Andamento: Re-inventing the Ancient Mosaic Flow in a Contemporary Style
Ontario Mosaic Artists was created by 6 like-minded friends - Amanda Stapells, Angèle Blasutti, Elena Martoglio, Mehtap Mertdoğan, Valerie McGarry, and me - to organize an annual mosaic art exhibition to showcase contemporary fine art mosaics, and to promote mosaic art and mosaic artists living in Ontario.
As this would be our first exhibition, we chose to invite mosaic artists from around the province who we thought would like to participate in the show, who worked in both 2D and 3D, and who used a variety of materials in their own unique styles. We were thrilled to have 11 exceptional contemporary mosaic artists join us on our adventure. The group of 17 participating artists included:
Pippa Beck, Ottawa; Angèle Blasutti, Toronto; Patrizia Brasch, Toronto; Judy Breau, Toronto; Roberto Centazzo, Toronto; Thomas Faires, Toronto; Jenny May Gifford, London; Jean Loney, Fergus; Elena Martoglio, Oakville; Valerie McGarry, Whitby; Mehtap Mertdoğan, Toronto; Heather J. Smith, Cornwall; Kathryn Spooner Bossy, Ottawa; Amanda Stapells, Tiny; Cathy Taylor, Minden; Heather Vollans, Brantford; Karen Ylitalo, Sudbury
Now we had to find a gallery to host the exhibit! We decided the Leslie Grove Gallery, in vibrant and hip Leslieville, would be perfect for our first show. We submitted our proposal, held our breaths and were super excited when it was accepted!! We had our venue, and the show was no longer just a dream, but a reality.
To make a long story short, after more than a year of planning, countless ZOOM meetings, emails, text messages, and not to mention COVID, we had everything in place for our very first mosaic exhibition.
To promote the exhibition, we sent a press release to local government representatives, local Business Improvement Areas, and to all media.
"The exhibition will present an exceptional collection of contemporary mosaic art, in a range of styles, techniques and dimensions. The 17 participants include emerging and internationally acclaimed artists whose works present new and exciting approaches to the ancient art form. On display will be mosaic art made of glass, stone, ceramics, found objects, metal, and more. Be sure to view in person captivating nature scenes in glass, various mixed-media abstract artworks, a politically charged piece or two, and some remarkable sculptures."
To further promote the show, the 6 founding members of the organizing committee collaborated on a mosaic designed by Angèle Blasutti. The mosaic - Andamento, Six by Six - consists of 6 mosaics done by each of us, in varying sizes, in our different styles and choice of material. We would hold a raffle and pick the winner the last day of the exhibit.
As COVID restrictions lessened, and people were out socializing more and attending events, we kept our fingers crossed for opening night. We were relieved and lucky that our opening night reception was an actual, in-person event. The first one the gallery had held in more than 18 months. However, the threat of a massive thunder storm was looming, the temperature, with humidity, was well above 30C (86 F), and the gallery has no air-conditioning. But none of that deterred people from coming and opening night was more successful than we could have hoped.
We are proud to say that our exhibition was a huge success, with 17 artists exhibiting a total of 47 outstanding works of art. We achieved our goal - to expose a larger audience to contemporary mosaic fine art, to show off how stunning contemporary mosaic art is, and to introduce the artists who create it.
And, on the last day, we picked the lucky winner of the raffle - Aylin Gurer of Oakville.
To celebrate and commemorate Ontario Mosaic Artists' first fine art mosaic exhibition, we created a video (below) to showcase the artwork and the artists.