What began as a one-off loving gesture to his wife has blossomed into a full-blown exhibit at the Wayne Arthur Gallery.
The exhibit, by Winnipeg artist Gary Ganes, is titled Flowers to Fantasy in Metal and is set to run until July 3 at the St. Boniface-based gallery, located at 186 Provencher Blvd.
Ganes, 64, is a self-taught artist who has developed a form of metal art, creating pieces using reclaimed and recycled materials such as scrap metal, door panels, wires and tin and aluminum cans.
The Norwood Flats resident said he has a history of working in various different genres and expanded on the idea of working with metal when his wife became ill in 2009.
"Since my childhood days, I always liked to draw, ink, sketch and then paint using watercolours, oil paints and acrylics," said Ganes, a cabinet maker by trade who experimented with a coat hanger and tin cans to make a representation of a family tree.
"That project got left behind when my wife became sick. I bought her a bouquet of lilies, which were beautiful, but they died after two weeks, so I thought it would be nice if I could make her a flower that would last forever," he said.
So Ganes went into garage, salvaged an old aluminum panel from the bottom of a screen door and some copper, made a rose for his wife and everything stemmed from there.
"It turned out wonderfully. I was amazed. My friend said I had to do something to take it further," he said.
The current exhibit features around 20 of his pieces of metal art, including a "dragon and a nature mask on an old ring."
Ganes can’t pinpoint exactly where the inspiration for his pieces comes from, although he believes his youth may have been an influence.
"I had a native elder come and see my stuff and she was looking through the pieces and she said ‘this artist wants to make things beautiful because they are sad,’" Ganes said.
"That caught me off guard. Maybe my childhood has something to do with it," Ganes said.
He noted his pieces can be cleaned easily with water and dish soap.
"You can take a single flower, a rose or carnation, and put it in with the rest of the dishes."
The artist emphasized the everlasting nature of his pieces is a significant theme in his collection.
"These pieces will likely last forever. Most things don’t last forever. I’ve lost many relatives, for example," Ganes said.
And he added he won’t be looking to change his medium anytime soon.
"I’ll be staying right here. I have a list of metal projects to do as long as my arm," he said. "It’s been a magical trip up until today. After finishing a piece, I often stand back and stare at it, as I can’t believe I did it. This has been a turning point in my life as I approach retirement. Art is for everybody."
To learn more about Ganes, go online at 3dmetaldesigns.com