Cary and Paulo Lopes have barely had their new exhibit, ‘ARTnership, installed at Squamish’s Foyer Gallery for five minutes when passersby begin to stop and inquire about the show, their technique, and particular pieces.
Immediately, they seem to hone in on Paulo’s airbrushed, bright pink painting of Minnie Mouse’s face straining against plastic wrap.
“It’s from Value Village,” he says. “That’s why it’s in a Saran Wrap bag, because they get rid of them that way. So I decided to do a painting of that, because it’s so sad when you see all of them up in the store.”
You might know the Lopes’ best for their company Paintertainment, which uses body paint and costumes to transform models into otherworldly characters for events. But the exhibit marks both Paulo’s first-ever show and the couple’s first time exhibiting together.
“These paintings really have been wrapped up in paper at home since I did them, so it’s quite nice to see them up,” Paulo says. “It’s really the first time we’ve seen my work and Cary’s work up together … When we paint, she’s upstairs and I’m outside and sometimes she doesn’t know what I’m doing at all.”
That could explain the thrillingly diverse pieces on display. Walk into the space and first you’ll see a variety of Cary’s wildlife paintings (mostly painted during Zoom art classes she started offering during COVID) then there’s several grouped together—with Minnie—that all have pops of pink, as well as a wall of Paulo’s airbrushed faces.
A portrait of his mother based on a photo from the ’40s or ’50s is flanked by detailed close-ups of his daughters. (Those are some of the pieces not for sale as part of the show.)
Glass cases contain hard, airbrushed corsets and lace necklaces that Cary started making during the pandemic, as well as small-scale paintings.
“The idea was to pair [the necklaces] with [Paulo’s] bodices, which is great,” Cary says. “So it’s more of a steampunk, rustic thing … I do have about 125 pieces that I made over COVID, so I’m finally getting to showcase some of those.”
Another wall includes a series of Paulo’s skull paintings—one on a road sign, another on a skateboard. They’re directly across from three of Cary’s large flower paintings.
Finally, towards the back, there’s an image of a bear cuddled up to a log in a forest.
“[This is] one of my first paintings I did, and it’s on an old piece of denim with a fake painted frame,” she says. “I literally found that yesterday in my house, so I put that up because I actually quite liked this little guy.”
Overall, the show—which runs until July 10—contains more than 40 of the couple’s pieces. To that end, exhibiting together has had an unexpected perk.
“I think it’s fabulous that it’s outside of our house,” Cary says with a laugh. “No, it’s really nice that it’s got a home for a couple of months. It gives us time to clean up now. It’s lovely seeing it on fresh, clean walls and in nice cabinets.”
Exhibit aside, the couple is gearing up for a busy summer and a return to business-as-usual with Paintertainment events.
“We are busy because we’re trying to make our house not so much of a warehouse,” Paulo says. “We do have quite a lot of events. It’s pretty much back to normal.”
Anyone interested in purchasing work on display can talk to library staff (the Foyer Gallery is located in the Squamish Public Library).
An opening party is set for June 24 from 2 to 4 p.m.