She shared her light with the world”

This is just one of the phrases inscribed within Amber Church’s new art display at Baked Cafe.

Appropriate? Certainly.

Simply titled SHE, Church’s show is composed of 15 mixed-media pieces, done on canvas in a mixture of acrylic paint, collage, pen and ink.

Filled with vibrant colours, hidden pictures, and everything from scrabble tiles to playing cards, her work is an attention-grabbing medley of layers and textures.

Each piece has a simple title, such as “Pirate in the Sky”, as well as a mantra of sorts, spelled with word cutouts, pen drawings, magnetic poetry, you name it. Phrases such as “She saw the world her own way” and “She lived for the stories” wind throughout each painting, infusing it with special meaning.

According to Church, the entire collection sprung from a single piece; titled “Journey”, the first piece in the show was inspired by the discovery of old family mementos.

“When my grandfather passed away, we went to clean out the house in Winnipeg, where four generations of my family has lived,” the artist says.

“I found old documents, photos, passports, that kind of thing, which turned into the first piece, “Journey”. It was originally just supposed to be one piece but I started and just didn’t stop,” she adds with a laugh.

As Church puts it, the spontaneous creation of the pieces in her show turned into “a personal exploration of joy, creativity and unconquerable spirit.” She put a lot of herself into the paintings, she explains, but hopes that people will find something for themselves in there as well.

The display had its debut at 5 pm on August 29. By 5:30 the cafe was packed to the point that one had to make constant apologies for stepping on people while trying to look at all the paintings.

A glowing Church was easy to pick out from the crowd, however. Her very first solo show, she says, has been a huge success so far.

“It’s been really good,” she says excitedly, “I sold my first piece in the first 40 minutes. It seems really well-received, people seem excited. It feels amazing to finally see it all up on the walls.”

Church’s work will be on display in Baked Cafe until October 2. More information is available from the artist at amber@alkhemedia.com