Mulmur artist returns to first love, painting

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Hoping to fill an artistic void in the community, Laurie Severn and Pere Armengol made the move to expand into a Mill Street storefront and open Gallery by Lagom.

Because Lagom 142 displays and sells art in the home furnishing and decor store, it was often heard from customers that they missed having an art gallery in town, said Liz Eakins, an employee who has assumed the role of curator for the new gallery space.

“We want to showcase the immense talent in the community – we’re lucky to have so many talented artists locally – and also show artists from away,” said Eakins, who is a member artist at Mill Street Art Studio and was curator at the former Mad and Noisy Gallery when it was a co-op.

The gallery opened the weekend of the Creemore Festival of the Arts and showed the work of Frith Bail and Anna Church throughout the month of October.

This month, the gallery is featuring the work of Mulmur resident Brad MacIver, who is showing 30 new paintings in his first exhibition.

A retired art director, MacIver used his newfound free time to get back to his first love, painting.

After graduating from art school, MacIver said he was working at a newspaper doing ad paste-up when he started to get involved in graphic design, and from there transitioned to a small advertising firm, before moving into art direction for Toronto Life Fashion, Elle Canada and Gardening Life magazines.

“It was a great time,” said MacIver. “It was the 80s and 90s and publishing was really thriving.”

He finished his career as creative director for the LCBO. Upon his retirement in 2017, MacIver says he picked up his pencils and brushes once more but he was nervous.

He recalls thinking, “maybe I don’t have anything to say,” but found the freedom of not having to earn a living with his art resulted in a stress-free approach.

“I could do whatever I wanted,” said MacIver. “No one was going to judge me.”

MacIver uses the camera on his smartphone to capture moments which may one day make it to the canvas. Those moments are often inspired by the light – the way it streams in from a window, crosses a field, or illuminates an object.

MacIver said in his role as director, he has always been involved in the mechanics of the photograph and contributed to his keen attention to composition and awareness of horizon.

What at first glance may look like a simple image may be a carefully constructed still life that often fosters a curiosity in the viewer.

“There’s a story in every painting,” said Eakins. “You want to know what’s going on.”

The gallery, located at 178 Mill St., is open most days, except when it’s not, in which case customers are welcome to pop in at Lagom at 172 Mill St. to see if someone is available to open the door. The artwork is available online at collections/art-gallery.

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