2006 Past Exhibitions
November 14, 2006 - December 22, 2006
Jennifer Oille-Sinclair, Newfoundland
The StFX University Art Gallery is pleased to present Sea Dung , a series of digital prints exploring the zone between places by artist Jennifer Oille-Sinclair. Jennifer came across the term Sea Dung in Frank Parker Day’s 1928 novel, Rockbound, where seaweed is used as a fertilizer.
Jennifer Oille-Sinclair was born in Toronto and in recent years has been dividing her time between Toronto and Wesleyville, Newfoundland; as of next year, she will leave Toronto for St. John’s. Jennifer has a BA in Modern History from the University of Toronto, and a MA and M. Phil in Russian Studies, both from the University of Sussex, England. She founded and was editor of "Provincial Essays", a series of monographs and anthologies devoted to Canadian visual culture. In addition to curating exhibitions, Jennifer was the Ontario editor for Vanguard magazine as well as a contributing writer for numerous cultural publications including C-Magazine and Art forum. She is currently represented by the Christina Parker Gallery in St John’s, NLFD. For more information on the artist and her work please visit the gallery website at http://www.christinaparkergallery.com.
Oille-Sinclair has called upon her expertise as a curator and critic to present an exhibition that is literally on the edge. Along the high tide line of a rugged Newfoundland beach, Jennifer, the artist, has found and created an arena where Jennifer, the curator and critic, explores and juxtaposes nature, artifice, the symbolic, the found, and the contrived. In this collection our Orwellian mistrust of images, especially of photographic digital images, is teased along with the realization that there is no symbolism which is not contrivance. As Picasso is said to have said, "Art is a lie that allows us to realize the truth".
Like a beachcomber, Jennifer has found herself at the edge of the ocean looking for items of interest. "Flotsam and jetsam" is a nautical term used to describe the debris found following a shipwreck. Flotsam is the debris from the wreck itself while jetsam is the stuff deliberately jettisoned to lighten the ship prior to the event. To the modern collage maker, and much of modern art is collage, images are like flotsam and jetsam.
The moment an image is created, it streams into a vast reservoir where the image’s intended function may be changed at any time. Images are gathered, altered, juxtaposed, and given new meaning. Jennifer does this quite deliberately, and unlike the surrealist, her images have the plausibility of an awakened state. If nothing else she is a realist and in her images the line between what occurs naturally and what she creates is barely discernable. It is at this juncture that she and, by extension you and I, are at our most vulnerable and perhaps our most human. It is in this brief moment before meaning is ascribed that we get to start all over again.
October 10, 2006 - November 12, 2006
"The Human Face of South Asia"
I first visited South Asia over forty years ago when a friend and I motored from Paris to the southern tip of India, traveling through Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, and over the Khyber Pass to Pakistan and India. I have returned often to the subcontinent, most recently in 2000 and again in 2001. The main focus of these recent visits has been photography, a passion which has evolved in tandem with my love for this fascinating and complex region. My images are varied, but I am happiest when photographing people.
Over the years I have been able to put my hobby to good use in a variety of ways. For thirty years I taught courses in World Religions at St. Francis Xavier University. Especially at a time when visual aids were difficult to come by, it was useful to have a collection of images which shed light on the religion and culture of South Asia. In preparing a course on Religion in Modern India, I came to admire the Bengali song-writer and poet Rabindranath Tagore. In 1997 I published The One and the Many. Readings from the Work of Rabindranath Tagore, a book which combines readings from Tagore with my own photographs of India and Bangladesh. Recently, I have visited and photographed people associated in a variety of ways with non-government organizations in India, Bangladesh, and Nepal - organizations with which graduates of the Coady International Institute are associated.
In setting out to make photographs which tell something of South Asia’s human story, the challenges are undoubtedly greatest in urban centers. In cities one is confronted by the “sensory overload” which every visitor to this region experiences. Precisely because one is surrounded by an infinite number of potentially good photographs, isolating subject-matter demands time, patience, a great deal of foot work, an openness to the unexpected – and a healthy sense of adventure!
Although I feel very comfortable working in densely populated cities such as Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), I particularly enjoy spending time in villages. I have always found the villagers to be extremely generous and hospitable. Picture-making often ends up being a group project in which everyone is happily involved, including the children. (Pied Piper-like, wherever I go I attract a host of friendly and curious children of all ages - who then serve as fine travel companions and assistants!)
Anyone engaged in portrait photography in this part of the world is presented with a wealth of beautiful and interesting faces. And an abundance of vibrant colors coupled with wonderful natural light makes South Asia an ideal location for color photography.
It is my hope that these informal portraits of but a very few of the common people of South Asia’s cities and villages may serve to make this part of the world seem a little less remote.
The sixteen abstracts studies which have been included in the exhibit are part of a recent self-assigned project in which I have been exploring what can be created when I use colored glass as the subject-matter of my photography. Although my primary concern has been to create harmonious compositions which display a pleasing and interesting arrangement of colors, lines, shapes, and texture, in some cases the images do in fact suggest (often in a very subtle fashion) something concrete. But the interpretation of such images is clearly a very personal matter. I have therefore deliberately left the photographs untitled, thereby inviting the viewer to use his or her imagination in approaching each image. Or, one can give one’s imagination a rest and simply focus instead on the interplay and juxtaposition of form, light, and color in the photographs.
September 26, 2006 – October 8, 2006
Nitapaq Wikual - From The Homes of My Friends
An invitational art exhibition from the private collections of NS Mi’kmaq Educators, StFX B.Ed Alumni of Visual Arts 1999-2006, Friends and Families
In Honour of Treaty Day, Mi’kmaq History Month and StFX Homecoming 2006
Co-Organised by the Office of the StFX Aboriginal Student Advisor
August 1, 2006 – September 9, 2006
Cara Jones, Antigonish
The StFX University Art Gallery was very pleased and proud to finish our 2006 summer season with "Familiar Strangers", an image installation of Antigonish faces by local artist Cara Jones.
"Familiar Strangers" is about neighborhoods and seeing past the expectations of our routine. Each of us has a daily pattern and naturally these templates overlap. We often see the same people at the same time or in the same place. Often we know very little about each other, yet through each others’ presence we find comfort, familiarity, and a sense of place and belonging. Cara’s work investigates human interactions and the boundary between the artist and subject.
This installation consists of forty-four paired 12"X18" black and white photographic portraits hung at various heights from the gallery ceiling. Visitors are encouraged to walk among the images as if encountering strangers. On the walls surrounding the hanging portraits are colour photographs of popular local buildings and landmarks in Antigonish. The colour photographs distinguish the local landmarks from the portraits, enhancing the viewer’s experience of visiting a small rural town and coming face to face with the local people.
July 10, 2006 – July 28, 2006
Antigonish Area Artists
"Antigonish Area Artists at the StFX Art Gallery" marks the current period of unprecedented growth in the local arts community. Anchoring and nurturing this activity has been the StFX Art Department, and the StFX and Lyghtesome Art Galleries. This ensuing art scene reached a critical mass when, under the auspices of StFX’s Enterprise Development, the community established the Guysborough Antigonish Pictou Arts and Culture Council (GAPACC).
With over 65 artists in this exhibition, the show cannot help but be…. vibrant…. exciting… and informative. Even more so when we consider that this exhibition coincides with opening of GAPACC’s 9th annual “Gathering of the Arts". Not bad for a small seaside town, but now what?
Well for starters, more and more artists are able to find a lively-hood in the area’s arts economy. Younger artists are staying or returning after art and crafts training and as the area offers an increasingly attractive lifestyle, other artists are or will be calling this place home. Small businesses are providing secondary exhibition venues and area artists and their arts council are involved in developing our Public Library. It is not beyond the carrying capacity of the current visual-art community to develop an artist-run gallery. These are very interesting times.
May 9, 2006 – June 16, 2006
Traveling Light -Watercolours and Pastels
Garry Hamilton, Cape Breton
The StFX University Art Gallery was very pleased to begin its 2006 Summer Exhibition Season with "Traveling Light", a display of watercolours and pastels by Cape Breton artist Garry Hamilton.
Garry is a plein air painter. His art is about capturing mood, light, and place. The StFX show consists of 45 recent pieces done while traveling in Mexico, a sea cruise around the British Isles, parts of mainland Nova Scotia, and short jaunts in Cape Breton. Of the title for this exhibit Garry says "In keeping with my habit of keeping my travel painting gear light enough to fit into a backpack along with a fold up easel and my focus in painting which is light and shadow, the show is called Traveling Light”. With this in mind, it is no surprise that the artist writes and illustrates a bi weekly column called “Trippin with Garry” for the Cape Breton Post. Indeed, the show will include scenes he has described in his column such as the search for the blue footed booby on the Marrietas Islands and the Mexican rodeo in Puerto Vallarta.
Well known within the art scenes of Sydney and Northeastern Nova Scotia, Garry is enjoying a growing North American reputation as a superb colourist. Since 2002 he has been juried into and won awards in a growing number of watercolour competitions such as Canada’s SCA, (Societe de l’Aquarelle) and the CSPWC (Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour). In America Garry has exhibited with the WSA, (Watercolor Society of America), NEWS (the North East Watercolor Society), TWSA, (the Transparent Watercolor Society of America), the Adirondack Exhibition of American Watercolors, NWWS (the Northwest Watercolor Society), and the Lexington Art League.
Hamilton was born in Canada. He is a graduate of the Ontario College of Art. He also did advanced art studies at Concordia University and McGill University. He was also a full- time cartoonist at the Montreal Star as well as a free lance book illustrator. He has been a full time art instructor at Sheridan College, Oakville Ontario, Dawson College Montreal, PQ and MacKenzie College, Sydney, NS. Garry retired from teaching in 2000.
For more information on the artist and to see some of his images please visit his GAPACC member’s website at: http://www.gapacc.ns.ca/
September 23 – October 5, 2003
Recent Acquisitions to the Permanent Collection
In celebration of Home Coming 2003 & the 150th Anniversary of StFX.
February 15, 2006 - March 10, 2006
Exhibition: Art @X Art Dept. Student Show
The Art Dept Student Show featured various pieces from students at StFX who were enrolled in courses within the Art Department.
January 5, 2006 - February 12, 2006
"A Time for Talking: A Time for Silence"
Catherine Moir, Baddeck NS
The StFX University Art Gallery was pleased to begin its 2006 Season with Catherine Moir’s "A Time for Talking; a Time for Silence". Catherine, a scenic oil painter, lives in the Baddeck area. For this exhibit she has assembled over 40 paintings.
A professional artist since 1971, Moir moved from Halifax to Cape Breton in 1984. It was during her employment delivering the mail along rural routes in the Iona area that she began to focus on landscape painting. Of the period Catherine notes: "The scenery, with all its changes implored me to paint as I drove through some of the most beautiful places in Cape Breton every day. Working outside I am in communication with the scene, the light, the clouds, rain, wind, trees, everything. While I’m working I’m being affirmed or reprimanded, learning constantly. There is great joy as well as frustration, sometimes peace; finally, hopefully, it’s right."
Catherine spent the winter of 2004 in solitude and contemplation in an old farm house on the Washabuck Peninsula in the middle of the Bras d’Or. "A Time for Talking; a Time for Silence" is focused around a suite of twelve paintings the artist created during this period. Catherine writes: "This was a time for prayer, meditation and of course for painting. It was wonderful to have a long period of time to be completely alone."
In 1999 Catherine had a solo show at Cape Breton University, Gallery I. She has exhibited regularly in the Cape Breton Artists Association organized UCB Gallery II. Catherine has also shown at Lyghtesome Gallery, Antigonish and several other galleries in Nova Scotia. She worked as the facilitator and curator for the Visual Art Series during the Celtic Colours Festival for the past three years and as the coordinator for "Peer Consultancy" a professional development program for Cape Breton Artists. For more information of the artist please visit her website at http: //bighillretreat.com/artwork .
2005 Past Exhibitions
Colours of Nature, Ruth Greenlaw
Exhibition: The Promise of Solitude
A multi-media installation of paper cut enclosures by international artist
Exhibition: Memory and Memorial
The StFX University Art Gallery marked the beginning of the academic year 2005/2006 with Memory and Memorial, a provocative and thoughtful exhibition of paintings and drawings by Dartmouth artist Rose Adams.
A native of Nova Scotia, Rose received her BA Hon. (79) from Acadia and a MA in English (81) at Carleton. As a visual artist she went on to achieve both a BFA (82) and a MFA (86) from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University. A committed educator Rose received a MEd (94) from Dalhousie University and for the past number of years has taught in the Foundation Program of NSCADU
Concurrent with a busy academic life Rose was employed by Canada World Youth, CUSO, and Cross Roads International. She has worked in Jamaica, Zambia, Malawi, Sri Lanka, and Colombia, often using the art form of popular theatre as a vehicle to achieve community development in the areas of women’s issues, health, and micro economies.
In Halifax, Rose’s interest in popular theatre led her to found the Popular Projects Society, an agit-prop theater troupe. Active in the 80’s this group tackled such diverse topics as Provincial Cultural Development, Halifax Harbour Cleanup, Revenue Canada’s then unfair treatment of professional artists, and US intervention in Central America. It is also during this period in Halifax that NSCADU, noted as a hot bed of both conceptual and political art, served the artist as a proving ground for her use of visual art as a vehicle for and of social change.
However, if would be unfair to think of Rose as just a political artist. Her art is not about issues. Long sensitized by a multicultural life and informed by the reality outside of our militarized, commercialized, sanitized and gated North American garret, Rose interprets our times in terms of the heart as well as the head.
In 2004/2005 Rose was recognized by being made Artist-in-Residence at the QE II Memory Disability Clinic in Halifax. The exhibition currently on display at the gallery is a distillation of this experience combined with her ongoing investigation of the human journey. Indeed NSCADU artist and writer Ian J. Mackinnon observes in his catalogue essay for the exhibition that: "True to her holistic approach to life and art, Adams had placed herself at the intersection of two means of experiencing and understanding the world: the medical/empirical and the artistic/spiritual."
Exhibition: Old New Scotland
The next exhibition at StFX University Arty Gallery was Old New Scotland Investigating cultural memories and expectations passed down through landscape by Anna Syperek.
Anna Syperek is a painter of landscapes. She creates these images for the community - an audience of family, friends, neighbours and collectors. She has invited us to engage in a specific dialogue- that of reading the landscape. It is a tradition steeped in re-affirmation. She helps us to appreciate what we have and, simultaneously influences the future.
Anna is a fulcrum, central to the process in which actual landscape becomes symbolic, a virtual landscape imbued with ideology. In turn her image is consumed by us, digested and metabolized into the desires, expectations and actions with which we terraform the world. It is an ongoing and endless cycle, but in Anna’s case, a process unique and specific to northeastern Nova Scotia.
Anna Syperek moved here 34 years ago and immediately began to interact with the landscape. Together with her husband photographer and videographer Peter Murphy, Anna has tirelessly explored this area. Over the past three decades she has given us a solid body of painting, watercolours, drawings and prints which when seen in the conjunction with the production of fellow artists Kate Brown and Vicki MacLean not only epitomizes the Antigonish Landscape but is a recognizable as a specific unique and vision of the land.
When Peter’s SeaBright Productions began to produce traditional Celtic music documentaries in Cape Breton, Anna begin to question and perceive the origins of what she was looking at. Perhaps it is best to quote the artist.
“I started painting there as well (Eastern Nova Scotia and Cape Breton), learning the history and appreciating the culture of the island. During this time, I gradually came to realize that my love for this particular landscape is greatly influenced by the meaning that is invested in it by its inhabitants. The Gaelic-speaking settlers of this area and their descendants have a strong emotional connection to place, the land they were forced from, and gradually, the new land they settled. Their songs, poems and even the titles of their fiddle tunes are full of visual images and haunting melodies that express their attachment to their homes and the farms and settlements that they created.”
Old New Scotland was first shown at the Inverness County Centre for the Arts and in the fall it will travel to Scotland to be shown at the Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum and Arts Centre in North Usit. As well it will travel to areas governed by the Highland Council, in areas connected to the Highland Clearances. Translation assistance for the Gaelic/English Catalogue which accompanies the exhibit was received from Gaelic Initiatives Program, NS Tourism Culture and Heritage. StFX Sociology professor Dr. Dan MacInnes has written an introduction providing a historical perspective and excerpts from Cape Breton poet Joyce Rankin’s collection of poems, "At My Mother's Door’ adds strength to the theme in another discipline.
Although there is a body of research dealing with the past, present and future ways in which First Nations, Acadians, industrialists, and conservationists imprint on our landscape, what is important here is to acknowledge that artist Anna Syperek has begun this dialogue with her audience and the other artists of this area. We now have an opportunity to further appreciate and understand the role of visual arts in creating, maintaining, and developing the landscape of northeastern Nova Scotia.
Exhibition: Transformations: Trash Into Art
Exhibition: GAPACC Exposed
Exhibition: Looking For My Dog
Exhibition: Art @X Art Dept. Student Show
The Art Dept Student Show featured various pieces from students at StFX who were enrolled in courses within the Art Department.
Exhibition: Art @X Student Union Photo Show
The Student Union Photo Show featured photography submitted by various students at StFX.
Exhibition: Colours of Nature
Outside it is winter, everything appears shrouded in grey, nothing is growing, the landscape is asleep. But here inside the walls of this gallery it is demonstrated that the driving force of this living planet is to reaffirm itself though the cycle of the four seasons. So what better way to start this New Year than with a sumptuous display of colour in nature?
The subject matter of these paintings is mainly drawn from gardens and fields near Lochaber and Antigonish. Greenlaw has always loved flowers, and takes her inspiration from her own and friends’ gardens as well as the gardens at StFX. Her photos and etchings are inspired by flowers, trees and wild plants. Her landscapes reveal sensitivity to the colours and beauty of nature in all seasons. “Form and colour are revealed by light. I find myself painting the effects of light, whether I paint the glass vase in a still life or the shadows in a stream,” she says.
Throughout the exhibition one is impressed by Greenlaw’s dramatic use of colour. This use is revealed in the velvety purple petals of a flower in “Iris Glow” as well as the golden yellow leaves of “Autumn Woods, Lochaber”. In the former, Greenlaw has layered transparent washes of watercolour pigment to achieve an unusual depth of sparkling colour. “I use complementary colours such as yellow and purple side by side to enliven each of them,” says Greenlaw. “I’m also drawn to detail, and enjoy capturing the patterns and forms of flowers.” On the other hand, she uses the medium of pastel for some of her landscapes, such as “Autumn Woods, Lochaber.” “Pastel allows me to escape the precision that I use in watercolour,” she explains. “Painting with a blunt pastel stick on coloured paper is very different from using a rather fine watercolour brush on white paper. Painting in pastel encourages me to work broadly.”
“Colours of Nature” invites the viewer to experience the beauty of nature.
Before coming to Lochaber, Ruth Greenlaw lived in Ontario, B.C., and Saskatchewan. She studied art history and studio at the University of Western Ontario, graduating with an Honours BA. Ruth has also studied Chinese art at UBC and in China. Her work is in numerous collections in Canada and the United States. At the time of this exhibition, she was a member of the Society of Antigonish Printmakers and teaches Art at StFX University.