Art gallery ‘exposing’ talent of regional artists

From left to right: Curtis and Karen Groves along with Sandee and Joe Mayne stand next to Nada Hamatto's "Moon Explosion" at their "Expose Me" art gallery in downtown Grande Prairie, Alta. on Thursday, April 15, 2019. Peter Shokeir / Daily Herald-Tribune

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A new downtown art gallery has begun to “expose” the work of Grande Prairie artists after opening mid-July and holding a grand opening Thursday.

Co-owner Joe Mayne began “Expose Me” with his wife Sandee and their friends Curtis and Karen Groves in order to support the local art community.

“Basically, there’s a lot of people in Grande Prairie—there’s a lot of people everywhere—who make (art),” Mayne said.

“They just give it to a friend or sell it at a lot less than they should or it just collects dust, so we wanted to give them a place to expose their talent whereas it would never see the light of day otherwise.”

The gallery features multiple types of art, such as paintings and sculptures, and emphasizes artists from the Peace region but has accepted work from across Alberta and British Columbia. Mayne noted the gallery has signed over 30 artists.

“We won’t take anything but we’ll take everyone,” he said.

“We don’t judge on style, on medium, on topic, on creation. As long as it’s handmade and done well, then we’re most likely going to feature it.”

Nada Hamatto’s “Enlightenment” hangs behind fake fire at the “Expose Me” art gallery in downtown Grande Prairie, Alta. on Thursday, April 15, 2019. The acrylic painting pops out when one wears 3D glasses. Peter Shokeir / Daily Herald-Tribune

The interior of “Expose Me” is made out of recycled rundle rock and Douglas fir.

In addition, the gallery vents water vapor and uses lights at several spots to give the illusion of fire and produce scents.

But perhaps the most striking trait of “Expose Me” is its provocative name.

“It was definitely a play on words to grab the attention but it is exactly what it says,” Mayne said.

“We are exposing local artists and exposing their talent. We’re just putting a spotlight on that.”

Lawrence Stefan’s “Steel Swan” is displayed at the “Expose Me” art gallery in downtown Grande Prairie, Alta. on Thursday, April 15, 2019. Peter Shokeir / Daily Herald-Tribune

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