Thursday evening, September 11th, is the opening reception for “DIMENSIONS”, the annual sculpture exhibit hosted by the NCNS (National Capital Network of Sculptors). It takes place at St. Brigid’s Centre for the Arts located at 310 St. Patrick Street in Ottawa, Ontario between 6 and 9pm. Twenty-four artists will be showcasing over sixty works of art in every sculptural medium you can think of – ceramics, soapstone and hydrostone, bronze and steel, glass and wood and of course I’ll be there too! I’ll be showing three polymer clay sculptures, “Another Birthday”, “Ice Fishing” and my newest piece “Bus Stop”. I hope you will drop by and enjoy a glass of wine and appetizers while taking a look around.
Some people are a little intimidated by the idea of an art exhibit or vernissage, but it can be such a fun experience if you open yourself up. Let’s start with the word “Vernissage” – it just means preview or opening day of an exhibition of art. The French term refers to “varnishing day” when artists literally, varnish, or touch up their work before the art is displayed to the public.
You don’t have to understand art intellectually to appreciate it. You just have to let the artwork speak to you and your life experiences and respond accordingly. It might stir a memory or an emotional feeling. Make you sad or happy, joyful or peaceful. Perhaps you can imagine the characters lives and situations, or simply appreciate the aesthetic value, craftsmanship or techniques used.
Meet the Artists! Introduce yourself and ask questions. This is how an artist gages the public’s response to their work. An artist spends a lot of time alone in their studios so these experiences can often re-energize and validate their life’s work. You’ll meet some award winning artists like Cairn Cunnane, metal artist featured on the poster above, who was just awarded a public art installation at Bingham Park in Ottawa and Rosemary Breault-Landry whose work is on display at the Parliament buildings.
Meet other people – ask and listen to other people’s interpretations of the art work – it might give you another surprising perspective. Most artists don’t mind if you want to take some pictures, but as a courtesy, be sure to ask first. What do you wear to a “Vernissage”? Dressy casual, office wear or cocktail is the standard, but wear comfortable shoes. You’ll be standing around.
Bring someone with you. It’s a great night out with a friend or date night with your significant other . . . and it’s free!