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Michal Manson Memorial Student Show

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At this year's "Michal Manson Memorial Student Show", we are confronted with some welcome focus on First Nation's imagery. Here and there a flattering nod to the great Norval Morriseau. Many pieces show good technical proficiency, such as the two by Shannon Reid, both titled "Untitled"and one of the two honoured with "Best Painting".

Myself, I was much more impressed by the unhonoured "Untitled" Reid.  The fiery orange to red splash in the beastly jaw then drawn to the half-hidden eyes in the chiseled features, so common on today's supermodels. Great. Disney-friendly happy comic ideas appear to have left the planet, and so hints of cosmic ventures which seemed to fascinate young, budding artists, as I recall, years ago.

Fast forward and back to the present. Some hints of humour often blown away by cynicism as I sense in "Property of Society" smile, a product, hidden the subject, the universal code the "Third Dimension" soooo very plastic. Our talented youngsters have managed to assassinate the smile in eyes and all the face surrounding these. Could this be the precursor of roboart yet to come? Having condemned the soul to something romantic is art the loser? A smile but memory? Anger the currency?

In contrast there is more comfort and humanity in "Resurgence" well chosen pastel hues lend support to and convey a sense of familiarity. The very powerful, to this viewer oddly-titled "The Reflection of Your Ignorance" (consider me guilty if charged) anatomical license and likewise colour, well deserves the attention it received from our attentive juror. Drawing "Squashed" makes one dance and smile, am I going bananas or is the Hallowe'en pumpkin splitting at its sides.

Next to it, there is more music in the "Spiral" for which it deserves the special mention it got. "Little bits of everything" has much to say about it all. The wiremesh elephant would convey a very strong message of the perils of its species if a bulb of sorts inserted would enlighten the viewer. Think David Suzuki!

Opening night concluded with a lively discussion on how to encourage student and staff participation, of families, fellow students, all of whom were absent. All this had a feel of an annual ritual. But it is encouraging that the gallery and our volunteers have not given up on the basic concept quite yet.

The press was present. The MOOSE, our local radio station was not. Perhaps, next time around, our gallery should extend a special invitation to Mr. Bonokovsky and get some healthy conservative views on the subject. Swinging much to the left, as is my habit, I must acknowledge that art is, as the saying goes, all over the place and I like to quote my favorite thinker on the subject. Sir Herbert Reid observed that throughout history the artists, their creative ideas, consistently were fifty years ahead of their times.

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Arne Roosman: Lithographer, Designer of Books, Stage and Murals. Illustrator and Painter. Born in Tallinn, Estonia. Studied art in Sweden. Came to Canada in 1957. Has exhibited in Canada and abroad. Winner of many awards. Resident of Bancroft, Ontario since 1988.

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Guest Saturday, 18 November 2017

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

Phone: (613) 332-1542
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