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AGB News

News, notes and the latest general information about the Art Gallery of Bancroft.


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.


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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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