Joan Krawczyk sits on the stage of her church studio in front of the large-scale gold leaf art she will showcase in an upcoming exhibit at the Margaret George Gallery’s opening on April 14. AMY MACKENZIE – THE NEWS
Editor’s Note: The News will be profiling the 10 artists who will have art showcased in an upcoming exhibit at New Glasgow’s new art gallery at The Celtic Circle on Forbes Street. The inaugural exhibition of the Margaret George Gallery will open April 14 from 1 to 4 p.m.
TRENTON – After spending 20 years in Manhattan’s art scene, Joan Krawczyk found her dream home and art studio in a former church in Trenton. The artist has been painting portraits of Pictou County residents lately and says she loves living in a place where everyone knows her when she’s walking down the street.
She is one of 10 artists who will have their work showcased in an opening exhibition of the Margaret George Gallery at The Celtic Circle on Forbes Street on April 14. Krawczyk is also a co-founder of the gallery.
While she is becoming known in the area for painting locals for her Portraits of Pictou County series that was recently shown at The Bistro, she will be showcasing large-scale gold leaf art of trees she made to help her get through chemotherapy while living in a small basement apartment in New York City.
The gold art is the focal point of her studio, standing on the stage in front of her church. She made a similar gold piece for the film “Home for the Holidays” and wanted to make one for herself.
“Because I was living in an illegal basement loft, I got so enamored with the gold leaf because it’s so atmospheric that I thought, ‘I’m going to do something wonderful.’ So here I am, doing a Canadian landscape in a basement apartment in Manhattan, there’s something a little ironic about that and maybe a little foreshadowing about that,” she said. “When I prepared the clay surface that holds the gold leaf, I made it pitted in some areas and I had to make that structure perfect for what went on top so there would be a certain visual noise. The trees, I didn’t use any green, but rather yellow and blue.”
Krawczyk said she traded the art scene in New York City where she was a private art dealer, among other titles, for a quieter life in Pictou County because after 20 years, she wanted to live in a place with less crime and an environment where she could focus on doing art for herself, rather than for other people.
“I like being able to walk down the street and talk to people. I love the community and there’s a real void here for arts and I feel like I’m filling a need and I’m useful,” she said. “Whereas in New York, everyone was far too ambitious and your friends were more ambitious than you.... This town is great. The people are great, and I love it here.”
The Margaret George Gallery’s inaugural exhibition will open on April 14 from 1 to 4 p.m. at The Celtic Circle on Forbes Street, New Glasgow.
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