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Art Gallery of Bancroft Blog

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4247

The following text is the speaking presentation by local artist David McIntosh at the Opening Reception of the exhibition "Remembering Gerald Humen" on Friday, March 6, 2015.

 

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What Does the Artist See?

Contributed by AGB member/volunteer Dorothy Parshall

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Guest blog  by AGB Member/volunteer Dorothy Parshall

You may have seen the wonderful reviews in the newspapers but I would like to underline the reasons to attend the wonderful Student Art show. All too often when adults think about our teenage population, there is a negative sense of how they behave, or "don't they think" or "they don't DO anything!" The current art show at the Art Gallery of Bancroft, on Flint Street, provides a marvellous look at how diverse, creative, talented and - Yes, they are clearly thinking!

The young people, from four high schools and home schooling, present a view of  teen thought that many of us might never have dreamed exists.  There is talent - LOTS of it! Creativity - tons! Skill - YES! These young artists have covered a gamut of art ideas - reality, humour, the natural world and more. From pencil portraits of friends to painstakingly executed, detailed works which capture both eye and mind, they have run the gamut.

Anyone who wonders about "today's youth" can find a positively fascinating expression of  what today's youth are about, at the Gallery. These are the children of our friends and neighbours.   The 25th Annual Student Show honours Michal Manson and we know she would be well pleased with the work of our young artists. This show closes on Saturday, 30 January; the Gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 am to 4 pm. For a mini preview,  the Art Gallery of Bancroft is on FB and has a website  with pictures of this and other recent shows.  Everyone is welcome to visit the Gallery.

If it is your first visit, you may be surprised; not just a showing of art but the gift shop full of interesting possibilities - by local artists and craftspeople: tiny dolls, jewelry, wooden bowls, greeting cards, small  paintings, and large.  In any case, support our local students and take a look at what they are accomplishing. They deserve your appreciation.

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It has been only eight months since Eva Dametto started exploring materials, themes and styles in preparation for ‘Landscapes of the Spirit’. She started with a dim vision of materials laid on canvas in a simple construction of familiar shapes and uniform hues. A few months later she infused colour applied with less control and more vigour, abandoning texture created by brush strokes for texture applied to the surface of the canvas then painted over in acrylics. And finally she produced mixed media collages chock-a-block full of fabric and cut outs and hair and sticks and bark and pieces of this and that all tied together with paint and colour and lyricism as well as both classic and modern references. Dametto definitely found her chakra.

Leilah Ward’s inner visions and dreams haunt her paintings. Working in oil, she was forced to slow the act of painting down to allow for drying. She meticulously applied a cascade of vertical lines and explosions of colours. Her works levitate before they dissolve in space. They seem therapeutic for the artist and intriguing for the viewer who attempts to read the inner working of the artist’s mind, the dark meandering of the artist’s spirit and the transitions of a soul moving through space and time. Troubling. Expressive. Transitional.

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Thirty years of communion with the water, sky, rocks and bush of South Algonquin has provided Gertrud Sorensen with ample opportunity to demonstrate what it is that satisfies, attracts and holds her here in her adopted home on Galeiry Lake near Algonquin Park and the Madawaska River. It is the space, the quiet and the vistas always seen from the same distance, always bathed in the same light, always painted with the same practical, direct brush strokes. As an adventure hiker, climber and paddler, she explores the surface of what she sees and tries to convince us that that is where her heart lies, but this retrospective collection reveals that there have been dalliances along the way.

What fascinates in this retrospective is that, here and there, throughout her thirty year history of painting and exhibiting, Gertrud reveals a more worldly, urbane experience and approach to this business of painting. In between those periods of ‘bread and butter’ landscapes, Gertrud undoes the top button of her painting smock and displays the travelled and elegant side of her painterly repertoire. In mid career, she put away brushes for a palette knife to produce more texture, rhythm and lightness in her work for a period of time. Again in later years she found herself abandoning pure hues and primary colours for a softer Cezanne-like rust and muted palette of seasonal transitions. More heart and less head. And then, most recently, experimentation with short, dappled strokes and pairing of colours, dancing with pointillism in a self-conscious way, no commitment but trying on something from afar, not yet comfortable, something beyond what she sees and knows. Trying less to please others and more to revel in the manipulation of familiar materials.

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Sheila Davis: Riding the Elephant: a catchy title conjuring up images of mass and risk-taking and something outside our normal experience. And that is what Sheila Davis has provided. We can see that she began with landscape both through "Local Colour", the most strikingly representational  example included in the show, the piece she described as "unlike the others and most recognizable as landscape", and through maps locating the photographs that guided her exploration of this particular road in central Ontario. Her photographs and maps reveal what she was working from; somber colours, crowded vertical growth, a  gray and muddy palette. Why she would use these as inspiration is a mystery. Would it not be better to photograph sundappled leaves, sparkling water and clear blue skies? Apparently not? Sheila Davis chose to do the opposite. She used her photographs from nature as a springboard to create amazingly beautiful expressionistic paintings that have little reference back to her original source of inspiration. They are light and airy, robust and strong. When she delivered them to the gallery, it was clear the paintings were energizing their creator as much as she had energized the canvases. Exuberance is a word that captures the feeling of the rest of the show. Less controlled landscape, more painterly passionate infusion of short strokes, vibrant colour and lots of breathing room as if, indeed, she is riding above the mundane and bleak, the cold and wet, the muddy and murky. She is like a breath of fresh air introducing the colours of silk saris along the  Elephant Road. A good name for the show.

It took Davis many years of painting to find the confidence, and the artistry to know when to stop working on a piece, to let it breath and grow on its own. And, that is what this particular body of work has, a life of its own. Not a calmness or stillness or sense of arrival. It is more like a
beautiful curtain, that when pulled back will reveal where she plans to go next and the road she might take to get there. That road no doubt lies in a more expressionistic and more abstracted direction.

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At first glance, Mary McLoughlin’s supersize flowers at the Art Gallery of Bancroft bring to mind the work of American artist, Georgia O’Keeffe who painted flowers throughout her long career as an artist beginning in the 1920s employing a style that magnified and abstracted them. Hers were not the botanical prints or delicate watercolours meant to capture living structures for academic interest in the previous century. Like all her work, O’Keeffe’s flowers were strong, modern images bursting with life and energy.

 In her multi-year exploration as a painter of portraits of flowers in oil on canvas, McLoughlin does not linger on the lushness and sensuality of the physical structure of her models beyond what is needed to demonstrate her mastery of drawing and line and composition. With laser-like precision, she gets it right and leaves it at that. Like Mary Pratt’s luscious “Red Current Jelly (1972)” currently at the National Gallery of Canada, Mary McLoughlin’s “White Peony (2015)” sings the song of whiteness as if it could not have been anything but white. Nor does she oversell her knowledge and experience as a colourist given free-rein with all the hues and tints in the colour wheel. The four 2012 pieces, previously exhibited at her solo show at the Art Gallery of Peterborough are a riot of the orange and pink and fuscia that made us love JEH MacDonald’s “The Tangled Garden”(1916).

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The AGB is dedicated to the promotion of the Arts in North Hastings. Beyond providing exposure of visual arts to year-round and seasonal residents, the Gallery hopes to get people talking about art and what it means to them.

 In this spirit, we offer the first of occasional guest blogs aiming to stimulate thought and conversation about the personal side of art.

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On January 18, 2015 artist Tracey Lee Green inspired 11 students at the Art Gallery of Bancroft with her incredible workshop teaching abstract art, using a process called "Faux Encaustics".  Participants had a ball layering acrylic paints and beeswax to create several amazing one-of-a-kind masterpieces each!  Even complete novices were thrilled with their results!   To conclude the day long class, Tracey gave each student an evaluation of one of their completed paintings.  It was a fun day with lots of laughter, sharing and positive comments!

 

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In October 2014, the Youth Advisory Board (YAB) for Our Shared Commitment was established thanks to a Provincial Safer and Vital Communities Grant. Technology, nutrition, literacy, arts and music are key themes in this program which involve local families and young children collaborating with local professionals within the community.

b2ap3_thumbnail_YAB-logo.jpg

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Several residents have asked where are the street murals created by our local artists. The murals have been taken down for reconditioning, as several of them were feeling the effects of the weather. The Gallery has plans to do some  rework  on them through the winter, and then remount them in the spring. 

Many thanks to the Town works department for their assistance in taking down these items.

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What a great year it's been at the AGB!

Our monthly shows have brought an eclectic mix of art to the region, ranging from the work of a printmaker based on the Bayeux Tapestry, to a series of paintings that celebrated the ability of classical music to inspire abstract art. We have showcased stunning photography that explored the transient nature of utility in today's brave new world, and been fascinated by the marriage of craftsmanship and natural science that taxidermy and museum display art creates.

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A great time was had by all at the recent AGB benefit event "Brews and Blues" which raised over 5000 dollars to support the gallery and its mandate to grow and promote the arts culture of our community.

The silent auction table was a busy spot, as guests competed to get that final winning bid on a fantastic selection of mini original art, and our thanks go to all the artists who so generously gave of their time and talent with their donated pieces. Congratulations go to Dan Boileau and to David Maris for being the top fundraisers of the auction with their two very innovative and creative pieces which whipped up quite the bidding war!

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Attention all “Starving Artists”! Let's talk about the grants available to individual artists in the visual arts field. A clear, concise and persuasive grants application is needed to bring success in securing funding from organizations such as the Ontario Arts Council.

Plan now to attend this informative "Show Me The Money" workshop. Roy Mitchell will outline the process of planning, writing and submitting proposals that represent your project, and will focus on how to best present your idea, prepare a budget and develop the necessary support material.

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The Fade Kings are headlining the Art Gallery of Bancroft’s “Brews and Blues” event, coming up soon at the York River Room of the Bancroft Eatery and Pub.

Here's what music aficionados they say about them:

"The Fade Kings positively wail! A solid group of musicians, they were a huge hit with the crowd at the Limestone City Blues Festival. I hear mixes of R&B, soul, Latin, funk, jazz and blues.....This band is good!" ........ Ron Dickerson, Buff Blues, CFRC – FM, Kingston, ON.

"This is just one of those bands you want everyone to hear. They are that good! Great feedback, all saying how incredibly tight the band played"....... Steve Bartlett, Wingfield Farm Blues and Jazz Festival

This will be an evening you won’t want to miss! Don’t be disappointed: pick up your tickets now at the Gallery and enjoy an evening of great music, plus a whole lot more! How about:

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The Art Gallery of Bancroft was thrilled to be selected as host of the 56th Annual East Central Ontario Art
Association's annual juried exhibition this year. The Gallery was full at the show's opening earlier this month, as regional artists and guests from far and near gathered in a social setting to enjoy the wonderful display of art that presently adorns the Gallery walls.
The juror for this Year's exhibition was Bancroft's own Arne Roosman, maestro of the mural, stage settings and well known local artist.  Arne faced an extremely difficult task making his final selections in the different categories. When asked about his selection process, he said "all submitted pieces were of substantial quality, and show the artists' love of painting, but in the end, I had to just trust my heart".
Artist Debra Bannister took home the Juror's Choice Award for her stand-out watercolour "Swan Parade", which was inspired by the Swan March that takes place in Stratford every year to mark the beginning of the Stratford Theatre Festival.
Be sure to stop in at the gallery to enjoy this wonderfully diverse show, on display until August 24th. While there, check out the impressive Bancroft and Area Studio tour preview wall in the gift shop. Local and area artists have displayed selections of their work to give you an advanced look at their beautiful creations. The Studio Tour takes place this year on the weekends of September 20-21 and 27-28. 

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The Hybla Residency is an opportunity for an artist to develop and reflect on their art practice surrounded by the beauty of Hybla. This inaugural residency is in partnership with the Art Gallery of Bancroft.

The Inaugural Artist-in-Residence is Penny McCann, an Ottawa media artist whose body of work spans more than twenty years and encompasses both dramatic and experimental films and videos.  Her work has been exhibited extensively at festivals and galleries nationally and internationally, including the Centre national d’art contemporain (Grenoble, France), Oberhausen International Short Film Festival (Oberhausen, Germany), the Owens Art Gallery (Sackville, New Brunswick), the Images Festival (Toronto), the Canadian Film Institute (Ottawa), and the Festival International du film sur l’art (Montreal).

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The AGB’s site at the Wheels, Water and Wings street festival was buzzing with activity on Saturday July 5 under a hot and sunny sky, perfect for this year’s Caribbean-related theme of “Hot on Hastings”. Carole and John Kirby kept the samosas and grilled pineapple skewers flying off the BBQ and into the hands of eager customers to the happy rhythms of the Northern Lights Steel Orchestra. Gusty winds kept napkins, paper plates, signs and even umbrellas flying off as well! Roustabout Hugh Monteith collected the errant items, and filled in as food chopper, banker, plate preparer, amateur photographer, and general go-fer. Latecomers were disappointed to learn the delectable offerings were sold out by 1 p.m. 

At the adjacent kids’ tent, budding artists tried their hands at T-shirt painting with Isla Key and Diana Gurley, or driftwood painting with Ingrid Monteith. While clearly enjoying their handiwork, the concentration on their faces was intense as they created their imaginative masterpieces to the approval of parents, grandparents, siblings and friends.  So much fun was had, the painting continued for over an hour beyond the posted closing time.

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There is a dignified silence at 10 Flint Avenue this month of June. It is a pleasure to see how well our modest little gallery serves the creatures on display.

The arrangement is a piece of art in itself and every carefully executed detail of the ‘wild’ on display exposes a dedicated craftsmanship seldom exhibited anywhere.

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It’s spring cleaning time! Looking to clean out your basements, attics, sheds and garages for the coming summer?  Why not donate all gently used and formerly needed articles to the Art Gallery of Bancroft’s fund-raising yard sale, taking place Saturday May 24th from 9 a.m. to noon.  All Items can be brought into the gallery from Wednesday to Friday in the coming week

We will also be holding a plant sale at that time, so any excess plant from garden thinnings will be gratefully accepted, as well as the usual yard sale goodies.

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Tagged in: Fund-raiser Yard sale

Contact Details

Art Gallery of Bancroft
10 Flint Avenue
P.O. Box 398
Bancroft, Ontario
K0L 1C0

Phone: (613) 332-1542
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