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Artist Spotlight

Artist Spotlight: Hubert Theroux

HUBERT THEROUX grew up in the rural community of Cardinal, Manitoba with a love for Canadian prairies. At the age of 10, Hubert began to sketch illustrations of art and prairies. Post-high school graduation, he took photography courses to help feed his creativity and inspiration for future paintings. “Next thing you know I was shooting weddings for friends,” Hubert laughs.

    Known internationally for his realistic landscape paintings, Hubert has made a living as an artist for more than 25 years. His art continues to be inspired by the ever-changing colours of the prairies. Hubert also generously devotes time to the local art community and as the acting president of the Assiniboia Group of Artists Co-op. From Oct 27-29, meet Hubert and 40 other local artists at Manitoba’s largest professional art exhibition show Manitoba Art Expo at Assiniboia Downs. Be inspired by paintings, photography, sculptures and other medias throughout the weekend exhibit.

    In addition, Hubert’s art can be viewed at Birchwood Art Gallery year-round.

Assiniboia Downs, 3975 Portage Ave, manitobaartexpo.ca; Birchwood Art Gallery, 1068 Pembina Hwy, 204-888-5840

Artist Spotlight: Peter Sawatzky

Peter Sawatsky courtesy of Loch Gallery

Peter Sawatsky courtesy of Loch Gallery

Peter Sawatzky is an award-wining Manitoba artist who has earned international recognition for his lifelike bronze sculptures. A country boy raised in Southern Manitoba, Peter’s passion evolved from watching wildlife and birds into a career of carving these animals.

Inspiration for Peter comes from field drawings made during his many years of observing and studying animal movements. These sketches are eventually transformed into life size sculptures that can reach up to 29 feet long. The foundry process—from creating a metal frame to the empty shell being filled with bronze—can take up to a year depending on the size of the piece.

Sawatzky_2016CougarBust_web

Peter’s sculptures have become iconic Winnipeg landmarks, like the sculpture of James A. Richardson at the Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport, the monument of a mother polar bear and her cubs outside the Assiniboine Park Zoo, or “Seal River Crossing,” which stands at the city’s famed Portage and Main intersection. The impressive statue, which captures a herd of caribou crossing the Seal River, was inspired by a scene Peter saw from above while travelling to Churchill. While on the flight, he started to sketch the caribou and knew he had his next piece. The project, which took four years to complete, was commissioned by James Richardson & Sons Ltd. in commemoration of its 150th anniversary.

In addition to his public art, more than 25 pieces of Peter’s work are on display at the Loch Gallery in May and June.

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Artist Spotlight: Michel Saint Hilaire

Artist Spotlight: Wanda Koop

Photo courtesy of Wanda Koop

Photo courtesy of Wanda Koop

Wanda Koop is one of Canada’s most important and inventive contemporary artists, with a career spanning over four decades and more than 50 major solo exhibitions around the world. The Winnipeg artist is known for creating large scaled remarkable paintings. “I am constantly looking at the world as if it’s for the first time,” she says. Each painting is a part of a collection, a cohesive way of expressing a series of thoughts or ideas.

Wanda is also well known for her engagement in her community as the founder of Art City. This art centre has brought world-class visual artists and Winnipeg’s inner-city youth together to exchange ideas and create projects in a safe and accessible place for nearly 20 years. Guest artists host a variety of free programs that teach all types of art media such as film, photography and ceramics.

Photo courtesy of Wanda Koop.

Photo courtesy of Wanda Koop.

Wanda’s exhibition VIEW from HERE is a private collection of nine-by-eight foot paintings that blur the line between landscape and portraiture. Floating head silhouettes contain surreal facial expressions created by pieces of rural scenery. The title of each painting and its landscapes were inspired by specific works from her career. Flood Plain, for example, is similar to a painting from the Green Zone (2003-2009) collection, which was influenced by television coverage of the Iraq War. For Wanda art is inextricably connected to the social and political events happening in the world.

VIEW from HERE will be exhibited at the Winnipeg Art Gallery until May 2017. 300 Memorial Blvd, 204-789-6641, wandakoop.com

Artist Spotlight: Michel Saint Hilaire

Courtesy Michel Saint Hilaire.

Courtesy Michel Saint Hilaire.

If you’ve wandered the streets of Winnipeg, you’ve likely seen some of Michel Saint Hilaire’s work. An accomplished muralist, the Winnipeg artist also creates arresting contemporary pieces that blend seemingly disparate media, inspiration, style, and emotion into an incredible whole.

Michel found his calling in grade school and spent years honing his ability, drawing floor plans of houses and classic cars, a precursor to the architecturally influenced style of his later work. After two years of University training in Fine Arts, where he was taught by renowned Winnipeg artist Ivan Eyre, he began selling his art and painting murals full time.

Though he originally worked solely in pencil, Michel now blends media, usually pencil and acrylic, to create a layered effect punched with contemporary flourishes of line and colour.

Courtesy of Michel Saint Hilaire.

Courtesy of Michel Saint Hilaire.

His latest work was inspired by a 3 week residency in Moncton, NB, during which time he painted roughly 20 portraits of community members. He became enthralled with the unique qualities and complexity of faces, and set out to recreate the experiment with Winnipeg muses. The resulting exhibit, which begins in January, originally featured members of the city’s French speaking arts community, but has evolved to include portraits of famous figures, a mannequin, and the likeness of reclusive photographer Vivian Meier, whose work was recently discovered posthumously. “I started from a place of nurturing my home and community,” says Michel, “Then expanded to painting people that I don’t know, then to pieces that touch on global and environmental issues.”

Michel’s collection of portraits will be exhibited at La Galerie inside the Centre Culturel Franco-Manitobain from January 26. 340 Provencher Blvd, 204‑233‑8972, monmichel.com

Artist Spotlight: Larry Rich

Ancient Animal by Larry Rich

Ancient Animal by Larry Rich

Larry Rich fell in love with art the day he stepped foot in his University graphic design class. After realizing he lacked the patience for the technical aspects of design, he began exploring analog mediums like painting on canvas and live model drawing.

More than 20 years later, Rich’s work has been displayed all over the world, from Calgary to Italy. Known for his vibrant and textured paintings of Manitoba landscapes, Rich uses his surroundings for inspiration. Growing up as a city boy, captivated by different angles of the cityscape, led to his fascination with the spaces around us. From his current home just outside Winnipeg, he enjoys the closeness to nature that allows him to envision his next painting.

Each piece begins with one cohesive idea, but Rich allows creative spontaneity to take over. His textured, contemporary style of prairie abstracts is made by applying layers of acrylic paint with palette knives, brushes, spatulas and sponges. The result is a surface that is built up to create a three-dimensional effect. “I look at painting as a building process, as opposed to a painting process,” he says.

His goal for each piece is to convey mood by capturing ambient light. Techniques like gold leafing are used to produce an ethereal glow.

Rich’s background as a musician also informs his art. He approaches these two creative endeavours in much the same way, by using layers—whether of brush strokes or sound—to create a vibrancy that captivates his audience.

Larry Rich’s work can be viewed at Birchwood Art Gallery, 1068 Pembina Hwy, 204‑888‑5840 or 1‑800‑822‑5840