A downtown dreamland

MISHAE LEE

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On Sunday, Jan. 25 Mahtay Café in downtown St. Catharines celebrated a new exhibition featuring the artwork of talented local artists Emma Lee Fleury and Whitney Peterson.

Mahtay Café’s vision for establishing a strong community base and shining a light on local artists is achieved through featuring the work of various artists throughout the month, as well as holding daily events that range from open mic nights, concerts, artisan shops and poetry slams to name a few.

Guests also had the pleasure of enjoying the tunes from an assortment of local musicians performing throughout the night.

The gallery opening featured Fleury and Peterson, along with performances from musicians Anthony Sweet, Avery Mikolic-O’Rourke, Kurt Dunn, Joshua Di lorio, Joe Mahony, Matt Meagher and Sarah Hamilton.

Dreamland Series by Fleury beautifully narrates the relationship between the human experience and nature, while capturing the imaginative wonders of the human mind.

Her work depicts breathtaking images that give onlookers the chance to admire the inherently natural wonders of the earth, simultaneously inspiring a powerful image in the mind’s eye that encourages a reflection of ones own experiences with the natural environment.

“I am constantly discovering the truth about the human connection with nature, and what we as humans perceive and believe to be true based on our perception,” said Fleury.

“This perception has the possibility of being sculpted and altered in each passing moment of our existence because we are undeniably guided to view our surroundings based on our environment and the norms of societies”.

Fleury’s extensive three-month exploration with the natural world is fused into the multidimensional layers of her work. Her pieces illustrate a blending of surroundings that we rarely tend to visualize together due to the dominant ideologies that are present in our society.

Dreamland Series transforms the visible world through transcending the boundaries that have slowly developed over time between inanimate human settings and nature.

“We have given into the distractions and boundaries of thought processes, unable to take a break from the busying tasks or structured lifestyle, altering our senses and reactions to that of the sensuous world,” said Fleury.

As members of a contemporary Western society, it is easy to repress or deny the direct effects of our human existence on the living environment, but Fleury’s Dreamland Series encourages both a reflection and an alteration in perspective.

“We are taught a certain one-way mind set of perception, that we are separate and above nature.”

Artists have the unique ability to ignite a change, no matter how noticeably big and influential or seemingly small and insignificant; the change begins the moment the artist gives their work the breath to speak volumes through silence.

The Dreamland Series will also be included in the local three-day arts festival in downtown St. Catharines, In the Soil Arts Festival, from Apr. 24 to 26.

Dreamland Series will be featured at Mahtay Café until Jan. 31.

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