Exhibit to celebrate vibrant, colourful women


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A Westman artist’s colourful portraits that celebrate women will be the focus of a new exhibition at a Killarney gallery this month.

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A Westman artist’s colourful portraits that celebrate women will be the focus of a new exhibition at a Killarney gallery this month.

Richelle Treloar’s exhibition, titled “She’s too Much: Celebrating Women” will be featured at the Heritage Home for the Arts in Killarney as part of “International Women’s Month” celebrations.

“I’m always celebrating women who push the bar in whatever direction,” Treloar said in a recent interview. “I just love supporting women being their most authentic self. And, if that means that they’re too loud, or they’re too bold, that’s fine. That’s what they need to be. That’s what they were born to be.”

Jane Ireland, arts administrator for the Killarney Turtle Mountain Arts Council says Treloar’s work makes a fitting exhibition as the council turns International Women’s Day into a month-long celebration.

Marking International Women’s Day, which is March 8, falls right in line with the council’s mission to bring understanding about different issues through art and events, Ireland said, but one day didn’t seem enough.

“I thought, ‘You know, I think we should change this into International Women’s Month, and reach out to the women in our community, let them shine for a month in whatever form we can make that take.”

Ireland said Treloar’s work is just right for the occasion as it depicts women from all walks of life.

“She has women across the spectrum,” Ireland said “She’s got older women, younger women, and it’s colourful, and it’s vibrant, and it makes you feel good.”

An exhibition opening will be held at the Heritage Home for the Arts at 2 p.m. on March 4. Otherwise, Treloar’s work can be viewed during gallery open hours, Tuesday to Saturday, noon to 4 p.m. during March 3 to 31.

Treloar said this is the third local gallery in six months to display her work.

“People seem to really be resonating with the message,” said Treloar, who is originally from Virden but now lives in Alexander.

Art wasn’t Treloar’s first calling, however. She studied to be a counselor and worked as one for 10 years before burn out and tragedy changed her life’s direction.

Twelve years ago, she lost her child, Sophia, due to complications from being born prematurely. Treloar, who described the loss as “heart ache,” was working with new mothers as a counselor, which she says reopened that wound every day.

That’s why, when she subsequently had two sons, she resolved to stay home with them.

“(Sophia) is what prompted me to pursue art,” Treloar said. “I knew life is short, and this is what I need to do. This is what my heart wants me to do.”

Treloar began with abstracts, and it’s only within the last 18 months that she’s started painting portraits: “I really love capturing the history and the story of people.”

Some of her paintings are based on people in her life, including women who helped her in the difficult time following her daughter’s death.

And, so far, all of the people in her paintings have been women. While Treloar can’t pinpoint why — maybe, she says, it’s because her household consists of her two young sons and her husband, and there aren’t enough women in her life.

But 38-year-old says the expressions of women seem different to men, and men don’t have the same “fluidity” for her.

“If I’m being honest, I just find women to be a lot more enjoyable to paint,” she said.

Ireland said plans for other women’s month events are still in the works, but she could share that awomen’s night will be held 0n March 25 at the Oak and Owl Café in Killarney.

Details are still being worked out, but women who own businesses will be invited to display their wares and services for other women — a local florist may hold a flower arranging demonstration, for example.

There may also be a special meal at the café for women to purchase, or an open mic night where women can show their talents in a safe women-only environment, Ireland said.

“It’s mainly a chance for women to come out, dress up, get your fancy duds on because we don’t often get to do that these days, and just come out and have fun,” Ireland said.

On March 31, singer and songwriter Belle Plaine will help close the month-long celebration with a performance at the café.

Ireland suggests keeping an eye on the art council’s website at killarneyarts.com for further events and details.

» ihitchen@brandonsun.com

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