Artist Filomena Pisano is showcasing her love and admiration for Niagara-on-the-Lake on Sunday at the opening of a month-long solo art show entitled “Finding Camelot.”
Named after what she has lovingly nicknamed the town, the show at Ironwood Cider House highlights a special piece of Niagara-on-the-Lake in every piece, literally and figuratively.
Hanging to the right of the staircase entrance, a painting titled “Sophia” welcomed guests to the gallery. Appearing to be a portrait of a beautiful woman, the piece has quite the backstory.
Featuring mosaic pieces from Turkish Bazaar on Queen Street and broken plate pieces from Pie’za on Victoria Street surrounding the woman’s face, the work speaks to the communal spirit of the town.
The artist, who uses the name Pisano Artista professionally, also reached out to Sherkston Shores glass and metal artist Robert Buick for some broken pieces to add to the painting.
“He picked up a bust and said, ‘I hate these colours, but I know you’ll love them,’ and he smashed it!” recalled Pisano.
Glass from that bust was included in the piece alongside other contributions, making “Sophia” a real community effort.
Other pieces in the collection cite pieces of town in their creation.
“Joan of Arc,” an interpretation of the patron saint of France, was painted years after Pisano saw a Shaw play about the historical figure in town.
Pisano was inspired by the figure’s story, combining it with elements of her own life.
“She’s wearing a helmet because I started painting after I hit my head,” said Pisano. “A canoe hit me, a blue canoe at Blue Mountain. Two weeks later, I started painting.”
Sitting on an opposite wall in the gallery were the pieces “Summer in the Vineyard,” “Spring in Camelot” and “Where the Flowers Bloom,” all pieces inspired by nature and the four seasons in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
“Where the Flowers Bloom” was painted during quarantine in 2020.
Pisano was inspired by the $10 hydrangeas being sold by VanNoort Flower Studio at the time.
“Just a bouquet of flowers was so important back then,” said Pisano.
The piece speaks to how the community of Niagara-on-the-Lake came together to bring some light into dark times, she said.
Ironwood, on Lakeshore Road, has a gallery space upstairs.
Marketing manager Robyn Brown said while the facility has only featured exhibits for artists whose work is displayed on Ironwood’s cans thus far, in the new year, the plan is to host galleries for even more area artists.
Brown said that amid the traditional wineries in the area, “having such a modern facility is a great addition.”