Arts

A sample of the artwork on display at the 24th Annual Open Studio. Photo: Liya Huang.

U of O alumna opens up about 24th Annual Open Studio exhibit

Are you an art lover who’s always on the lookout for an event where you can just stare at pretty things and be contemplative? Well, look no further than the Enriched Bread Artists’ (EBA) 24th Annual Open Studio on Thursday, Sept. 22.

Started by a handful of fine arts graduates from the University of Ottawa in 1991, this artist co-op has since taken over the local art scene for decades now, being the largest art studio in Ottawa and attracting crowds of 2,500+ during their weekend galleries.

All together, EBA houses 22 artists, many of which are U of O alumni. These talented artists have their paintings, sculptures, studios, photography, digital media, and drawings all on display at an old bread factory on Preston Street.

I had the pleasure of being able to roam around this charming art factory and I was nothing short of enamoured. With rustic floors, crisp white plaster walls, and specks of gold light mixed in with the different art pieces on display, the building radiates charm and a cheerful feeling.

Juliana Mcdonald, an artist with EBA and a U of O alumna, gave me a tour of the studio and answered some questions. Her work conveys powerful messages through provocative oil-on-canvas paintings, centring around natural beauty found in and around Ottawa.

The Fulcrum: How long have you been apart of the EBA?

Juliana: I’ve been a part of the Enriched Bread Artists since 2000, after I graduated from (the U of O) with my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.   

What inspires your work? What themes and messages do you work with the most?

I love nature and try to spend as much of my time being in nature as I can. I draw a lot of my inspiration from it. I’m very concerned with what’s happening to our planet and our resources. We’ve been taking so much and have not been thinking about the consequences. We know we have to stop but we aren’t going to because of our deep-rooted greed.

Do you think obtaining your bachelor of fine arts at the University of Ottawa has helped you become a better artist?

Absolutely. It opened up my eyes to possibilities I have never considered before. It made me take risks. There were things that I didn’t want to do but, of course, it turned out great and now I incorporate all those skills into my artwork. There’s a lot to know when it comes to creating art, the university does a very good job at teaching artists that.

What does the Enriched Bread Artists mean to you?

This is my place, my private space. There’s always something happening here. I can come here, close the door and be enveloped in my own creative energy. But I can also open the door and talk to other artists, share new ideas, techniques, expertise and give each other support.

Can current U of O students use the EBA as a resource?

If students want to talk to a professional artist about process, balancing time making art with other commitments in life, approaching galleries, writing proposals, selling one’s own work, there are many EBA artists who can help students in answering those questions.

The gallery opens with various events starting on Sept. 22 and features local artists. It is free to attend and, if that’s not incentive enough to support U of O artists, beer and snacks will also be provided.

For more information detailing the gallery’s schedule, you can visit their website.