Thursday, June 21, 2012

Art Pops Up In A New Space

First published in The Oxford Journal on Wednesday, June 13 by Sara Mattinson.

Pugwash - If nature abhors a vacuum then art abhors an empty space. 
And so does artist Norene Smiley.
The co-owner of the  Chatterbox Cafe in Pugwash was faced with a huge hole when the gift shop moved out of the retail space she and her husband own next door.  
A painter herself, it didn’t take long for her to come up with a way to make the space more palatable. 
Up popped the Pop-Up Art Space.
“The space was available and we wanted to clean it up,” Smiley said. “An art space is where my mind would go so while this is available, we thought we’d highlight some local artists.”
For the month of June, three artists are occupying the Pop-Up Art Space. Shannon  Bell is a painter from New Glasgow, Diane Burnham of Pugwash  is displaying her metal sculptures while 20-year-old Isaac Fresia of Beckwith has several sculptures and a large sketch in the show. 
Fresia, who graduated from Oxford Regional Education Centre, has completed two years of a four-year program at the Nova Scotia School of Art and Design in Halifax. 
“It’s an incredible program,” he said. “You do a lot of different things and when I took sculpture, I really enjoyed it so now I’m still drawing but I’m also doing sculpture, product design and jewelry.”
It’s hard to avoid his biggest work of art at this show since it’s a large, visually striking metal sculpture stretching across the middle of the floor.  Obviously representing a human figure, Fresia titled it ‘Pull’.  
“A lot of it was just wanting to work with scraps to see how they evolved in the metal shop and also capturing motion with it,” he said.
This is his first major show outside of school. 
The plan is to change the artists showcased every month except for the weekend of HarbourFest. Smiley is bringing in several New Brunswick artists just for that three-day event. 
“It’s a little ad hoc,” Smiley laughed, “but that’s the fun of it. 
Future displays will include painters and potters. 

Isaac Fresia, Shannon Bell, Diane Burnham and Norene Smiley. 

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