Opening Reception: June 21, 7-10pm
Additional Hours: June 22, 12 noon to July 3, 6pm
Tuesday to Friday 12-6pm; Saturdays 12-5pm
In this twenty-first century most people would put a business connotation on the word “conglomerate,” but a century ago Webster’s dictionary had a different way of defining it, referring primarily to its botanical and geological uses, and offering as examples densely clustered flowers and rocks that were made up of smaller pieces naturally cemented together. This is where my idea for Conglomerata originated, and I hope that viewers will see how it is a theme that both runs through and unifies my art.
I have always been inspired by nature–its elements, its splendour, and its anomalies—and my travels have allowed me to see amazing landscapes and extraordinary structures that people have created using various ordinary materials. My own chosen materials for creating visual art have been similarly diverse. Thus, for this show I have brought together a conglomeration of canvas, wood, paper, clay, and other basic materials, on which I have used acrylic paints, alcohol inks, fired glazes, and other media, often enhanced with a variety of natural and artificial materials.
The natural world that I envision can be, and has been depicted both realistically and abstractly. For the former I have stayed fairly true to the original; for the latter I often have resorted to imagery and symbolism to depict what is in my minds eye. As a historian I have studied how people have used symbols to define their surroundings, both concrete and figurative, and it is this research that I have turned to for my conglomerate leitmotifs.
Connie Wawruck-Hemmett is a mainly self-taught visual artist who cannot remember when the artistic muse first visited her. As a child it seemed that she always had a crayon in her hand, and as a high school student her artistic gift was nurtured in Taras (Ted) Korol’s art classes. Plans for further training, however, were put on hold when she found it necessary to find a job after graduation.
Since that time–even while travelling the world with her offshore oilfield-working husband, acquiring two degrees in History from the University of Winnipeg (BA 1987, MA 1989), and working first as a university-based and then as an independent historian—Connie’s hands and her visually-oriented mind have always been involved in one type of art or another, from fine needlework and clothing design to jewelry-making and ceramics. In 1994, after her Ph.D. programme was interrupted by surgery to remove two brain tumours, art became a major part of her therapy during a necessarily lengthy recuperation.
It has only been during the past decade, however, that Connie has devoted more and more of her time and energy to her artistic pursuits. In recent years, she has also benefitted from the teaching, mentorship and friendship of Arizona ceramic artist Arlene Dee Smith, Arizona water-colourist Sandra N Wilderman, and Winnipeg artists Jordan Leigh Miller and Kathleen Kolba. These four have helped her expand her skills beyond what she had thought possible as a late-blooming visual artist, and to have her works appear in public venues.
Public display of Connie’s work began when two of her assemblage art pieces were featured in Box in the Night Gallery during Nuit Blanche in 2014 and 2015. Her first solo show, Eclecti-con, took place at Winnipeg’s Edge Gallery in September 2015, with Eclecti-con II following in August 2016. Since then she has contributed pieces to group shows, including the annual 99 Pieces of Art on the Wall (2016, 2017 and 2018) and Aspects (2017) at Cre8ery Gallery. Her art is held in private collections in Canada and the United States, and her assemblage art piece, “Her Name is Hope,” may be seen in the offices of the Breast Health Centre, Winnipeg.