Painters Peni Patrick and Laurie Gruer approached fabric sculptor SaraLou Miller in spring 2018 about doing a collaborative project – they wanted to form a small group of artists to emotionally respond and interpret Miller’s “Costume Ladies”, with the idea of accumulating the finished pieces into a public art show. The group – Patrick, Gruer, Kato Wake, Jennifer Topaz Bruce and Mehdi Agahi, rented Studio Ex at the Picton Armoury from June to October, 2018 and worked on and off together. Their show, entitled MUSE, was held at the Picton Amoury during October Thanksgiving weekend. The popular response incurred a remount of the show in Belleville at Gallery 121 in January 2019.
The 5 Ladies are costume sculptures that SaraLou Milled created over the last 4 years. They have very elaborate costumes and jewellery (made by Miller), along with personalities that can be seen through their hand painted faces and style of dress. Each of them has a name.
From Peni Patrick’s opening speech at the MUSE opening on October 4, 2019
- MUSE: a source of artistic inspiration
To muse: to consider something thoughtfully
- That is exactly what we did. We spent 4 months with SaraLou’s figures in the studio. We laughed we cried and sometimes stamped our feet in frustration. We supported each other and at times challenged one another.
- We looked closely at the figures; we touched them; we talked to them; we asked them questions; they gave us answers. We each responded to our personal connection with them through our art. Some of our responses were about the physical nature of the figures; some were emotional responses and sometimes we responded to an imagined social context. All our responses were individual as you can see.
- We invite you to take the time to read our statements, talk with one another and with us about what you see, what you think and what you feel.