By Jonathan Martin
The opening reception for a local artist’s exhibit has drawn an estimated 80 people to the Gibson Gallery.
The show, titled “From My Heart,” opened Sunday and will run through April 16. It features the work of Windsorite Cindy Shafer.
Shafer says her art focuses on her “impressions of nature and its inspirational value.” She feels that her style lies somewhere between expressionism and impressionism.
“From My Heart” is dominated by highly-stylized landscapes done in acrylic. Loud, striking colours and obvious, textured brushstrokes pervade the exhibit, channeling the energy, movement and gaiety of its springtime subject matter.
“I don’t usually tell people what my paintings are about (emotionally),” Shafer said. “But their feedback is usually that they feel what I did while I was painting it.”
Shafer said she sees painting as a sort of escapism. She uses her brushes to build a univese in which she can simply sit and breathe. Sometimes it’s a reflection of someplace real, or a peaceful moment immortalized and stretched out to infinity over the canvas.
Many times, though, Shafer said, her landscapes come from a world that would otherwise exist only in her mind.
“It’s like playing Barbies,” she explained, referring to the Mattel doll brand. “I am the Barbie and I’m making myself a world and become a part of that world.”
A world in which Roger, Shafer’s husband, has taken up residence.
“(Her artwork is) on every wall of my house,” he said, laughing. “It’s like I’m living inside of her (mind).”
And he doesn’t expect it to change any time soon. Roger said he thinks the Gibson Gallery exhibit is just the beginning for his wife. He thinks gallery patrons will “see the uniqueness” in Cindy’s work and will tell others about what she has created. That will lead to more paintings and, ultimately, more Cindy.
“This really is her,” he said, motioning to the paintings hanging on the gallery walls. “When I look at them, I see her. People connect with that (artistic honesty).”
According to Gibson Gallery office administrator Bonnie Deslippe, those connections are already being made. She said several of Shafer’s pieces sold within the first hour of “From My Heart’s” opening reception. She thinks art-lovers are likely excited by the work of a creator who was previously unknown to them. Though “From My Heart” is not Shafer’s first exhibition, it is the largest in which she is the only artist featured.
Based on the reception”From My Heart” has received, Shafer said she doesn’t think it will be the last.
The exhibit runs through April 16.
The Gibson Gallery is located at 140 Richmond St. and their website is www.gibsonartgallery.com.
Their Facebook site can be found at www.facebook.com/GibsonGallery.
To find them on Twitter, visit www.twitter.com/ARTamherstburg.