Artist creates whimsical, quirky pieces

NANAIMO - Nanaimo artists delve into the world of assemblage art in upcoming exhibition.

Grant Leier takes ordinary objects and incorporates him into his art. He loves vivid colours and is fascinated with patterns and decoration. His work is on display at the Nanaimo Art Gallery from Friday to Sunday (Nov. 6-8).

Something as ordinary as a bingo card can become a central focal point in a work of art with the right vision and creativity.

With a splash of vivid paint hues and accentuations, an assemblage art piece is born.

For Nanaimo artist Grant Leier, creating assemblage art is an exciting process that allows him to tell a story with the combined pieces in the frame.

“When you take ordinary objects and incorporate them into assemblage art, it elevates them and make them very special,” said Leier. “A lot of pieces are whimsical and charming… Sometimes assemblage art makes the pieces become narrative.”

The objects on their own are just ordinary and “nothing to write home about,” Leier explained.

Leier has been a painter for decades. In 1978, he graduated from the Alberta College of Art and then went to New York to further hone his skills at an illustrator’s workshop, which led him to his fascination with pattern and decoration.

“I’ve always liked objects and images in repetition,” said Leier. “I was intrigued by the enhanced quality of it.”

Leier’s assemblage art is part of the Nanaimo Art Gallery’s Art Lab Pop-Up Show, which also features the work of Nixie Barton. The exhibit is open Friday to Sunday (Nov. 6-8).

“I think people are excited about this show because it is so out and out fun … some images are darker; not all of them have a carnival feel. That is one thing that is exciting is they are all very quirky,” said Leier.

Leier said he takes special trips to Vancouver with Barton to find specialty pieces from different cultures. They visit Chinatown and frequent East Indian shops. They both also visit thrift shops to find objects.

Before the exhibit, Leier and Barton are leading a two-day assemblage workshop in the art lab. Leier said the people who have signed up for the workshop are all practising artists who want to explore the assembly aspect of their work. The art lab will focus on mixed media and adding objects. The art lab is a newly dedicated education space at the gallery.

The Art Gallery exhibit will also include work created by the artists in the two-day workshop. The opening reception is Friday from 7-9 p.m. Regular exhibition hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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