Emilia Perri: Colour and Progress at Alton Mill

April 13, 2016   ·   0 Comments

Emilia Perri is pleased about staging a show of her art at the Alton Mill in Alton, which is on now and until April 24. Her opening was the day the power was mostly out around the area, on Easter weekend, although the power to the  Alton Mill did come on just in time.

“I was surprised how many people actually came,” she said, “considering how many houses were affected by the outage.”

However, there will be a “soft opening” this Saturday, April 16, for more visitors to meet her and have the chance to talk to her about her very interesting work.

At this point in her career, Ms. Perri is painting intuitively; her show is called Colour in Process.

“It refers to the process that I go through to make my paintings,” she explained, “discovering the process is like a journey and I go on until I think I should stop.”The paintings she is producing in this mind set are remarkable, very full of colour and, surprisingly, lacking in chaos. A real sense of structure inhabits her work in spite of the spontaneity of her application. There is a reason for this: her work is based in her own connection with nature, which is all structure and design.

In love with painting since high school, when she took art courses  there, following which she went on to attend the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD). There she studied fine art, leading her to do painting, print making and textile design, as well as some sculpture.

In the end, “painting is my first love,” she attested. “Now that style that’s in my show is pretty well what I’m doing at the moment.”With her connection to nature, she refers to her paintings as “atmospheric and intuitive driven.”

She puts it this way: “There’s no plan – even if there’s a plan, I don’t stick to it.”

Ms. Perri owns and runs her shop, Maggiolly Art Supplies on Broadway. Her first shop was in Alliston, where she opened her doors in 1996.

She eventually moved her store to Orangeville. Although the arts community from Shelburne shopped at her store in Alliston, she found herself coming to Orangeville to shop and began to see what a wonderful place it is and how vibrant the arts community here is.

She commented, “My shop was more centrally located in Orangeville.” So, she moved here in 2003 and found that not only did her customers from Shelburne continue to patronize her shop but she also attracted the community within the Orangeville area as far away as Fergus.

Over the time of her development as an artist, she tells us, “I fell in love with Franz Beckmann, a German impressionist; and Matisse too. I was a portrait painter but more and more, I became interested in lines and shape. For me, there’s always a connection to nature.

I love the fog and cloud.” She began to explain the importance to her of colour in nature: “I love the way you can look outside and never see the same colours. It’s never ever the same twice. I always find so much to see in nature – it’s all about the energy in me and around me. Jackson Pollack was asked if he loved nature and he said, ‘I am nature.’ That’s me too.”

She added with feeling, “I’m very happy about where my work is now but I need to push it further.”

Part of her way to initiate that push is her plan to join Canoe North Adventures, owned and run by Al Pace and Lin Ward, in August to canoe on the Yukon River from White Horse to Dawson City. This is a very exciting expedition and Ms. Perri’s voice told us how thrilled she is at the prospect of the trip.

“I will be producing work – the patterns found in nature,”  she said.

In particular, she will chronicle and show how development is affecting nature in the north.

As we were talking on the telephone, Ms. Perri in her store and we in our office, there was a workshop in progress in her shop. Maggiolly’s hosts workshops about art and painting all year long. This one was being conducted by Michael Foers who was doing a three day workshop on painting water lilies, with either acrylic or oils on large canvasses.

This is another passion of Ms. Perri’s. It is a large part of her ambition for herself.

“I do like what I do as long as I can keep painting. The shop is bringing in more art classes. I’m really interested in art classes for kids. Kids need art – they need something away from the technical world – it’s so stressful. If they can come to art – and music – it’s better for them when they’re feeling stressed. So they can come when they’re stressed, I’ve been keeping my prices down.”

She told of the great things she has heard from kids who came to her art classes over the years.

“I just got an email from Halifax from a girl who graduated from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD). She came to the classes in my store when I was still in Alliston and she was between eight and 11 years old.

“She told me, ‘I came to your classes in Maggiolly and that’s how I started in art. You helped lead me to study.’ It made me really feel good. Even now, I get stopped at art shows in Toronto by people who took the art classes at Maggiolly to say that’s where they started in art.”

Ms. Perri told us, “If I won the lottery, I’d open a school of art for kids and they’d all be able to come for free.”

Ms. Perri’s art show, “Colour and Process” has a soft opening this Saturday and runs at the Alton Mill until April 24. Some of the collection with then be moved to the newly renovated Spa at the Millcroft Inn nearby the Alton Mill.

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