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Fusion 5 set to show paintings, quilts and sculptures in new show

Exhibit of the five artists' work opens April 6 with a reception and runs at The Gallery at L.E. Shore in Thornbury to May 1

Five local artists have joined forces to combine their energy and work for an upcoming exhibit.

Called Fusion 5, the artists, Marion Bartlett, Heather Smiley, Craig Sealey, Heather LaRue and Jennifer Nemes are showing an eclectic collection of work that includes oil and watercolour paintings, fabric wall pieces and large sculptures in wood, metal, clay and stone.

The show opens on April 6 with an open reception and runs at The Gallery at L.E. Shore in Thornbury to May 1.

The five originally joined forces and became friends through the Collingwood-based Blue Mountain Foundation for the Arts which services the wider region.

“I was visiting the gallery in Thornton, the L.E.Shore Gallery and I was so impressed,” Bartlett recalls.

The Gallery at L.E. Shore attached to the Blue Mountains Public Library is a vaulted exhibition space ideal for a group art display. Bartlett liked that it’s a non-profit geared for the public. So the five artists who have all admired each other’s work, decided to create Fusion 5 for a new show.

The curator, she added, was interested that the group includes three painters, a fabric artist and a sculptor.  The resulting work to be displayed is blend of landscape art, abstract work, unique fabric work as well as Bartlett’s 3D work.

Bartlett does do some painting, but she describes the three painters of Fusion 5 as “truly expert.”

Bartlett has long been working as a full-time sculptor, using wood, clay, concrete as well as bronzes, large and small. She has created public art, as well, which is on display across the Greater Toronto Area.

Her Singhampton garage-top studio and home is located on a four-acre forested lot where she has created a sculpture park, displaying some of her work along a path that meanders through the woods. The 30-odd installations have been created over her eight years there, the latest of which is an eight-foot tall head located in an area deep in the forest.

Her husband, Rick Bino, a retired civil engineer, has turned his hand to woodworking and has created the foundations for a lot of her work.

“We have, every year, increasingly more people… We’ve had people from Australia, New Zealand, all over Europe,” says Bartlett, keen to introduce people to the art and the surroundings. “The forest is free.”

More of her work is on display in her studio, where she also hosts workshops. That, too, is often open to visitors.

Craig Sealy, of Thornbury, is the textile artist who explores traditional notions in what he describes as his obsession: quilting. His work, he says, can be very playful and may also reference personal ideas and experiences. “I never tire of exploring colour, geometric forms and nature in my work,” he adds.

Heather LaRue, of Collingwood, is a visual artist who enjoys working in charcoal, watercolour and oil. Her focus is landscape painting, but she also paints pet portraits for clients. She describes herself as a plein air painter who finds inspiration close to home in the Blue Mountains surroundings. She divides her time between her home studio in Collingwood and her summer studio overlooking Georgian Bay in Parry Sound.

Heather Smiley’s first love is painting. She explores the emotional relationship with light, colour and location in the natural world in the landscape and has exhibited at juried shows and galleries in Ontario and Quebec. She has called Collingwood and the Blue Mountains her home since 2001.

Jenny Nemes is an abstract, mixed media visual artist who explores pattern, texture and mark making, creating layers of interest to the canvas through acrylic, oil painting, collage and printmaking. “My current body of work is inspired by the change of seasons and the renewed energy that spring brings,” she says. When she’s not painting she applies this same spontaneity and enthusiasm to her ceramic works