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Nanaimo painter Claudia Lohmann makes private gallery debut at Gallery Merrick

Lohmann is vice president of the Nanaimo chapter of the Federation of Canadian Artists
Cedar’s Claudia Lohmann is presenting an exhibition of her paintings at Gallery Merrick from Sept. 21 to 23. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)

When Claudia Lohmann holds her first private gallery show, she’ll be giving viewers a glimpse of both sides of her brain.

For the past few years the Cedar-based painter and vice president of the Nanaimo chapter of the Federation of Canadian Artists has been experimenting with more abstract, impressionist painting, a striking departure from her typical, highly detailed, geometrical works.

“I think my brain works more like that,” Lohmann said of her more cubist art.

“But if I paint a painting like that it takes an awful long time and then I need to free myself a little bit and let loose. So I started to do abstract, which is not easy for me.”

Lohmann will be presenting both styles of art at Gallery Merrick from Friday, Sept. 21 to 23. Gallery owner and curator Joe Bembridge will be displaying the paintings on opposite walls to illustrate both sides of Lohmann’s work.

“We talked about the two sides of the brain and then I said, ‘Well heck, why don’t we split the gallery down the middle just like two sides of the brain and talk about how she works with those two contrasting, very tight cubist work and then the very loose abstract?’” he said.

“So going with a brain it was kind of a no-brainer to hang it that way.”

Despite growing up in a creative household surrounded by art, Lohmann, the youngest, doubted her own ability and didn’t start painting until later in life.

“I get a lot of support from my family, which is totally necessary, of course,” Lohmann said.

As someone who is a latecomer to art herself, Lohmann said she hopes her show encourages others to stop hesitating and give it a try.

“It doesn’t matter what your age is, if you feel like you have to do something, you have to do it. And I think getting older it’s more important to have your creativity and your outlet for it,” she said, adding that it can be scary at first, but rewarding in the end.

“We have so many talented artists here on the Island, I admire so many of them, so it’s very easy to be a little bit intimidated and you just have to let loose and say, ‘No, I can do it,’” she said.

WHAT’S ON … Claudia Lohmann exhibition opening reception at Gallery Merrick, 13B Commercial St., on Friday, Sept. 21 from 7 to 9 p.m. Show continues through Sept. 23.

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