Dorion’s Alberta art show available online
- Julia Peterson | May 17, 2021
When Leah Marie Dorion, a Métis artist from Prince Albert, paints, she tells herself to “create the world you want to live in.”
“That slogan in my art practice is kind of like my mantra,” she said. “I’m using art as a tool to just create an imaginary, beautiful, visual world.”
Now, some of Dorion’s paintings are featured in a virtual exhibit hosted by Gallery@504 in Sherwood Park, Alberta. Walking Gently: Spirit Stories and the 13 Moons features Dorion’s work alongside that of Woodland Style painter Gary Sutton. It will run until April 24.
The “13 Moons” portion of the exhibit title comes from Dorion’s paintings, where the moon is always prominent.
“It’s all about moon cycles for me,” she said. “It's all about the circular flow and the feminine flow of creation, female flow of life, female cycles. And I just honour the sacred feminine flow of life and our role in Creator’s creation.
“The moon inspires me so much because she’s constantly … watching over all female energies and life givers. It’s such a fun thing to represent visually.
This life-giving narrative has carried through Dorion’s artistic career: she took up painting after her son was born, when she was healing from postpartum depression.
“I call the birth of my son the birth of my art career, and that’s truly beautiful,” she said. “Out of all that pain and challenge came two beautiful gifts that I will treasure for the rest of my life.”
When Dorion paints, she is inspired by the Métis-style beadwork she grew up admiring, as well as by her love of gardening. To create tactile, topographic effects, she often works with her fingers to finish a piece.
“I know some people really like a flat clean surface, but I think the more bumps and curves and imperfections and texture, the better,” she said.
“I love to play in the mud and I love gardening as well, you know, the textures of the dirt and the earth. I just love it. So I think, because my art is so grounded in that earth theme, it’s just a way to bring that experience into the canvas.”
This is Dorion’s first virtual show, and she is pleased to share the experience with friends and loved ones who would not have been able to travel to Alberta to see it in person.
“I have a lot of seniors and elders in my world, and they’re just enjoying staying home and joining in,” she said. “And there are kids that wouldn’t have been able to get there too. Families can sit at their computer, talk about it and look at it, browse through at their own pace in their home.
“My mom isn’t a big computer person, she doesn’t even have a computer, but I came over and showed it to her on my big screen and we looked at it, and it was so nice to take my mom through that.”
Dorion and Sutton will give a virtual artist talk with Gallery@504 on April 24.