VKH artist enjoys her European debut

by Gregg Chamberlain - EAP
VKH artist enjoys her European debut
Nathalie Frenière, in her Vankleek Hill home studio, looks forward to her european debut as part of a joint exhibit with fellow franco-ontarian artist Lise B.L. Goulet at the Art Armando Xhomo Gallery in Florence, Italy. (Photo : Gregg Chamberlain)

Long ago, Nathalie Frenière used to dream of being an artist. Now her works are part of a virtual art gallery set up in Florence, Italy.

“When I was young, my dream was to be a painter,” Frenière said during an interview at her home studio in Vankleek Hill.

As a child and during her teen years, Frenière would spend many days visiting around various museums and art galleries. Her father had a collection of paintings and he did encourage her artistic temperament, but his advice for her was to pursue a career in commercial art.

“So I was a graphic artist in Montréal,” she said. “I used to work for Disney then.”

Her commercial assignments work for the House of Mouse had her doing illustrations of all the major Disney characters for use as art prints, T-shirt designs and other types of commercial spinoffs.

By the time she was 30, Frenière was the director of a commercial arts studio in Montréal, until there was a change in the economy and she was laid off. She went back to school to study computer infographics and found employment in that field.

But commercial art was not her passion. After a while she decided to devote herself fulltime to her creative works. First she went to Paris to study the Impressionists and then returned home to begin her new career as a full-time artist.

“My style is more semi-abstract landscapes,” she said. “Very modern.”

Her study of impressionist art, she explained, helped her focus on the element of emotion in the subjects and colours of her paintings. In between working on her own pieces, she now helps mentor others. At one point she had as many as 40 students studying with her.

Virtual gallery

Over the past years, Frenière has had her work accepted for display in a variety of venues, including a five-year show at the Ward Nasse Gallery in New York City, and a show at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Soccer Championships in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

“I have been showing and selling my paintings for five years,” she said, estimating the number of her completed works about 500 pieces of various sizes.

“I do a lot of big pieces,” she said, adding that landscapes are her preference.

“I do a lot of sky scenes,” she said, smiling. “My favourite colour, of course, is blue.”

Her latest triumph now will be her first European gallery appearance in August, one which takes advantage of cyber technology. Several of her pieces will be on display with the Art Armando Xhomo Gallery in Florence, Italy as part of a virtual exhibition hosted by the gallery. She and fellow franco-ontarian artist Lise B.L. Goulet will present Sky, Land and Sea (Cielo, Terra e Mare), with the support of a grant from the Ontario Art Council and the Fondation Clément-Berini Foundation.

“For me, it’s very exciting,” she said. “It’s kind of a dream come true.”

Later in the year, Frenière will fly to Italy, bringing with her 25 of her works for an on-site display at the Florence gallery. Altogether, this year, Frenière’s work will be on public display in at least four locations, the others including galleries in Toronto, Ottawa, and Québec City.

While she expects that she will be occupied with meeting and talking to patrons of the Art Armando Xhomo Gallery while she is in Florence, Frenière is certain she will find inspiration during her sojourn in Italy to guide her choice of subjects for future paintings.

“Travelling is important for artists,” she said. “It helps one meet and experience new things.”



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