March 23 - April 20
Public Reception: Saturday, March 23, 2pm-4pm

A Canadian Mosaic is a retrospective of paintings by Laura Carter and her late husband, Ulrich Kretschmar’s photographs. Some of the works are photomontages that combine Laura’s paintings with Ulrich’s photographs to present a different way of seeing the Canadian landscape.  

Laura has been painting for 37 years. She began to paint after a catastrophic car accident in 1981. Almost all her bones were broken or crushed and she spent the next two decades having surgeries to improve her skeleton and to allow her walk as free of pain as possible. In the spring following the accident, Laura began to notice the beauty in every small thing she saw. “It was as if the world opened up to my eyes for the first time,” recalls Laura who was an English teacher and sang. “Since I had lost my capacity to teach and even my large, rich contralto singing voice and had endless surgeries before me, I had to find something to give my life purpose, to widen my horizons beyond my home.” Laura had taken some art lessons in the past and had even aspired to becoming an architect before choosing to study vocal performance in university. Given my situation after the accident, art came easily to mind.” Within four years, Laura had her first solo exhibition in Toronto.  

Ulrich got his start as a photographer about 50 years ago. “Since then, I have been learning how to use the camera and how to develop my personal vision. Photography is one medium to express what I feel,” Ulrich once wrote. Eventually, Ulrich had to choose between his dream of becoming a full-time photographer and his profession as a geologist. His love and aptitude for geology won out. Though he would continue to take photographs constantly, he no longer entered photography shows. Many of Canada’s leading landscape photographers where his colleagues and friends. Ulrich never manipulated his images. They were as he saw and photographed them. Either he succeeded in catching the image or he didn’t. Sadly, Ulrich died in 2014, just two months after he and Laura moved to Bracebridge. At the time, he was in the middle of writing a scientific book about the genesis of gold. With the help of his PHD faculty advisor, Laura was able to find another geologist who was working on the same theory to help complete Ulrich’s book that was published in 2015.  

For Laura, beauty inspires her painting whether it is distant vistas or abstractions in nature. “Having been raised in an isolated place, I find inspiration in emptiness and openness,” explains Laura. “Metaphorically, open vistas represent the promise of the unknown just as swamps represent the process of the circle of life. Landscapes always express something beyond itself.”  

In an artistic statement, Ulrich wrote: “I am confronted by the natural world and the landscape every day. Over time, my photographs have become increasingly simple and more abstract. As a trained observer, I use my powers of observation and the medium of photography to amplify my artistic vision.”  

Laura and Ulrich began combining their work for Christmas cards. Their friends looked forward to receiving them each year and began collecting them. Then, they started to sell them in galleries eventually making framed versions that proved to be a great success. “Our montages are created by combining colour, lines, theme, whatever creates a strong and interesting image,” Laura explains. “Seldom do each of the images appear in their complete form. The only computer imaging used is to fade out the lines between the painting and the photography. Each of them is, therefore, a unique piece of art.”  

Laura remarks that it will be a joy for her to see their work hung together in an exhibition. “Ulrich would have been pleased to have our work showing together at the Chapel Gallery,” says Laura who had to select some of the significant slides from Ulrich’s portfolio that contained more than 30,000 slides.  

“I hope all the work in this exhibit, be it paintings, photographs or photomontages will inspire viewers to seek out the beauty of our huge and diverse Canadian landscape for themselves,” reflects Laura.  

A Canadian Mosaic opens with a public reception on Saturday, March 23, from 2pm until 4pm. The exhibition continues at the Chapel Gallery until April 20.  

The Chapel Gallery is located at 15 King Street in Bracebridge. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, from 10am to 1pm and from 2pm until 5pm with admission by donation. For more information, please visit www.muskokaartsandcrafts.com or call (705) 645-5501. 

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Located at 15 King Street in Bracebridge, the gallery is open year-round, Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm. It is closed during the last week of September and the second week of October as well as between Christmas and New Year’s Days. Please check the Calendar of Events for the actual dates. For a map, please follow this link.

Exhibitions are booked one year in advance.  To learn how to apply for a show, please follow this link: Exhibition Application.

The Chapel Gallery was opened in September, 1989. Housed in a reconstruction of the first Presbyterian Church in Bracebridge, the Chapel Gallery hosts exhibitions of art and craft by our members and other local and provincial artists. Exhibitions are selected by the Gallery Committee and change every three to four weeks.

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Muskoka Arts & Crafts Inc. is located in the District Municipality of  Muskoka, Ontario, Canada.