Modern Art at Maud Gallery


March 8, 2024

Words by: Myah Juneau

Photography by: Phebe Melan

Where emotions and energy are on full display

Maud Gallery

For Jael Roznicki, opening an art gallery of her own was the next natural step in her career as a contemporary artist. Named after Canadian folk artist Maud Kathleen Lewis, Maud Gallery is home to the works of many painters and sculptors from around the world. “I knew that I wanted my own gallery space, and I didn’t want to compete with another gallery,” she says of her approach to curation.

When it came to naming her passion project, Roznicki wanted to choose a name that was easily recognizable, marketable, and memorable. Like the gallery’s namesake, Roznicki is also a self-taught artist making a name for herself as a self-described emotion-provoking artist with polarizing reactions to her work. Roznicki describes her naming process as “a little bit of finesse and a little bit of fluke”, as it fuels her wish to be a four-letter word that also holds significance within Canadian art history, just like Maud Lewis. 

Before opening her gallery, Roznicki’s art was featured in local art walks, Artist Talk Magazine, Art Vancouver, the New York Art Exposition, and more. Now, she displays her work on two levels of a 3-storey space adjoining a former electrical substation on 124 Street. An abundance of natural light splays on walls covered in both bright and dark abstract pieces. 

According to Roznicki, Edmonton is seeing a rise in modern art collections as landscape-inspired pieces slowly become less sought after by collectors. Exclusively hosting contemporary art is a risky play for any local gallery; Roznicki is discovering more local and international collectors who are looking for one-of-a-kind modern pieces to bring new emotions and energy into their homes. Despite art being a luxury purchase, Roznicki wants others to see the value in upgrading their space. “People have started to really pay attention to how they feel in their own space,” she says. 

Visitors of the gallery are encouraged to come up with their interpretations of Roznicki’s artworks. It isn’t until after a painting has sold that she unveils the layers of emotions embedded in the paint. More than anything, Roznicki wants Edmontonians to explore the gallery and immerse themselves in the attraction. “I want people to come in and experience art in another way—a less pretentious way.” Despite other in-house artists not being physically present in the gallery, Roznicki is familiar with the history and background of each artwork, arming her with the ability to speak to every single piece in her carefully curated gallery. Visitors are encouraged to think about what they like or dislike about certain pieces to learn more about their personal feelings and preferences towards contemporary art. 

Maud Gallery houses pieces from artists around the world. Roznicki hunts online and in-person for more than what’s on the canvas when looking for pieces to display and sell. She constantly scouts for pieces that balance out her bright, interpretive pieces, and invariably finds artwork that often have the best stories buried within them.

“There is always a story that goes with an original artwork purchase, which is so much more meaningful than something from a big box store.”

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