Wednesday November 26, 2014

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Exhibit focuses on female experience

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Leesa Streifler stands next to Vulnerability and Fear of Disillusion, which is one of her works in her Embodied exhibit at the Estevan Art Gallery and Museum.

The new exhibit at the Estevan Art Gallery and Musem's Gallery No. 1 examines female experience with a focus on the body.

Leesa Streifler's Embodied boasts multi-layered acrylic paintings on large canvases. Speaking at a reception on March 14, Streifler said viewers can see parts of the body emerge.

“Some of them have many figures and parts of the body in them, and some of them have full bodies, so they're kind of different that way,” said Streifler. “They're narrative, so they tell a story.”

Most of the stories are autobiographical about her experiences and emotions, such as her tender interactions with her son, or the love between a person and an animal.

“It's about how all that experience impacts on our bodies, and the way we carry our bodies and the way we feel,” said Striefler. “So they're about emotions, they're about how we think of ourselves, and how we feel, rather than the external experiences of things.”

Often she'll draw or paint something that's internal, such as the heart and other organs.

In Vulnerability and Fear of Disillusion, for example, the mouth is depicted several times. Striefler said it's used to speak or be silent, as well as eat, kiss and so much more. Feet appear, too, which she said fits with her interest in gestures and body language.

Breasts in the painting reflect her interest and concern about breast cancer. While Streifler has never battled the disease, she finds it very sad that people continue to be diagnosed.

Also included in Vulnerability and Fear of Disillusion are bursts of energy, a uterus and painted fingernails.

“It goes all the way from illness and the threat of death to enjoying life and celebrating life,” said Streifler.

There are a lot of drips in her work, too, she said, because she views them as part of the painting process.

“They're like body fluids,” she said. “They can be tears or they can be stains. They're something that echoes the body. So I love drips and I love letting something go.”

She hopes her paintings speak to women, as well as to men who have a keen interest in women's well-being.

Streifler noted that her exhibit has never been laid out as well as it is at the EAGM, and the essay written by EAGM curator Alex King is the best ever about her work.

Another new exhibit at the EAGM is Humboldt Magnussen's From Many People's Strength, which is in Gallery No. 2. Magnussen uses patriotic symbols of Canada's and Saskatchewan's identity to create visual narratives. The exhibit's name draws on Saskatchewan's motto.

“His primary subjects are the woodland caribou and the western red prairie lily,” said King.

From Many People's Strength will be at the EAGM until April 17. Embodied will remain in Gallery No. 1 until April 25.

 


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