Niagara-on-the-Lake artist Lynne Gaetz is showcasing her paintings and mixed media works in a solo exhibition at Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre in August.
The artworks in the show aptly titled, “Allegories,” tell a story with mystical and surreal undertones. Antlers, tall hats and collaged words and images express hidden, often symbolic meanings for the artist.
“My goal is for the viewer to have an emotional response to my work. Sometimes people get up close to read the words and look at the collaged images, and then they stand back and see the work as a whole,” Gaetz says.
“I invite viewers to ask questions: Why is the woman standing with her arms crossed? What is going through that person’s mind? Why is the tall hat burning? How do the collaged words relate to the image?”
The artist’s works are mainly figurative, but her decision to integrate mixed media began by accident.
“About six years ago, while painting a falling buffalo, I spontaneously decided to adhere torn images and gold leaf to the horns,” she said.
Ever since she has added mystical and surreal elements to her work, adding horns, antlers and tree branches to the heads of figures.
“I also may include collage in their bodies. There are also words and bits of text integrated into the paintings.”
Each piece has an overall mood or emotion, she said.
“The horns or antlers may represent strength, fertility, sexuality, creativity and a connection with nature and our animal instincts. But I invite viewers to come to their own conclusions.”
According to Gaetz, many different elements have contributed to her work.
She studied art at universities in Calgary, Quebec City and Montreal, and has taken courses with prominent figurative artists. Her travels to different countries including Mexico, India, Kenya, Turkey, Morocco and Chile influenced her colour palette.
An award-winning artist, she has exhibited in galleries in Alberta, Quebec and Ontario, and her work can be found in several private collections.
Her mixed media piece, “Entangled Lives,” was selected to beautify one of Niagara-on-the-Lake’s hydro boxes in 2021.
The solo exhibit runs from Aug. 2 to 28 in the art centre’s Joyner Gallery. The public can meet the artist at a reception on Sunday, Aug. 7, from 2 to 4 p.m.