Alexa Grier’s sculptured masks are unique

Ladysmith mixed media sculptor has been inspired by nature, by cultures from around the world and by the everyday implements she uses.

Mixed media sculptor Alexa Grier of Ladysmith specializes in unique mask assemblages such as this one.

Mixed media sculptor Alexa Grier of Ladysmith specializes in unique mask assemblages such as this one.

Alexa Grier is a Ladysmith mixed media sculptor who specializes in mask assemblages.

Grier grew up in Vancouver in an artistic family — her mother, Sylvia Tait, is an abstract artist and her father, Eldon Grier, and was an artist and writer. Grier described her childhood home as a household rich in the expression of the arts, with masks, projects and paintings in every room.

She notes that she has been inspired by nature, by cultures from around the world and by the everyday implements that she can encompass into her sculptures. Some of those items include tools, plumbing fixtures, discarded and reclaimed jewelry, computer pieces, glass, pottery, broken objects, brooms, wool and kitchen tools, to name but a few.

The inspiration begins with the background or foundation piece — usually a platter or bowl that creates the direction that the mask will take. The inclusion of precise treasured items begins the process of exposing the identity of each mask.

Sometimes, Grier will hold on to a find, a special piece, for years before she pictures the right place to include it in a mask. Each item is sub-singular as a piece of art that is working toward the greater whole of the sculpture at large.

The masks’ dimensions vary — anywhere from two to three feet in diametre, to smaller pieces a foot or less. Each mask has a theme and a sense of uniqueness from the others.

Grier often takes months and years to complete each sculpture. Sometimes 60 to a 100 hours of work — or play — go into a piece. She loves the joy that working in this medium brings her, and it is hoped that each piece brings the same humour and joy to the viewer.

Grier immerses herself in the hunt for objects to upcycle, scouring junkyards, garage sales, thrift stores and recycling depots and even using items from roadkill. The thrill of the hunt has provided hours and days of fun seeking the perfect object to add to her collection.

Grier is inspired by nature, landscapes and moon phases, and her work reflects that connection to nature. She often adds pieces of mirror or reflective surfaces in order to create movement and “aliveness” in her work.

“A reflective quality in the found objects brings the viewer into the piece, making each one active rather than stagnant,” says Grier.

This sense of aliveness is palpable as one stands before her work. A smile grows and spreads as the muse in each sculpture enters one’s heart. Delight and joy come to mind as the entwined rich elements grasp the viewer’s awareness.

Grier’s works have been displayed at the Vancouver Art Gallery gift store and at galleries on Salt Spring Island and closer to home. They are now available at the Ladysmith Waterfront Art Gallery. For an infusion of joy and bliss, come take a look at Grier’s work at the gallery gift store.

Our next opening night for the Heroic Materials exhibit is Aug. 4 at 7 p.m., with guest speaker Anne Jones from Blue Wave Printmaking.

Heroic Materials celebrates the creative elements we receive from the Earth — clay, glass, metal and stone. Come see how each artist has interpreted this subject into their art and enjoy some festivities with the artists and community members.