’Detail from Accomplice I‘ by Patricia Lortie.

Five artists from Calgary and Edmonton regularly meet in Red Deer as a collective

“We thought we should unite our strengths” says a member

To be a mother and an artist isn’t easy – as the historic record shows.

Throughout the centuries, male artists have been able to pursue their careers with fewer domestic encumbrances – “and that’s still true,” said Calgary artist Patricia Lortie, the mother of three grown sons.

Lortie and her four female friends are professional artists, but still occasionally need to remind each other “you are allowed to hide in your studio all day,” she added, with a laugh.

Lortie is part of an artistic collective called DEVENIR along with Daniele Petit, Sabine Lecorre-Moore, Doris Charest and Karen Blanchet. Their joint show, Abundance, is at the Kiwanis Gallery, downstairs at the Red Deer Public Library.

While the five Francophone artists live in either Calgary or Edmonton, they meet every three months to work together in Red Deer. And they hold a Skype meeting once at week at 6:45 a.m. – the only time everyone is available.

The arrangement works well because the members face similar challenges, and they are the right mix of personalities, said Lortie. “We are very giggly and we have a lot of fun whenever we get together … so we thought we should just unite our strengths and see what we can do together.”

While supporting each woman’s “personal artistic journey” is important to the collective, “we also wanted to help each other stay on track to get our careers more established,” Lortie explained.

“It seems the time you need to spend in studio, and the time you need to spend marketing your work is too much, it’s not really doable,” she added.

It therefore helps when promotional responsibilities are split up between five artists.

Lortie said since DEVENIR (from the French verb for ‘transitioning’) was started two years ago, the collective has landed five gallery shows.

The women met through Alberta’s francophone art association. Their diverse but complementary artistic styles, range from abstract to impressionistic.

Lortie, raised in Quebec, creates large colourful canvases influenced by Gustav Klimt, Henri Matisse and Alex Janvier. Her symbolic works often have a theme of the connection between people and nature.

Edmontonian Petit was born in France, and she creates bold abstracts influenced by patterns in nature.

Quebec native Lecorre-Moore, who lives in Calgary, uses colour to achieve harmony and “a sense of beauty.”

Charest, a St. Albert resident, is influenced by Marc Chagall, and she likes to experiment with artistic media.

Edmontonian Blanchet plays with complementary colours to create “breathtaking greys, augmenting the intensity of pure pigments.”

Their exhibit, inspired by colour, continues in the gallery operated by the Red Deer Arts Council until Oct. 14.


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Detail from Terra Patchwork by Daniele Petit.

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