W-Edge Online Youth Exhibition

The MacLaren Art Centre is pleased to present Unmasked: W-Edge Online Youth Exhibition. As we navigate these new and uncertain times, we contemplate our different world and our drastically changed reality. Unmasked is a virtual collection of self-portraits created by youth, depicting what is inside—with masks removed.

In fall of 2020, regional artist and art therapist Lisa Nackan, led youth in a series of creative virtual workshops. These youth explored a variety of expressive arts techniques in a playful and meaningful way—such as drawing themselves as an animal and thinking about the qualities and energies an animal might represent. Youth also drew mandalas, represented themselves as an emoji, created their own personal coat of arms and used a variety of collage techniques that focused on identity. The self-portrait painting activity was open to interpretation in whatever way felt most comfortable, which enabled the kind of expression that was presented. The aim was to create an expressive artwork that represented of “the self” and how we find ourselves in these Covid times.

The paintings on view are by Sara Heck, Evelyn Larice, Hunter Northcott, Reid Nourse, Victoria Brown Matthews, Chloe Roughsedge and instructor Lisa Nackan.

W-Edge is a free drop-in studio programme for youth ages 14 to 18, Wednesdays from 3:00 to 5:00 pm. Led by practicing artists, this programme takes place virtually via Zoom or in-person in the MacLaren’s Rotary Education Centre. Materials are provided. Newcomers are always welcome!


Artist Statements

Chloe Roughsedge – My friend, Hunter, inspired me to create this work, in the sense that she gave me the idea for the handprint background. I am also taking forensic science in school, so this has a connection as well. I’m not the most extraordinary painter, but I did enjoy painting with my hands, so it was an easy alternative to having to hand paint a full background. I wanted to express how hectic my life is by making this piece very busy. The silhouette was inspired by my bored mind in school, where I’ve been creating little worm-like squiggles on all of my work.

Reid Nourse – My painting represents my feelings during the lockdown. The dripping of the mouth and eyes represents the emotions I was holding in, gushing out. The severed head is to show me being cut off from my friends and family in other homes.

Sarah Heck – My inspiration for this painting was Picasso because his work is very unique and looks very interesting. I created this painting in the way I did because I don’t like drawing/painting in real perspective and because of how unique and different Picasso’s style looks, I use him as my guide in painting. My process was to first sketch out the face shape, and to model my self-portrait I thought of a way to sketch it in a different way. I looked up some of Picasso’s very abstract paintings and I started to think of ways I could incorporate abstract things. I also thought that in Picasso’s paintings, they were never perfect, you really can’t get a perfect outcome with something abstract. I used acrylic paint to create this painting and used many different paint brushes to create the final look.

Veronica Matthews – My painting represents my feelings during the lockdown. The yellow around the head represents the change in my aura in a positive manner as quarantine was a time of personal growth for me. The black head represents my mental well being before Covid.

Hunter Northcott – I want to express the colours in the silhouetted human. They are the colours of the sunrise in my backyard, which is my favourite thing to look at. As a kid, I always loved wishing on things so when I remembered the dense lion painting I did on my wall I thought this would be the perfect place to recreate it. To make the face and moon, I mixed six new colours. I then put the colours in blobs in the outlines. I then brushed the colours together and dabbed it with a sponge to add texture.

Evelyn Larice – In my art, I like to use different techniques to express the numerous ideas that I want to incorporate. My art piece has photos from when I was younger in college form. As well as butterflies to represent my growth at a teen going into adulthood.


Supported by