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GALLERY: Two exhibits debut at Okotoks Art Gallery

Two Calgary-based artists have debuted their latest projects at the Okotoks Art Gallery, and the uniqueness of these beautiful exhibits makes them a must-see.

The Okotoks Art Gallery is welcoming two Calgary-based artists and their new exhibits.

The exhibits — Bryan Faubert's MaSh-UP X: Where the Big Rock Is and Debbie.lee Miszaniec's What You Do To My Body (and Mind) — approach their subject matters in different but visually striking ways.

Faubert is based in Calgary but his art has taken him across Canada and even down to Mexico, where he lived for two years. Faubert settled in Calgary after growing up in Toronto and pursuing his career as an artist in Ontario, Nova Scotia, B.C. and here in Alberta.

"My background is in street art and graffiti," said Faubert. "I was doing that at a really pinnacle time during the graffiti art movement."

His work puts an artistic spin on materialism and the physical items that we interact with daily, with a major focus on graffiti and steel sculptures. 

"That's what attracted me to graffiti in the first place," he said. "That spontaneity, that energy, seeing it on train cars moving, it's like a moving painting. It made me want to become part of it, so I brought it all back [with this exhibit] to where it all started."

Faubert's primary inspirations are hip-hop culture and his hometown of Toronto. Skam, one of Toronto's most prominent graffiti artists and a major source of inspiration to Faubert, is honoured with a design in Faubert's exhibit.

Faubert summarized MaSh-UP X: Where the Big Rock Is as "a cacophony of organized chaos."

Miszaniec's exhibit uses paintings and a sculpture to analyze human nature and how we see the world around us, specifically with food and dieting.

"I had lost about 90 pounds and got down to my healthy weight range," said Miszaniec. "I started to realize over time that, even though I was never underweight, all of these symptoms of starvation were still there that go along with that, and that shocked me. I was never close to underweight.

"I had started to paint food exhaustively. I found that I could think about almost any topic in terms of food. I could think of money and financial security, immigration, I developed a fixation with food. What Romans ate, what they ate in the '50s, how things are made."

Miszaniec's relationship with food is evident in her art, consisting of detailed paintings of food in various settings accompanied by a large sculpture of a pear bound by measuring tape.

"The pear is a stand-in for the female body," said Miszaniec, who depicted pears in most of the paintings as well. "It represents that fixation and desire for the food, and the tape measure is a stand-in for health and diet culture."

Miszaniec hopes that What You Do To My Body (and Mind) will "seduce people with the images of food as much as I was making them" and "in being seduced by them, they can actually think about how that might reflect something in their own lives that might need to be addressed." 

The exhibits will be on display until March 23.

Amir Said

About the Author: Amir Said

Amir Said is a reporter and photographer with the Western Wheel covering local news in Okotoks and Foothills County. For story tips or questions about his articles, Amir can be reached at [email protected].
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