Illusions & Enigmas Art Exhibition - May 2024

Best in Show

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Crystal Villegas

“Mother Daughter”

Oil on Hardboard


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Life is meditation through balancing movement and stillness. My highest work is to stay open to the messages life sends me, and then translate them with paint. It is with oil paints I feel I can depict the complexity of my chosen subjects in surrealist style. I choose to paint on wood surfaces that I prime specifically to receive oil paint, for the smoothness and sturdiness of wood adds to my visceral experience of painting, and creates a rich, realistic result.

Where simplicity 


profound expression…

1st, 2nd and 3rd Place Winners

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1st Place

Katie Wilde


oil on canvas

These two pieces are from my most recent series, Nobody’s Home, which is nearing completion with 13 paintings made to date. As with most of the imagery in this series, the suburban homes and construction garbage come from “Guelph’s First Net-Zero Ready Neighbourhood”, 100 acres of tract housing built on an old farmstead. For years, I lived in the suburban sea that used to surround this agricultural island, and since 2018 I’ve been watching the fields get dug up and turned into yet more – if slightly-less-worse – suburbia. I began this series in 2019 but introduced the aquatic elements in 2021. Jellyfish are a common inhabitant of the more recent works; I find them compelling, not only aesthetically, but as conduits of the ethereal, the eldritch, and the sublime, whose strange ways of being spark questions of transcendence, mindlessness, and what it means to belong to an environment.

Katie Wilde is a Canadian visual artist with an affinity for nature, oddness and interactivity. ​Her work has been installed in a variety of contexts, including galleries, a biochemistry lab, a crosswalk, and the surface of a public square. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Ottawa, and has exhibited in galleries and public spaces across Ontario and Alberta.

Working primarily in oil, Wilde’s paintings are populated with plants, birds, and near-familiar creatures in imagined natural settings, frozen under glass, or proliferating among forgotten architecture. In two of her latest bodies of work (Ward and Wing, and Glass Barriers) she ponders curiosity and obsession, collection and kidnapping, protection and privacy, knowledge and misunderstanding, and what it means to try to grasp nature outside of a natural seItting. In another project, Nobody’s Home, a neighbourhood in transformation is a vessel for shifting feelings about time, impermanence, and knowing one’s place in the world and on the land.

2nd Place

Jessica Meissner

Wandering The Line



Jessica Meissner a multi-media artist with a passion for transforming spaces into havens of joy. Each piece she creates is a handcrafted masterpiece, born from a deep love for the tactile experience of art and a desire to infuse everyday life with a touch of magic.

Jessica’s artistic journey began at a young age, but was honed at Red Rocks College, where she discovered the power of art to connect people and elicit feelings of joy.

3rd Place

Hannah Fitzgerald


Oil on canvas

Hannah Fitzgerald’s drawings and oil paintings reflect human emotion in times of stress through the use of subtly absurdist narratives, combined with traditional portraiture and non-traditional postures and lighting.
Her work explores themes of silent and symbiotic relationships, manifestations of care, comfort and nourishment, and examines the role of “caretaker”. It aims to lower humankind from the pedestal and place it under a sort of cinematic microscope, transforming us into “specimens” and likening our “distinctly human” needs, behaviors and abilities to those of all other living things on this planet. Fitzgerald’s daily experience maintaining a diverse collection of exotic plants and animals -and profound appreciation for all creatures- directly influences her work. She has a BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York, and currently works as the lab technician at the SVA Bio Art Lab.

Artwork was judged on a variety of criteria:



Theme Relevance



Honorable Mentions

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