Winnipeg artist Sari Habiluk is flying solo for the first time.
Today she is sitting in a gallery surrounded by several dozen of her primarily abstract acrylics on canvas. Her exhibition, The Golden Hour, opens on First Friday, May 5 at cre8ery. After seven group shows, she has her moment in the sun, her first solo show in the main gallery at cre8ery.
For the twentysomething Habiluk, it’s been a progression that didn’t include art school. “There was a good fine arts program at my high school,” she says. “I’d do the odd commission for family or acquaintances. Here and there.”
Habiluk has sold work out of a St Boniface tattoo shop and painted background on murals around town. In 2013, she became a member of cre8ery gallery and studio. “I got a lot more focused,” she says.
She currently has some work displayed in more upscale surroundings at the Nott Autocorp & Art Gallery. And for something completely different, publishes a comic strip, “Un-Supermarket”, in both university papers, The Uniter and The Manitoban.
At cre8ery her paintings are overwhelmingly abstract, but include several striking mandalas. The colours are vibrant, no muted tones here.
“I’ve been working on this entire room for two years. I really, really like abstract. I like the whole intuitive approach to everything,” says Habiluk.
“You see what you’re feeling in the morning. If you need to get something out or explore something, but not using actual objects. It’s a quite different way about it, as opposed to painting a landscape. Much more enjoyable.”
In an adjoining workspace, Habiluk points out a cityscape nearing completion after 54 hours work.
“I’m getting zero joy out of the fine details of buildings. I like the end result but the process is not enjoyable,” she explains. “With abstract I love the result and the whole process. Even if I hate it, I love it!”
She adds, “What I like about abstract (is) you tell me what you see. If someone wants to know what it’s about, I’ll tell them. That’s the whole point of being subjective. You get to tell your own story.”
The “Golden Hour” is the magic time around sunrise and sunset loved by artists and photographers for the quality of light. For Habiluk, it’s more late at night when she is able to paint.
“That’s pretty much when I work on painting. Because I do have a day job. So I pretty much do that when I come home. I like the time and space at night. I’m more productive at that time.”
Looking around the gallery, she sees an evolution in her paintings over time. More details, thinner lines, thicker lines, just trying new things.
Looking forward? “I just want to keep seeing what I can do.”
The Golden Hour runs from May 5 to May16, with an opening reception 7-10 pm May 5 during First Friday. cre8ery is located at 125 Adelaide in The Exchange.