Artists celebrate International Women’s Day at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery

Artist Laura M.Hair standing next to an art piece she recreated for The  Robert McLaughlin Gallery.
Artist Laura M. Hair standing next to an art piece she recreated for The Robert McLaughlin Gallery.

Is a piece of art ever completely finished? The answer in some cases is ‘no’, according to some artists who displayed their work during an exhibit at the The Robert McLaughlin Gallery March 6. From paintings, to photographs, and treasure findings, art lovers came to watch, listen and explore the work and the stories behind the art, including one submission that has been updated since it was originally considered to be finished.

One of the artists at the exhibit, Laura M. Hair, shared her work called Widow’s Weeds III, 2016, a piece she had originally submitted but later revised, sharing the transitional stages behind her work. In her piece she described the use of colour and pattern she used to change the emotion behind the image she drew of a Victorian woman.

“I took the object I gave and took it back again to re-interpret the image I took,” said Hair.

Hair said that art has been her life’s work. When it comes to the piece Hair presented at the event she has lost track of the hours she has put into revising it.

“If we start counting the hours we put into our work, we would be so depressed. This took me weeks,” said Hair.

The event featured work from the IRIS Group, a collective group of female artists marking its 20th anniversary and was held to commemorate National Women’s Day.

Hair is one of the co-founders of the IRIS Group and said the artists mostly work independently but have a good relationship with each other.

“We all work individually we don’t see each other until we see each other, and yet it all seems to come together.

Many of the artists behind the work came to present their pieces to the gallery goers, sharing personal tales behind what inspired their work and the design process behind their pieces.

Mary Ellen McQuay was one of the artists to present her piece, which was inspired by artist Eugenia Urban’s contribution to the IRIS Group. Urban gave IRIS a heart- shaped stone she found several years ago, the piece was lost but McQuay was able to find a similar one.

McQuay complemented her findings with a series of photos. These were images of stone imprints in the sand, artwork that was displayed and interpreted by McQuay at the exhibit, with the heart-shaped stone next to it.

“Nature leaves patterns, but they can sometimes mimic and connect to human emotions,” McQuay told the audience.

Leslie Menagh is one of the managers of the art gallery. She said the turnout of about 40 art lovers was “fantastic”.

Menagh is also an artist and said it’s not unusual for artists to revisit their work and try to turn it into something new again.

“You’re always working on it. It could be 10 years to 20 years from when it starts talking to you again.”