Maureen Ault is an up-and-coming botanical artist, whose work is currently being featured at the Elora Centre for the Arts.
By Justine Kraemer, GAC Volunteer Writer
Maureen Ault is an up-and-coming botanical artist, whose work is currently being featured at the Elora Centre for the Arts. The exhibit opened with a gala on Sunday October 15, attended by Ault herself. Ault works primarily in botanicals. Her pieces feature the use of leaves, bark, petals, grasses, and the like. To create this effect, Ault has worked with greenhouses, florists, and materials found in her own backyard.
Ault’s story of becoming an artist is a compelling one. After a motor vehicle collison in 2012 left her with an Acquired Brain Injury, she re-started her artistic journey. She began using pressed flowers to create cards to raise money to fund her service dog. Her art was a necessary part of her occupational therapy. Since then, she has expanded her artistic repertoire. Her exhibit in Elora is among the most recent times her art has been featured locally.
Ault’s work has also been featured at the 10C Community Space in Guelph, Art on the Street, Riverdale Artwalks, the Kloepfer Gallery in Guelph, and Dragonfly Arts on Broadway in Orangeville. Ault intends to return to Art in the Street in future years. The last event was held virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. At the opening of the ‘A Moment in Time’, Ault expressed the need for art to be experienced in-person, to get the full effect. ‘A Moment in Time’ is a first step in this direction.
Ault’s work focuses mainly on scenary around Guelph, Wellington County, and the Region of Waterloo. Exhibit visitors are sure to recognize such local landmarks as the David Street Bridge in Elora, the Guelph covered bridge, and a distinctly Guelph view of the Speed River. Additionally, Ault incorporates national landscapes into her work featured here. The Bay of Fundy and Lady Evelyn Lake are examples of national scenes that Ault successfully captures.
The colours Ault uses allows her to explore seasons in an artistic way. Summer and autumn in particular provide particular inspiration in many of the pieces. The vibrancy pops off of the canvases, and adds greater depth to the scene. She is also able to capture wildlife in various scenes as well. The pieces involving wildlife are less about re-creating a look in real-life. Rather, the wildlife are artistic depictions of movement seen in the wild.
In terms of her process, Ault uses highlights and shadows to re-create nature and scenes as she perceives them. She uses various techniques to experiment with textures and colours. She speaks to the challenges of working with botanicals, and the fact that there is less room for error if an element is not in line with her vision. However, she demonstrates that she is able to improvise as needed. In the piece, “Sunset Over Speed River, Guelph”, the black leaves that make up the shadows of trees were originally meant to be green.
In addition to current and future exhibits, sampling of Ault’s work can be found at http://Simply-Maureen.com. Here, there is a sampling of her work that is currently available for sale. Due to the nature of the pieces being constructed with botanicals, Ault recommends that pieces be displayed away from direct sunlight. Ault is active on social media, Facebook and Instagram respectively, where she also posts updates about her art.
‘A Moment in Time’ is a stunning and captivating collection, that is a tribute to the natural world. This collection is a reminder that we don’t have to venture much further than our own backyards to experience the beauty nature has to offer. As a disabled artist, it’s crucial that work like Ault’s is uplifted, to make space for artists with a variety of abilities. Ault’s continued expansion into her medium shows no signs of slowing any time soon.
A Moment in Time is at the Elora Centre for the Arts from October 6-November 20, 2022.