Beyond the Seas : the art work of Maria Moldovan April 3 to June 4, Almonte Public Library Corridor Gallery.

by Chandler Swain

There is an exhibition of ceramic art, painting and illustration at the Almonte library for the next 2 months that is really worth making the effort to see. It is the charming, colourful work of an artist new to the community, Maria Moldovan. Maria and her family recently moved to Arnprior after living in Gatineau for a couple of years.

Maria came to Canada from Romania in 2013 . Her work is right out of the imaginings of childhood that are centered in fairy tales, castles, mythical beasts  and quite literally the mystique of Transylvania, the region of Romania Maria is from.

Two years ago I was prompted to go and see her work by another artist who knew I would appreciate it. She was part of an exhibition in Ottawa. I went to see this particular group show and from the description given to me of Maria’s work I knew right away which was hers.

Since I work in the field of promoting art in various ways, I am thrilled when, very rarely, my response to seeing new art for the first time stops me in my tracks with those internal questions of:  “Whoa: what is this? Who made this?” and then the inevitable appeal to my heart: ” I need this” , meaning that the art in question has me throwing my tight budget to the wind and looking for justification to acquire a piece. Some art just needs to be in your life. I now have 3 small but intriguing pieces of Maria’s which make me smile and enhance my life when I see them.

I got to know Maria and found that her painting and illustration (in 5 gorgeous published children’s books)  rivaled the fanciful delight of the world of her ceramic figures. She has been invited to be a part of the 260 Fingers Collective of the best regional ceramic artists ( and teaches at the Ottawa School of Art.

Maria has made great strides, very quickly in becoming established in the art world of the Ottawa area and little wonder. What she produces touches the part of ourselves that remembers the mystery and fun of our world as children. But this is deceiving as the work is at once playful yet sophisticated as one remarkable piece at the library suggests: it’s a vessel that is made in the form of a centaur. The bemused look on the human face of the beast pulls you in to wondering at his horse legs that hold up the vessel which is not grotesque but compelling. A coup!

Please treat your self to seeing Maria’s show where she has provided excellent support material to enhance the experience of seeing her work. One more reason to visit the terrific Almonte library: the art at the Corridor Gallery , with showings throughout the year.