From October 14 to 16, Visual Arts Mississauga showcased the work of the talented Mississauga Art Society.
MAS is a collaboration of 22 Ontario-based fine artists who meet regularly at VAM. They host two shows at VAM every year, one in spring and the other in fall. This year’s fall exhibition included work by Fotini Mitsiopoulos, Christine Lobo, Steve Barringer, Huan Chen, Michelle Chen, Christa Adler, and more.
Huan Chen’s oil paintings welcome guests as they first enter VAM. Several of her paintings on display include “Old Bridge” and “Northern Sky”. These pieces are nature-oriented, offering beautiful scenic views. Chen captures the vibrancy of the outdoors with soft brush strokes and muted colours.
Her work involves realism, similar to Michelle Chen’s work. She also uses oils in her collection of still life paintings. Love and family relationships seem to be the common themes with her paintings, namely “Mom and Son” and “Sweet Daddy”.
The artists of MAS filled the gallery with a diverse collection of paintings. Each artist’s unique style shines through in their work. The curators of the exhibition cleverly arranged the paintings in a way that complemented the others. On the wall outside one room, an understated and realist portrait by Huan Chen is juxtaposed next to a vibrant and abstract painting by Adler. This arrangement causes both portraits to stand out, allowing the viewer to appreciate their different styles.
Adler is one of my favourite artists on display. Her style is abstract, ranging from bright bursts of colour to subdued pastel tones. She uses both acrylic paints and mixed media to create her pieces. One painting that captured my attention was “Evening Work”, which depicts blurry figures of varying heights against a grey background. This piece relies heavily upon the viewer’s interpretation as a result of its ambiguous story.
Mitsiopoulos is Greek-Canadian artist who adopted painting as a profession 10 years ago. Her pieces include “Somewhere… in Greece”, “The Nest”, “My Cottage… in my Dreams”, and “Try One”. Influenced by scenes from Greece, Mitsiopoulos uses mixed media to bring her inspirations to life. In “The Nest”, she creates a three-dimensional image on her canvas, using paste and paper to lift strands of the nest from the surface of the canvas. The effect is striking. Each painting on display incorporates texture and three-dimensionality.
“Try One” features a basket of apples resting on a chair. Mitsiopoulos raises the wicker basket from the canvas also using paste and paper. Mitsiopoulos primarily paints nests, still life, and scenes from her home country. “I am inspired by Greece,” she notes. “The sky, the birds, all my surroundings there lead me to paint.”
In the adjacent room, Lobo’s paintings hang humbly in the corner. As an alumna of UTM’s art history and language studies programs, Lobo is in the process of establishing her career as a fine artist. Several of her paintings in the exhibition include “Yellow Windows”, “Portuguese Charm”, “Two of a Kind”, “Dendrobium Triptych”, and “Magnolia Blossom”. Lobo interestingly combines elements of realism and cartoons in her paintings, resulting in authentic scenes bright with colour.
“Two of a Kind” depicts two bright blue macaws. Flecks of yellow highlight their feathers. They’re lifelike in design, yet the sharp blues and yellows give them an animated quality. While realism is important to Lobo, she also believes in the use of bright, vibrant colours. “Colour attracts viewers,” she says. “I want people to be moved by the colours in my paintings.”
In a brief encounter with Lobo, she mentions the influence MAS has on her work. “It’s fun to be a part of the group,” she says with a smile. “There’s so much to learn from the others. They’re an inspiration to me.”
MAS will host their next show at VAM in Spring 2017.