“My Personal Circus” is a piece from Mary-Jo Lough’s new exhibition, Atypical. PHOTO: MARY-JO LOUGH

A Calgary artist diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) as a child is set to showcase her ability to create energetic and abstract work in a new exhibition. 

Atypical shows how Mary-Jo Lough navigates the world as a neurodivergent individual and the ways ADHD gives her many “superpowers,” like the ability to make busy yet organized patterns in her art. 

“The type of patterns I use, the chaotic background, represents how my brain brings in sensory information,” Lough says. “And then all of the pattern I lay on top is kind of representing how I organize and make sense of the world around me.” 

Lough says Atypical is a natural progression from Divergent, her exhibition last year — the first in a series based on processing the world as a neurodivergent individual. 

Like Divergent, Atypical will be shown at Loft 112, a space for local emerging creatives to showcase their work. 

“I think going and looking at art is inspirational as far as just getting other people’s creative juices flowing,” Lough says. “And I think it’s broadening your horizons as far as experiencing how other people experience reality and what their perceptions are.”

Mary-Jo Lough is an abstract artist based in Calgary. PHOTO: MARY-JO LOUGH

Lough doesn’t like to tell people what to think about her art, but she hopes it helps people understand the neurodivergent experience. 

“Art is my way of articulating how I experience life and I know that I’m not alone in how I experience the world and how I navigate it,” Lough says. 

“I feel that’s an important message for people to hear and see, so that there’s more understanding for people who aren’t always typical or fit within society’s box.” 

Lough believes visiting the gallery can allow Calgarians of different backgrounds to connect and learn a new perspective. 

“Art is a common thread that all of these groups of people do experience, and I think coming to see this show would further that.”

The Atypical exhibition runs at Loft 112 from May 12 to May 29.

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