Hannah Rudderham
Hannah Rudderham
March 19, 2020

Gallery 78 exhibit highlights female artistry for International Women’s Day

The Nine Muses exhibition | Photo submitted

Gallery 78 welcomed two new exhibits in February: The Nine Muses and Sottobosco: The Forest Floor. Both will be on display until March 22.

Germaine Pataki-Thériault, managing director of the gallery, recommends checking out the new exhibits.

“If you're feeling like you're having a hard time solving a problem, sometimes it's interesting to see how artists resolve things,” said Pataki-Thériault. “That gives you a fresh perspective.”

The Nine Muses

The Nine Muses celebrates International Women’s Day. It highlights nine female artists: Susan Paterson, Cathy Ross, Marilyn McAvoy, Victoria Moon Joyce, Sonya Mahnic, Danielle Hogan, Alexandrya Eaton, Lori Doody, and Jessie Babin.

To the left of the gallery’s entrance, Hogan’s exhibition, Accommodate, shouted with vibrant colours as you walk in.

“It's how we always, as women, have a tendency to accommodate for situations,” Pataki-Thériault said.

"Top Drawer" by Lori Doody

The piece is located above the fireplace. Four wood frames carry words or phrases like, “it’s nothing personal,” “calm down,” “needy,” and “too loud.” Above the small frames, a longer frame reads, “you’re overreacting again,” and below the frames is an un-framed threaded “no.”

Hogan has a Ph.D from the University of New Brunswick and currently lives in Fredericton, curating the Government of New Brunswick’s provincial art collection. A lot of her work is inspired by care among communities of women. She’s the founder of the intersectional feminist galley, Gynocratic Art Gallery.

Alexandrya Eaton’s work also features bright colours. Her first piece features a bouquet of pink roses in a rainbow vase and her second is a row of trees covered in bright rainbow leaves with colourful grass. Some artists shy from colour, but Eaton is not one of them. 

"Still Life with Fruit Trio" by Marilyn McAvoy

“Big beautiful bright florals,” is how Pataki-Thériault described Eaton’s work.

Eaton’s acrylic paintings stand out, and flowers make an appearance in a large number of her paintings. 

Marilyn McAvoy showcases four oil paintings with different fruit and a deep mix of reds, yellows, purples, oranges and greens. Conversely, Babin uses charcoal and graphite, and coloured pencils. She uses Babin simple materials to create her realistic drawings.

Sottobosco: The Forest Floor

To the right of the entrance, Sottobosco: The Forest Floor is the other exhibit that debuted this February. The pieces are pencil crayon drawings on black Stonehenge paper.

The artist, Barbara Safran de Niverville uses old traditional ways of creating and exploring parts of the forest floor.

“She's looking at the forest floor, looking at vegetation. Some are more endangered species and others are very common, but things you may overlook when you're exploring the forest,” Pataki-Thériault said. “They're done in very quiet shades.”

Compared to the Nine Muses, Sottobosco: The Forest Floor is very quiet. Everything is done in dark colours as if you’re actually exploring the floor of the forest at night.

The English translation of the Italian “Sottobosco” is “undergrowth” or “understory.” Ecologically, the understory of a forest or wood is the plant life that grows beneath the forest canopy but above the forest floor.

Drawings in the exhibit include “Rock Egg,” “Lady’s Slippers,” “Cinnamon Fern,” “Old Man’s Beard,” “Rock Lichens,” and “Bunch Berry Plants.”

"The Cinnamon Fern" by Barbara Safran de Niverville

“My work explores the complex relationship between the man-made and the organic within the built environment, where invasive plants thrive in disturbed ecosystems,” Safran de Niverville’s artist statement reads.

She’s been living in Moncton since 1979 and has her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Mount Allison University.

The two exhibits will be staying at Gallery 78 on Queen Street until March 22. Gallery 78 is the oldest private gallery in New Brunswick and is located across the street from the Beaverbrook Art Gallery.

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