The RMG

Skip to main content

Durham Reach

Rowena Dykins, Where the River Begins 1994 (detail)

Durham Reach

January 28, 2017 - April 02, 2017

We begin our 50th anniversary year by celebrating our regional artists, a community who have been at the heart of the gallery since its conception.

In 1967, William Caldwell, a local artist, sent out a call to like-minded individuals, artists and non-artists alike to shape the Oshawa Art Gallery, eventually becoming The Robert McLaughlin Gallery.

Regional artists sat on the gallery’s first board of trustees, helping to shape its vision and mission that included a mission to “foster the appreciation and to encourage and stimulate public interest in the Arts and Letters.” Over the past 50 years the RMG and regional artists would continue their relationship through exhibitions and building our permanent collection with work by local artists; by engaging artists to teach workshops and classes and to conduct critiques, lectures and performances.

Durham Reach is the most comprehensive public exhibition of artists from the area to date and showcases the work of over 70 artists. Although not a complete representation of the diversity of art being produced in Durham Region, the project includes works evenly distributed between emerging, mid-career and senior artists in four distinct, yet complimentary exhibitions. Durham Reach looks to celebrate the region’s artists, past and present, and to look forward to a strong, vibrant, and continuing arts community.

Curated by Linda Jansma and Sonya Jones

Durham Reach: Narrative of Place and Geography

Artists: Maralynn Cherry, Tony Cooper, Jay Dart, Rodney Dunn, Edward Falkenberg, Garfield Ferguson, Fly Freeman, David Gillespie, Gary Greenwood, John Krasinski, Audrey MacLean, Joaquin Manay, Jay McCarten, Mary Ellen McQuay, Sean McQuay, Jeff Morrison, Neil Newton, Todd Tremeer,Wendy Wallace, Sally Wildman, Olexander Wlasenko


Durham Reach: Narratives of Materiality, Optics, and Abstraction

Artists: Ron Baird, Meredith Bingham, Laura Clayton, Jane Dixon, Michael Drolet, Rowena Dykins, Ron Lambert, Catherine Mills, Francis Muscat, Paul Sloggett, Janice Taylor-Prebble, Judith Tinkl, Viktor Tinkl


Durham Reach: Narratives of History and Memory

Artists: Mike Berube, Darlene Cole, Grant Cole, Dani Crosby, Jane Eccles, Steven Frank, Toni Hamel, Reagan Kennedy, John Lander, Jeff Leech, Diane Lopez-Soto, Wes Peel, Ingrid Ruthig, Pete Smith, Barry Smylie, Lotti Thomas, Sally Thurlow


Durham Reach: Narratives of History and Memory

Artists: Karolina Baker, Ted Bieler, Ilija Blanusa, William Caldwell, Susan Campbell, Callum Donovan, Ron Eccles, Jessica Field, Laura M. Hair, Linda Heffernan, JR Hunter, Ruth Latimer, Gordon Law, William (Bill) Lishman, Geordie Lishman, Lynne McIlvride, Aleksi Moriarty, Dionne Powlenzuk. Ruth Read, Heather Rigby, Linda Ward Selbie, Layne Sharpe


  • Durham Reach: Narratives of Place and Geography

    Durham Reach: Narrative of Place and Geography

    The past fifty years has seen significant changes to the various landscapes of Durham Region, cities have expanded into each other, natures reconstructed. While the region, as an entity, has only existed since 1974, its population has more than doubled. The sheer number of people who live here dictates how we navigate our various landscapes and what its future will be.
    Geography and place have been central to many of the practices of Durham Region artists. That sense of place comes from personal history, on-site inspiration and imaginings. The works in this section of Durham Reach do not all reference this region: some works are positioned from the point of view of personal history or of other landscapes, or of places and narratives of the imagination. Yet there are those works that are quintessentially Durham, that speak to the land, the waterways the skies the urban and rural spaces. Each work is unique in its understanding of geography, both culturally and literally and draws the viewers in to experience the recognizable and the new.


  • Durham Reach: Narratives of Materiality, Optics, and Abstraction

    Durham Reach: Narratives of Materiality, Optics, and Abstraction

    The subject of art can often be about the work itself. Within abstraction, importance lies in what things look like—shape, colour, composition—and the possible optical tricks that can be played. We also may have preconceived notions about what art is supposed to be made of: paint on canvas, bronze sculpture, ink or graphite on paper. And then we’re faced with glass, fur, collaborations with humans and non-humans alike, and we’re asked to re-think those notions.
    Abstract painting is part of the RMG’s historic narrative. Our story includes that of Painters 11, Ontario’s first abstract painting group whose work the gallery has championed for the past half a century. As part of Oshawa’s narrative, the first travelling exhibition of abstract art was organized by painter and RMG patron, Alexandra Luke in 1952. Luke wrote: “Painting is like life itself: you learn as you go along, what to select, what to leave out.” We celebrate abstract artistic practices that have continued, unabated, in Durham Region since the RMG’s inception as well as reach to its furthest geographic corners to discover artists who revel in the very materiality of what they have created.


  • Durham Reach: Narratives of History and Memory

    Durham Reach: Narratives of History and Memory

    History can be thought of as an ordering of past events and is evidence based; memory is grounded in the personal recollections of those who have lived through events, and narrative weaves these two together to create stories of individual lives that help us to make sense of past events. Motivated by personal memories related to family history, culture and concepts of nationhood, to memories evoked through our senses, these works inspire viewers to look at the past through the lens of the specific


  • Durham Reach: Narratives of Reaction and the Body

    Durham Reach: Narratives of Reaction and the Body

    We continuously react to what is happening around us, both from personal and universal perspectives. Circumstances dictate how we respond to external and internal influences. We respond to political, technological, environmental, and historical stimuli based on who we are as individuals and what we bring to the “narrative”.
    The body is often associated directly with reaction. It has been inspirational to artists throughout the centuries, exploring issues surrounding sexuality, beauty, gender and ethnicity and is also a means by which one can express individual empowerment and agency.