Sarnia artist building a following with industrial motifs

Laura Kreviazuk works on a piece in her studio for an upcoming show at the Judith and Norman Alix Art Gallery. Cathy Dobson

Cathy Dobson

Laura Kreviazuk’s latest drawing is 18 feet long and covers almost one entire wall of her studio.

The maze of beams and joints and nuts and bolts, which seem to move and change depending on the viewer’s position, is the largest charcoal drawing the Sarnia artist has ever produced.

She works on it daily, mixing a surprising number of colours that she presses on a rag and adds with a finger.

Some describe her work as black and white, but the palette spread across the studio floor proves she incorporates a lot of muted colours that are not always obvious.

“I’m on a deadline with this one but I think I have it figured out,” she says.

The drawing will be the centrepiece to her show at the Judith and Norman Alix Art Gallery (JNAAG) opening July 6.

Kreviazuk was raised in Sarnia and left to earn a degree in studio art at the University of Guelph, then went on to work with an artists’ co-operative in Toronto.

“I was doing my undergrad when I started doing these large industrial pieces,” she said. It’s been 10 years since she became immersed in her unique visual language, creating large charcoal pieces with angular precision and complex parts that seem to move.

“For me, they are very metaphorical,” she explains. “They are also recognizable images that everyone can relate to. These big forms are so solid and stable but they are chaotic and distorted too.”

Why this curious industrial look?

“Truly, all my work is about living with anxiety,” she answers matter-of-factly.  “And I do think I’m inspired by our industrial surroundings. But I don’t like to explain it too much because I want people to have their own experience with it.”

Kreviazuk said she returned to her hometown two years ago to find a less expensive lifestyle and slower pace.

“I wasn’t being productive and I was exhausted all the time in Toronto,” she said.

Almost immediately, she felt welcomed by Sarnia’s arts community, she said.

For a brief time she painted small watercolours because they sold well. But “it didn’t feel like me.”

When invited to create a huge mural in a downtown window on Christina Street, she returned to her industrial motif and caught the imagination and interest of many.

“Something in my gut tells me to just keep making them,” she said.

Since that massive window mural, Kreviazuk has celebrated several successes. She had a show in Toronto’s Distillery District, became affiliated with a Toronto art gallery, joined a collective of emerging Toronto artists who do annual shows, and was selected as one of two local artists for this year’s JNAAG Look & See Show.

When JNAAG invited local artists to submit their work for consideration, 36 applicants responded. Only two were chosen. Kreviazuk’s work will be shown along with Alvinston-based artist Daisy Fresh’s work in a show called Composing Suspense.

 

IF YOU GO:

WHAT: “Composing Suspense” is this year’s local artists’ Look & See Show.

WHERE: Judith & Norman Alix Art Gallery, corner of Lochiel and Christina.

WHEN: July 6 – 15. Opening First Friday July 6, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

ADMISSION: Free. Donations welcome to the gallery.