Ring injects personal message into KYLA pieces
Artist hopes to help others through work dealing with mental illness
For some of the members of Prince Albert’s KYLA art group, Sunday’s show was a chance to explore a bit of a departure from their usual style.
The 15-member collective and five guest artists displayed selections from their past year of work at the E.A. Rawlinson Centre and Mann Art Gallery.
For Cheryl Ring, it was an opportunity to show off a larger piece she’s put significant amount of time into. It featured dozens of sculpted hearts of different shapes, sizes and textures.
Whereas work at the KYLA show is usually integrated with other artists’ Ring’s hearts took up the entire foyer wall of the Mann Art Gallery.
“I asked permission from the group to be able to present in this way, as we typically mix work in together,” she said.
“I had a vision of making this body of work, but being that it’s an evolving idea, an evolving body of work, I wasn’t ready to put it out there to show at a gallery. This is almost a test run of sorts.”
The test run taught Ring a lot about her work, including some of the finer points about hanging and displaying such an ambitious project.
“I really learned a lot. This is a great honour for me to be able to have this space and exhibit, and I’m grateful for the Kyla group for allowing it.”
Ring said the series of hearts, in a way, illustrate the way she tries to live her life.
“I just want people to be kind to each other. It doesn’t hurt to be nice,” she said.
“That’s my motto, if I can help somebody, if I can make somebody a little happier by doing something that doesn’t cost me anything, I’m happy to do it. It’s about the recognition of the heart shape and what a mainstream icon it is.”
Ring also submitted other showstoppers, including a plaster cast of a human body with text woven into it, which was displayed on the back of a model. Several of her pieces, like the series of hearts, contained messages. Some where overt, incorporated directly into the piece. While some were more subtle. They all speak to empowerment and tackling mental health issues, topics important to Ring.
“I’ve always wanted to share, and I’ve always wanted to help people because I’ve coped with mental illness my entire life. I know what it feels like to be sad, to feel alone,” she said.
“Those things can be subtle or overt, but I’m sending a message. I’m hoping some of the pieces bring joy, bring laughter or comfort. I want to, if I can, make somebody feel better. I would feel great about that.”
Cheryl Ring filled one wall of the Mann Gallery with a collection of hearts Sunday