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"What A Woman" says Tara Leach’s art

In a Q & A, Brandon artist and teacher Tara Leach explains why art is important.

The work of artist and high school teacher, Tara Leach, adorns the CPR Historic Station Gallery throughout February. The display is entitled “What A Woman”.

We invited Tara to tell us a little about herself and her art.

VEA: Describe your style of art

Tara: “I would say my style is a kind of nostalgic realism with imaginative elements as well. I love portraiture, advertising imagery, bold colour, layered space, patterns, fonts, and abstract shapes, especially circles.”

VEA: What are your favourite subjects?

Tara: “My favourite subjects are the lives of the real girls and women in my immediate family and the ways that we have constructed and continue to build our identities and relationships with the world. In addition to these everyday snapshots, I am also drawn to vintage advertising images depicting women who appear calm or happy but who I know must be hiding a great deal beneath a lovely surface. Playful (and sometimes really serious) critique of the expectations that limit the ability of women to live authentically often sneaks into my work as well.”

VEA: Why is art important in your life?

Tara: “Oh my goodness, art is important to me in so many ways. It allows me to slow down and escape into a state of flow when life feels overwhelming or the flood of information is too much. It allows me to take my time and focus when I feel my attention darting everywhere. It lets me work through strong feelings or to sit with complicated problems until they make some sort of sense.

“I use art to record what is important to me and make vibrant little worlds where I decide what is included and is worthy of attention. This is so comforting and allows real reflection.

“My students say a lot of similar things about the role of art in their lives. It is a great honour to witness their visual self-expression and to support them as they grow in confidence and ability. Sharing with teenagers the ways that art enriches life is among of the greatest pleasures of my life.”

VEA: Have you visited Virden's gallery before, either as a visitor or a presenter?

Tara: “The first time I visited Virden’s gallery was the day I came to install my work. It’s such a unique and beautiful location - the rooms have so much character and are just ideal for this show. It was thrilling when the train came whizzing and rattling by! Christa is so kind and helpful - she made me and my daughter (who came to help me set up) feel welcome and right at home here. I’m really excited to invite my friends and family to see my work this space. I know I will be coming back to this great gallery to view future exhibitions!”

More about Leach’s work can be found at: Better yet, enjoy ‘What A Woman’ this month at Arts Mosaic’s Gallery on Sixth Ave. in Virden.

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