way we think. I say that, but at the same time my work is not always about that but I find that it always stems from there,” says Rouholamini. She is showcasing a particular piece with a fantastically interesting story that I implore you to check out.
Natasha Mazurka – 8 years with the EBA
Mazurka is a visual artist and program coordinator for the Introduction to Fine Arts Program at Algonquin College. This year at the EBA Open House, she will be showing some of her work involving painting, vinyl, drawing and installation. “One recurring idea is pattern as a tool to communicate. One area of interest right now is information visualization. So it’s taking data and turning it into understandable and readable visuals,” says Mazurka. This year, Mazurka will be showing some new pattern works infusing multiple patterns together to create something comforting but at the same time foreign.
Sayward Johnson – 4 years with the EBA
Sayward Johnson is a weaver and a visual artist who uses copper to create two- and three-dimensional artworks. Some of her pieces are made from weaving the copper into fabrics, and then some are knitted into structural forms. “I think even hundreds of years ago women were always knitting or weaving or engaged in cross-stitch, which often was a chore and part of the day to day life, but there is also something very healing and cathartic about the slow nature of the work itself that still important to anyone practicing these techniques today,” says Johnson. Her works can be very reactionary and experimental as sometimes the process to change the colour of the copper can be unpredictable, so there is something surprising waiting for visitors in her studio.
Svetlana Swinimer – 23 years with the EBA
Swinimer is an artist with a variety of mediums including sculpture, paintings and installations. Currently she is working on pieces about an eastern European fertility goddess and some other pieces about medicine. Finding her inspiration wherever it comes: science, medicine, humanity and history. “Science is very dear for me, then, humanity. I always wanted to find out where we come from,” says Swinimer. Her studio is filled to the brim with installations, paintings and sculptures to examine.
Tavi Weisz – 16 years with the EBA
Weisz is an oil painter and performance artist whose works featured dictators and history. He is shifting gears and with this open house he will be exploring relaxation and exotic scenes. “Lately, I’m focused on vacation, relaxation, lush vegetation, landscapes and I’m still implementing into my compositions these figures or animals which mean something to me,” explains Weisz. Influenced by trips to Cuba with its bright colours, perpetual sunshine and laid-back environment this artist has created some beautiful pieces that are a must see.
Still want more art? Then check out the Open Studio! The vernissage is Thursday October 18, 2018 from 6-8pm at the Enriched Bread Artists studio located at 951 Gladstone Avenue, Ottawa. Can’t make the vernissage? The studios will also be open from 6-9pm on Friday October 19 as well as 11am-5pm on Saturday October 20, Sunday October 21, Saturday October 27 and Sunday October 28.