Fine arts firsts

Six school of fine arts students celebrate first gallery show of their careers as part of Actually Milk collective

Members: Tamiko Kavanagh, Hanna Reimer, Mary Vallarta, Avril Suss, Lauren Auger, Lauren Hower

Newly found art collective Actually Milk, comprised of six second-year fine arts students, hosted their first group gallery at Forth on Dec. 22.

The show featured works executed in a range of mediums, including photography, acrylic painting, and ceramic. Collective member Hanna Reimer said that finding each other and creating the exhibition has been an exciting experience.

“Friends from high school didn’t really last, and we found this community almost instantly and it kind of felt almost too good to be true. And we’re still sort of hyped on the adrenaline of meeting each other, and that’s sort of why we’re diving head first into this show,” Reimer said.

“None of us have had solo shows so we thought it might be a powerful punch into the art community to do a show and start our careers off.”

Reimer said she met the other collective members on a class trip to Minneapolis in their first year. The collective also includes Lauren Auger, Tamiko Kavanagh, Mary Vallarta, Lauren Hower, and Avril Süss.

Reimer described being part of a collective as a good way to begin a career and explore what it might be like to do solo exhibitions.

“We each have our own thing, we’re all very interested in learning about what each other can do. Like Mary is very into photo, Lauren likes to paint, Tamiko does digital, so we all use our skills to learn from each other together, and putting that into an exhibition will result in a lot of different mediums are [being] represented,” she said.

Vallarta’s contribution to the gallery was her photographs, and she said that the collective’s collaboration for the show was similar to other forms of art. “It’s like we’re a band, but make art instead of music because even though we make separate stuff it all still goes together,” she said.

Vallarta said the group came up with the name Actually Milk in 2017 at the Winnipeg Folk Festival while discussing the possibility of creating a zine.

“I think part of it is having a group of people we can trust to help each other grow, and a side passion project to create stuff we want other than our school projects,” Vallarta said.

“Hopefully we can turn it into something and do more with it,” she added.

Annie Beach, a member of the School of Fine Arts Student Association, attended the gallery and expressed her admiration of both the works and their presentation.

“The show didn’t seem to have a set theme that it followed, likely due to each artist having a unique and particular style, but the placement of all the work seemed to flow nicely in the space together, joining similar works together in the exhibition,” she said.

Beach said this is the first collective she is aware of at the School of Fine Arts.

The majority of the works, besides installation pieces, were for sale; Süss sold one large piece of her digital work, according to Reimer.

The collective is planning to produce a zine of visual work in the coming months.