Beata Jakubek and Josie DeMeo
Beata began her career as a medical researcher and medical technologist in her native Poland and in the U.S. She obtained an M.S. degree in biochemistry and for many years worked in hematology, the study of blood. This involved peering at blood cells through a microscope to diagnose diseases like leukemia, anemia and malaria. The cells came in a variety of colours – violet, blue, pink, green – and some had bizarre, irregular shapes. Beata loved studying these beautiful specimens.
It is this passion for colour and shape that now fuels Beata’s art. She paints with bright colours and chooses organic shapes over geometrical ones. Nature is her inspiration – it not only crops up in her landscapes and florals, but also in her abstracts, which are often close-ups of flowers. She conjures up these abstracts by squinting and observing nature on a macro level, as if through a microscope. She explores texture by incorporating nature (sticks, seeds, sand) and found objects into her mixed-media acrylics.
Her paintings also reveal an East Asian influence. Before moving to Canada, Beata lived in Tokyo, Japan and travelled around Southeast Asia for two years. She studied sumi-e, traditional Japanese calligraphy, and ikebana, Japanese flower arrangement. Instead of haphazardly tossing flowers into a vase, Beata learned to organize them with an eye toward harmony and balance. Now she strives for the same kind of unity in her paintings; she thinks a lot about division of space.
Beata has exhibited in solo and group shows at Galerie Old Chelsea (Chelsea, QC), Galerie de la Rive (Rockland, ON), Ottawa School of Art Gallery and the Trinity Art Gallery at the Shenkman Art Center (Orleans, ON). She has paintings in private collections throughout Canada, the U.S., Japan, France, Germany and Poland.
For her work Beata was awarded first prize in both watercolour (Arteast 2004; Ottawa Art Association 2007) and acrylics (Ottawa Art Association 2007 and 2008). She is an active member of the Ottawa Art Association, Ottawa Watercolour Society, Ottawa Mixed Media Artists and Arteast, for which she was the 2006-2008 program coordinator. She studied art at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Ottawa School of Art and the Visual Arts Centre in Orleans.
She lives in Ottawa with her husband, a scientist and photographer.
Josie De Meo is from Italian origins, born in Montreal. She moved to Ottawa in 1994 and is married with 2 children. Her career started in the banking industries until the birth of her first child. Since 2000, Josie started drawing and painting again just like she did in her teen years. Today, Josie volunteers, teaches in visual arts and paints on a full time bases. She’s devoted each year on a different project. Josie’s first year was on still life in acrylics. So she continued on her journey to creating all that she loves in women’s fashion to her origins. Her first solo show, entitled “My Memories of Italy”, was held in Ottawa in August 2011.This year’s theme will be all that is music related.
Josie is active in the local arts community and is a member of arts organizations in the Ottawa area.