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Strata hosts retrospective of Riki Weiland

Strata Gallery will be showing a retrospective of works by Riki Weiland called simply “Works,” featuring the local artist’s diverse expressions in paint and sculpture from the last decade.

Many of the works have been loaned back to the gallery from private collectors who now own the pieces, Strata co-owner Shirley Al said.

“We wanted to show a variety of Riki’s works, in both painting and sculpture, and have reached out to private collectors to assist us,” she said. “We have had a very generous response.”

The show opens Saturday, Nov. 10 with a 7-10 p.m. reception at the gallery at 62 Metcalfe St., Elora – and continues through Dec. 4.

“It is truly an honour to exhibit Riki’s works,” Al says. “She not only is a remarkably talented artist but a major mentor and contributor to the arts community.”

Weiland studied at the Ontario College of Art in Toronto and Cooper Union in New York City. She worked on the design teams for the Canadian Pavilion at Expo 67 and Osaka 69, and won international awards for her structural and graphic design.

In the 1980s, she focused on the fine arts, particularly sculpture and painting. She has had several solo exhibitions across the United States and Canada and won numerous awards.

When Weiland moved to Fergus in 1998, She met Jo-Anne Harder and jumped in to help with the first Elora Arts Council Sculpture Show, held outdoors in central Elora.

This inspired her to start working with clay under the mentorship of Beverley Cairns at the Gage Sculpture Group, started by the renowned sculptor Frances Gage. Later she furthered her studies with Geoffrey Stevens in an advanced sculpture group meeting at Elora Pottery.

Weiland was urged to enter a few pieces in the Sculpture Show, and she received such a positive response that she was encouraged to continue her explorations.

“I like the feeling of the clay as I manipulate it … I love the warm textures of the finished piece … It is a gentle process as opposed to welding or carving,” she says. “Perhaps I love it because I was not allowed to play with mud as a child.”

Weiland juggled her artistic career with many volunteer activities locally, believing it is essential, when living in a community that has as much to offer as ours, to make a contribution. Her volunteer service included being chair of the Elora Arts Council for two terms, Chair of the Insights juried show committee and numerous arts steering committees.

Later, when she moved to Elora, she began to paint large abstract works. These works are known for rich colours with lots of reds.

“Red is a colour of consequences – like the commitment of one’s life blood – but also a colour of celebration and vitality,” she said.

An Elora Centre for the Arts show earlier this year showcased some of her recent works, which used paint and collage to reflect on her family’s and her own life. She continued to create stunning artwork throughout her cancer treatments despite loosing sensitivity in her fingers, which she told the arts centre crowd made sculpture difficult.

“When I was diagnosed, I did a lot of reflecting,” she told a large crowd gathered for the March 8 opening of “Fragments” at the arts centre. “I did a lot of thinking about the past and getting ready for the future.”

The result was a series of works that illustrated her family’s and her background and lives in Europe and as immigrants to Canada.

“I create art because I have to – it is what I do – it is who I am,” Weiland says.

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