Atomic Rooster opened Sheena Kalmakova’s Series Exhibition May 4. Paintings from all four of Kalmakova’s series were displayed including Moon Series, Sun Series, October Series and The Crows Series.
Atomic Rooster is a small intimate space where people come together to eat, drink a fresh pint, and enjoy some art.
Kalmakova’s art gives the bistro a romantic, almost dream-like ambiance. Her series wraps around the restaurant and progresses through stages of subject matter and colour as the warm glowing backdrops of Sun Series progress into the more dark renderings of October Series.
“The scenes and subject matter I choose to paint are those that I need or want to spend time with, or those that have greatly affected me. My pieces are impressions of things I have seen, or they are my best physical depiction of a feeling that I have experienced,” Kalmakova said. “Painting is my entry point and method for processing, reflecting, understanding and dealing with my experiences.”
Kalmakova’s paintings are in various styles. She said she likes to experiment with different mediums and approaches in her work.
“Although the subject matter may be the same, the individual pieces within the series may vary,” she said. “I can understand how this deviation could be frustrating to an audience, much like when your favourite band puts out an album that explores a whole different sound than the one you’ve grown attached to.”
Kalmakova said she prefers to experiment rather than have her art become stagnant.
“I feel that experimentation and discovery are essential to the creative process to keep the work genuine, and avoids painting oneself into a ‘do-it-because-it sells’ kind of a corner,” she said.
Kalmakova strongly advocates showing artwork in a bar setting like Atomic Rooster because it is an accessible space.
“The Rooster is one of those fabulous venues that help support our local artist community,” she said.
Atomic Rooster also provides an outlet for local artists to create and express themselves in a laid back setting. Artists can gather once a month to draw live models. Elli Merkis, a server at Atomic Rooster, models regularly.
“They’re all different themes, the first one was Steampunk, the second one was rockabilly and this one ComicCon, next month apparently it’s supposed to be a glamorous, classic movie star red carpet,” she said.
All the events and concerts at Atomic Rooster, such as May’s “Ode to Comiccon” live-modelling event, are free. Dana Burton said she has been coming to the Atomic Rooster since she moved to Ottawa four years ago.
“I find the Atomic Rooster inviting and encouraging for local artists to produce work by giving them that option to potentially hang their art,” she said. “I find Sheena’s work especially interesting. It has this serene, beautiful, and almost dark quality to it that is striking.”
Kalmakova’s Series Exhibition will continue to hang on the walls of Atomic Rooster until June 8.