Page design and photos
by: Nikki Carlson
Story by: Larry Kline
Artist Mary Nault often got in trouble as a child because she spent her time drawing instead of doing her chores.
Now retired, Nault still carries a sense of artistic rebellion. She doesn't restrain herself in subject or technique, and she loves to play and experiment in her work, which she calls “funky.”
Nault also has a love for children, and she worked with a few of her young students to create a piece for the 2006 Global Art Project for Peace. Her work this month joins pieces made by other Havre artists and creative people from around the world on display at Artitudes Gallery in the Atrium Mall.
The art project, a biennial exchange of creations representing peace, is a way for cultures to come together, Artitudes president Kris Shaw said this week.
Participants create something - a piece of artwork, a poem, a film or other work - that represents peace or their culture. Every two years, people from around the world send their creations to each other. The project was started by a Tucson, Ariz., woman who wanted to promote cultural understanding, Shaw said.
“Understanding each other is the basis for the beginning of peace,” she said.
Shaw said the project, which was started 14 years ago, isn't “political,” it's simply about bringing people and cultures together.
Nault's contribution, a globe decorated with clay faces depicting people of different races, was inspired by a book she used to read to her kindergartners, “People” by Peter Spier.
“Everybody in the world is different, but we're all the same,” she said.
This month at Artitudes, viewers can see a quilt from Germany, paper hearts made by Maryland second-graders, and framed art made by an Ohio woman. Visitors also can view the pieces Havre-area artists have made to send away.
On local group used scores of photographs to create a mosaic, which depicts a child, that will be sent to Rochester, N.Y.
“They tried to put in all of the pieces that would make a healthy adult,” Shaw said. “Violence can start at any age, and peace can too.”
Another piece, a mobile titled “Sacred Circle of Isis” made of beads and faux jewels, will travel to Germany.
Shaw made a plaster mask of her own face. She will send the painted mask to Taiwan.
“It's actually sending a piece of me,” she said.
Visitors also have the chance to send away a little piece of themselves. People can cut out a tracing of their hand, on which they can color and write their name, country and a message of peace and friendship. The hands will be sent to the Global Art Project in Tucson, where they will be strung together with hands from around the world and put on display.
Nault's globe will be sent to New Jersey.
She said she enjoys working with children. Nault in 2003 retired after teaching kindergarten in Havre for 13 years. In class, she taught her students about the masters - such as Picasso and Michelangelo - a created projects for kids that got them involved in art. In one experiment, Nault gave her students markers and had them lie on their backs and draw, just as Michelangelo did in the Sistine Chapel.
She now teaches art to four local girls. They work with clay, watercolors and pastels - “All kinds of fun stuff,” Nault said.
At Artitudes, Nault is displaying a seascape, a still life with fruit, a colorful look at fallen leaves, a grouping of teddy bears and two editions of an ongoing series, which depict the rusty and aging grills of antique trucks.
Often, one subject will lead her to another, she said.
She began painting the truck grills after a trip through Chester, where she photographed some of the aging vehicles. Each truck's rusty grin is unique, she said.
“They're very distinctive,” Nault said.
Her depictions of the truck grills also show her desire to do things a little differently. Nault said she often uses salt and alcohol in her watercolor pieces to add texture.
“I don't paint like other people,” Nault said.