With the winter settling in, one often questions what should occupy their free time – save for the thrill-seeking and daring who ski or snowboard in the mountain trails – some find themselves looking indoors, like those who visit Motion Gallery on 10th Avenue.

There, many artists have their long-awaited chance at proving themselves, and a chance to spread a message of their choice through the medium they excel at.

At Motion Gallery’s January gallery lies inner turmoil made into outer masterpieces, acrylic art that shines bright and takes on many colors as well as skillful woodworking for all to see.

Motion Gallery, formerly located in Eau Claire market, is a non-profit art gallery on 10th Avenue that supports artistic talent, rising or settled, by using its space to hold new and unique art shows that last a month every month.

This January, the gallery, managed by Sandra Montgomery (who has worked there for 6 years as a managing director) is hosting such a show, where the boundaries of the artistic and its many mediums shine for the month of January in its “New age” themed gallery.

The theme, centred around the new year and the kicking off of 2018’s art scene, is also significant to the artists, as “many of their works were also created at a turning point in their lives,” according to Montgomery.

“By introducing emerging artists to the art world, sometimes with their first art show through Motion Gallery, I feel that making that first step as easy as possible will encourage them stick with their art and to look forward to getting involved in more art shows in the future,” she said. “I am also seeing their growth unravel and there is no greater reward than seeing an artist succeed. Their success will inevitably create a more dynamic arts cultures right here in Calgary.”

Sandra Montgomery, who organizes many events at Motion Gallery’s 10th Avenue location, is regularly involved in the growth of those working with her. Photo by Omar Subhi Omar

Montgomery, who is regularly involved in the progress of artists working with her, has made no small amount of connections with Calgary’s local talent.

“I’ve also made a lot of great friends through the gallery, and learned a lot from them so that’s been a win too,” she said.

Magda Assaf

Magda Assaf, 34, is an artist coming from the least creative background, who shines as a newcomer in the art scene despite that. Over the past year and a half, she’s pursued art after quitting a 10-year career in accounting for the oil and gas industry.

Inspired by the work of Australian resin-based artist Mitch Gobel, Magda creates free-flowing resin artwork, which is made using multiple layers of resin, shimmering and flowing pigments and acrylics.

A self-taught contemporary artist, Assaf has delved into contemporary wall art, modern home decor and homeware through her business, Modern Emulsions, before entering the art scene at Motion Gallery.

Assaf says that while she doesn’t know why she picked up art, it makes her “feel very happy and alive.”

Alan Easton

Calgary has its own movie-grade woodworker, making walking canes that would make even Gandalf jealous.

Dyslexic and colorblind, 65-year-old Alan Easton has never let his circumstances get in the way of his work, be it his work at his father’s fabrication shop during his youth, or his wood-carving art for 25 years and up to his 60s today.

“I grew up on a bandsaw” Easton said.

When asked why he decided to carve sticks, Easton says that he discovered he had a knack.

“One day I had a Christmas tree that I had no use for, so instead of burning it, I carved it up into sticks”

Many of his canes/staves have motifs inspired by popular media, such as Lord of the Rings.

Dario Jajarmi

A third-year painting student at ACAD, Dario Jajarmi faithfully took his passion for painting, which started as a passing fancy in high-school, and held on to it ever since.

Being the only other acrylic-based artist in the January gallery, Jajarmi uses individual strokes for maximum control over his work.

“I found myself turning to art primarily as a way to alleviate boredom in class,” he said. “It was simply a part of my life that remained consistent from kindergarten to Grade 12.”

Jennifer Peters

Jennifer Peters is no stranger to suffering, and when it comes to embodying one of its many forms, she is a master. Having been diagnosed with mononucleosis, getting lost in mountains in BC at 16 and more, Peters’ life has fueled creative bouts with experiences that she channels masterfully into her work.

A mixed media artist who has hosted her work in Motion before (in the December exhibit), Peters’ work expressively visualizes her life, as well as the experiences of women in oppressive relationships (who she is a strong advocate of due to her own experiences), and gives it a form that makes use of a large variety of unlikely ingredients and components.

“I’ve done work on domestic violence, and I’m working on a theme on recovering from sexual abuse,” Peters said. “I’m working to raise awareness that not all families are the ‘happy family, photo on the fridge,’ kind of family.”

The gallery will be up until the end of January.


Editor: Paul McAleer | pmcaleer@cjournal.ca

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