ART: Dusty Babes Collective art explores vanity in Surrey exhibit

Group of emerging ceramic artists' work on display as part of PopUp Newton Gallery and Creative Hub in Surrey

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By Katrina Pedersen/for the Now

NEWTON — Who says vanity is a character flaw? Not the Dusty Babes Collective.

The group of ceramic artists is exploring the theme of vanity – and the different perspectives of the word – through its new public exhibit as part of PopUp Newton Gallery + Creative Hub.

“As female artists the idea of vanity is interesting because of its feminine connotation, but also emerging artists trying to establish ourselves,” said Sam Knopp, one of the artists of the Dusty Babes Collective (pictured).

“Vanity has more than just its superficial qualities, it can also talk about persistence and hope.”

The Dusty Babes Collective was formed by a group of recent graduates from Emily Carr University of Art and Design in 2013, in which they investigated the theme of vanity.

Though each artist has created their own work, the group cohesively explores the various facets of vanity.

For the past year, the artists have been sharing ideas, studio space in South Surrey, and collaborating on projects. Knopp says the Collective acts, “as a sort of support group for life after art school.”

Throughout the exhibit, called Vanity Publishing, eight different sculptural works explore the theme of vanity.

Knopp says the works utilize clay and fired ceramics and address “the vanities tied to body, domestic space, labour, and identity.”

Through its art, the Dusty Babes Collective says it seeks to transform the term vanity from character flaw into a revolutionary trait by retaining control of their art and undermining the power of establishments.

Knopp says vanity is often a term historically attributed to women so, “we were excited to both embrace, while simultaneously subverting some of those associations through our work.”

The PopUp Open Studio, located on 137th Street at 72A Avenue, includes an exhibition and a collaborative community vanity project.

The four-foot by six-foot foot billboard-style mural (pictured)is composed of raw clay and the artists encourage the public to participate by using every day objects used for vanity such as combs, nail files and makeup brushes, instead of clay tools.

The mural will be kept on display throughout the exhibit.

PopUp Newton Gallery + Creative Hub is a community project supported by the City of Surrey in an effort to connect artists, residents and business community through art.

Click here for more information on current and future exhibits.

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