Ghosts of the Gallery

Public call for Ghost Stories about The Robert McLaughlin Gallery! After almost 50 years in the community, Oshawa’s art gallery has some history behind it, as do the many artifacts, paintings, sculptures and curiosities housed in our gallery vault.

The RMG is currently producing a short documentary titled “Ghosts of the Gallery” set to launch on October 2nd at RMG Fridays in our Friday Film Features screening room. In the spirit of Halloween, gallery staff are sharing their supernatural experiences on camera and we invite the public to participate as well!

A chill on the back of your neck, unexplained perfume smells, objects moving without the help of human hands, strange apparitions, orbs captured in photographs – we want to hear them all! Telling your story does not mean you have to go on camera, there are many ways we can include it in the film!

Please submit your stories by September 15th to:

Carla Sinclair, Manager of Community and Volunteer Development
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 905-576-3000 x106

Hidden Mothers and “Tall Tale” Postcards

This post comes from the desk of Associate Curator and Curator of the Thomas Bouckley Collection, Sonya Jones.

Researching and selecting images for the exhibition Mindful Manipulation was fascinating! Not only did I learn about darkroom manipulation processes but I also discovered some interesting things about early studio practices. For example, hidden mother photography. In the Victorian era, with long exposure times, mothers would often disguise themselves in different ways to hold their children still. Photographers would try to put the focus on the children by camouflaging the mothers as chairs, couches or curtains.

John Aubrey Morphy Portrait, 1891, Oshawa Public Libraries

John Aubrey Morphy Portrait, 1891, Oshawa Public Libraries

There is one example of this in Mindful Manipulation where the mother is draped to look like a chair. The photographer went even further in drawing attention away from the “chair” with a white vignette. This was done by dodging, a process that decreases the exposure for areas of the print that the photographer wished to be light. As a mom, I know firsthand how difficult it is to capture a squirming baby even with today’s technology, and I guess I’m technically hiding too, but behind the lens versus disguised as a couch! The example of the Morphy baby isn’t as creepy as other examples from this time period. If you Google hidden mother photography the results are hilarious and spooky.

"How We Do Things At Oshawa, ONT.", 1911, Oshawa Public Libraries

“How We Do Things At Oshawa, ONT.”, 1911, Oshawa Public Libraries

The other subject I found interesting in my research was Tall Tale postcards. These postcards began around the turn of the 20th century, and were especially popular in smaller communities where they would exaggerate food sources specific to the region. In Oshawa’s case, the tall-tale is that Oshawa’s rich soil produces gigantic turnips, and that fish were an abundant food source. Photographers would take two prints, one a background landscape and another a close-up of an object, carefully cut out the second and superimpose it onto the first, and re-shoot the combination to create a final composition that is often ridiculous but fun.

Join me on November 17 for a lecture about the history of manipulated images as well as the emerging field of digital forensics by Deepa Kundur.

For more information please visit https://rmg.on.ca/mindful-manipulation-tbc.php

 

Top image: “How We Do Things At Oshawa, ONT.”, 1917, Oshawa Community Museum and Archives

Moving Image: The RMG’s New Permanent Collection Exhibition

This blog post comes from the desk of Senior Curator, Linda Jansma.

Each year The Robert McLaughlin Gallery completely revamps the Isabel McLaughlin Gallery, a space that is dedicated to the RMG’s permanent collection. When I first came to the gallery, the norm was to give a slice of art history from a chronological perspective: 19th century landscapes and portraits were followed by the more experimental works by member of the Group of Seven. From there, a selection of works by artists of the Canadian Group of Painters, a group that was formed in 1933 and on to the 1950s and ending before abstract expressionism. It was a traditional way of showing things, but a little on the dull side.

What would happen if an A.Y. Jackson landscape from the 1940s was placed beside a Rae Johnson landscape from the 1990s? A traditional Emily Carr landscape beside a wildly exuberant work by regional artist Lynn McIlvride? A large scale photograph by Montreal-based artist Holly King, beside a small still life by Arthur Lismer? Well, a lot more fun from a curatorial perspective and something that requires more work/thought from our audience!

During the third week of August, we’ll install the exhibition Moving Image. It will include paintings of landscapes that show rushing water and clouds scuttling across the sky; the migration of both people and animals; works that are emotionally moving and create illusions of movement. Works will be historic and contemporary, include painting, drawing, sculpture and photography.

A favourite of mine in this exhibition is a work called Flock from 2009 by Kingston-based artist Don Maynard. From a distance, the installation looks like a swooping flock of birds, but on closer examination, you see a number of traditional paper airplanes (made of thin aluminum rather than paper) with their noses embedded into the wall. When I saw the work in Don’s studio, my first thought was “what a great idea!!” I still think that, and I hope visitors to the gallery enjoy both it and the other works in Moving Image.

 

Image- Flock (installation views and details), Don Maynard, aluminum, 2009

 

Apply to exhibit in Gallery A!

Opportunities are now available for community partnerships and special initiatives as well as an annual artist residency that prioritizes artists who wish to experiment with new ideas, collaborate, and work in new directions.

Exhibiting artists will have opportunities to give public talks on their work, participate in professional development workshops, and give and receive critical feedback from peers.

Programming of this space is separate from our curatorial planning and proposal selections will be made through a jury of local artists and arts professionals.

Application Deadline:
October 15, 2015 for projects taking place from March 1, 2016 – August 31, 2016

Information Session: Thursday 10 September, 7pm

Click here to apply to Gallery A!

For more information, please contact Leslie Menagh: Manager of Public Programs & ArtReach at [email protected] or 905.576.3000 ext. 108

Curator’s Choice: Moving Image

This blog post comes from the desk of Senior Curator, Linda Jansma.

Beyond Measure: Domesticating Distance is an exhibition initiated by emerging curator Ambereen Siddiqui and assisted by a Culturally Diverse Curatorial Project grant through the Ontario Arts Council.

Its theme of artists living in the context of the diaspora, segues with one of the sections in Moving Image, the RMG’s new permanent collection exhibition. Millions of people are on the move and displaced from their home countries, and that displacement leaves voids and longing for what once was.

A key work in Moving Image is a video by Vessna Perunovich entitled Unoccupied NY. It follows the artist through different parts of New York City as she carries a single mattress on her back. Her work addresses concepts of migration, longing and boundaries, as well as the diversity of New York’s populations along ethnic, social and economic lines. Perunovich, like four of the five artists in Beyond Measure, is an immigrant to Canada who relates to a sense of the dis-rootedness and yearning that comes with leaving one’s home country. This work, along with Surendra Lowatia, Tazeen Qayyum, Meera Margaret Singh, Asma Sultana, and Abdullah Syed challenges the viewer to look more deeply into the individual experience and the singular work and see its universal themes.

Image: Vessna Perunovich, Unoccupied NY, video still.

 

Their Stories – Call for entries!

Deadline: 1 December, 2015

Help tell the stories of 10 unidentified portraits in the Thomas Bouckley Collection. Whether it is a fictional diary entry, poem, letter, short story, storyboard, or character sketch, imagining an identity to these unknown portraits brings the characters to life.

Submissions will be reviewed by a jury, and selected entries will accompany the photographs in an exhibition at The Robert McLaughlin Gallery or displayed on our website. Please click here to submit.

Unidentified portraits are not commonly displayed. By bringing these images forward, we hope to engage the creative side of the public of the public, and possibly in the process discover a clue as to their true identity.

For more information contact Sonya Jones, Associate Curator and Curator of the Thomas Bouckley Collection at [email protected]

To for more information and to submit, please visit https://rmg.on.ca/their-stories.php

RMG Fridays September: Back to School

Join us on Friday September 11th from 7-10pm and celebrate the openings of Beyond Measure: Domesticating Distance and Moving Image with the sweet melodies of The Birdloft, Roberta Quilico and a stunning performance and short film by the Durham School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance.

For more information:
The Bird Loft – http://www.thebirdloft.ca/
Roberta Quilico – http://www.thebirdloft.ca/roberta.html

On the first Friday of the month, join the RMG in celebrating local talent. The gallery buzzes with live musical performances, interactive art experiences, open gallery spaces, social mingling and more. Suitable for music lovers, youth, families, date nights, and culture-vultures.

Free to attend | 7-10pm | Cash Bar | All ages welcome.

Follow the twitter feed at #RMGFridays!

The RMG is grateful to the Ontario Trillium Foundation for their support of this programming.

 

Image:
Left: Walden Pond/Mirror, 2006: From the exchange between artists Surendra Lawoti and Meera Margaret Singh for their project “Of Light and Longing.”
Right: Roberta Quilico

My Curatorial Internship at the RMG

Alessandra Cirelli is a Museum Management and Curatorship student at Fleming College and this summer she completed her placement with the RMG.

During my undergrad, I completed a degree in art history and fine art, but when I finished I had that nagging question that most students have—what do I do now? I knew I wanted to work in an art gallery, but felt I needed the skills to do so. So back to school I went, to become a Museum Management and Curatorship student at Fleming College, a one-year program with a 14-week internship. There, I studied how to preserve and catalogue art, artifacts, and manage the daily operations of a Museum and Art Gallery institution. I learnt more than I could have ever imagined about the inner workings of a Museum and Art Gallery. The school year flew by and at the end of my second semester it was time for my internship. I changed my one-hour commute to Fleming College in Peterborough into a welcomed ten-minute drive to The Robert McLaughlin gallery where I spent the summer as a curatorial intern.

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During my internship, I experienced a bit of everything, from cataloguing and rehousing photographic collections, helping create exhibition proposals, photographing and reorganizing the sculpture collection, I have been involved in it all. One of the many highlights of my internship was the chance to use my newly acquired artifact and artwork handling skills to take down and install new exhibitions. It was a proud moment seeing the loading dock full of multi coloured crates filled with artworks I helped pack and wrap waiting to be shipped to the next exhibition.

My main internship project was to reorganize and photograph the sculptures in the RMG’s sculpture collection. Sculptures were photographed using professional lighting equipment and Canon 5D camera. The pictures were then uploaded to the RMG’s online database for both internal use and, if copyright allowed, for the public to see and enjoy. After photographing, I reorganized and assigned locations to the sculptures in the vault. As good practice, each object should be locatable within 3-5 minutes and should be accessible by moving only one to two items to get to it. By reorganizing and assigning locations, the sculptures in the RMG’s sculpture vault are now more accessible for research and exhibition preparation.

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I have learnt a great deal at the RMG, I now feel like I have the knowledge and the skills to work in a Museum or Art Institution. I extend a huge thank you to everyone here at the RMG for making me feel like a part of the team during my 14-week internship.

Fall On The Move

This fall, we are exploring how artists have conveyed the overlapping themes of memory, migration and movement with two exhibitions: Moving Image and Beyond Measure: Domesticating Distance.

In Moving Image, Senior Curator Linda Jansma explores how the theme of movement manifests itself in the RMG’s permanent collection. Selected from our collection of over 4,500 works, this exhibition examines not only physical movement of objects and people, but also those images that emotionally move us. With our permanent collection, we continue to tell the story modern and contemporary art across Canada.

The RMG is thrilled to partner with SAVAC (South Asian Visual Arts Centre) to present Beyond Measure: Domesticating Distance. Curated by Ambereen Siddiqui, this exhibition explores contemporary South Asian perspectives on the notion of absence within diasporic communities and dislocation within the experience of migration. Featuring performance and installation, photography and sculpture, the artists in this exhibition use their multidisciplinary practices to echo the diversity of their layered experiences.

In conjunction with these exhibitions, we are pleased to offer complimentary programming. Please join us for a symposium featuring a panel discussion by the artists in Beyond Measure: Domesticating Distance on Saturday 12 September. As well, join artist Tazeen Qayyum on Sunday, 15 November in the studio for an introductory workshop to Miniature Painting of Persian and South Asian tradition, outlining the different traditional styles and schools, and contextualizing contemporary practices.

On view:

Moving Image
Works from the Permanent Collection
August 22, 2015 – August 20, 2016
Opening: RMG Fridays: 11 September, 7-10pm

Beyond Measure: Domesticating Distance
Surendra Lawoti, Tazeen Qayyum, Meera Margaret Singh, Asma Sultana and Abdullah M. I. Syed
September 5, 2015 – January 3, 2016
Opening: RMG Fridays: 11 September, 7-10pm

Programming:

Symposium
Beyond Measure: Domesticating Distance Symposium
Saturday 12 September, 11am-3pm

The symposium will include a tour of the exhibition with guest curator, Ambereen Siddiqui followed by a panel discussion with the participating artists; Surendra Lawoti, Tazeen Qayyum, Asma Sultana and Australia-based Abdullah M.I. Syed. This will be an occasion for viewers to ask questions about the process and multidisciplinary practices of each artist, as well as an opportunity for the artists to expand upon the layered and subtle meanings within the artworks.

A complimentary light lunch will be included. Space is limited. FREE! Register by Thursday 3 September at rmg.on.ca. Registration required.

Workshop

Miniature Painting: Art Workshop
with artist Tazeen Qayyum
Sunday, 15 November, 11am – 3:30pm

An introductory workshop to Miniature Painting of Persian and South Asian tradition, outlining the different traditional styles and schools, and contextualizing contemporary practices. The workshop includes an illustrated lecture, demonstrations of various techniques, including the making of qalam (brush). Participants work through a drawing assignment to reinforce a number of different techniques, including Siyah Qalam (drawing with a brush), the charba method of drawing (image transferring), creating a jidwal (traditional border), and preparing and adding rung (colour). All materials provided, but please bring your own lunch.

Space is limited and registration is required. $20 Members / $30 Non-Members

 

Above Image: Walden Pond/Mirror (detail): From the exchange between artists Surendra Lawoti and Meera Margaret Singh for their project “Of Light and Longing, 2014-2015.” Credit to Surendra Lawoti.

Meet Leslie Menagh, the RMG’s new Manager of Public Programs and ArtReach

Leslie Menagh is the RMG’s new Manager, Public Programs & ArtReach. Prior to joining us, she was working as an artist, as well as in theatre, film, artist-run-centres, festivals and cultural organizations. Stop by and welcome Leslie to the RMG team!

The RMG: What were you up to before the RMG?

Leslie: Wearing many hats. I was running a home-based studio/arts venue called Eddy Creak (still am) for the presentation of live music and visual art. I’d been privately costuming for theatre and film and for years, working as a videographer, and quietly as an artist myself. Freelancing as an art educator has also been in my repertoire, as has volunteering for numerous artist-run-centres, festivals, and cultural organizations. I’m a bona fide art tart. One of my beloved Peterborough places is Artspace, where I’ve been volunteering for years and recently and proudly joined their Board of Directors.

The RMG: What drew you to the museum sector?

Leslie: My interests are so diverse. I think the best part of working in this sector is that there is the potential to engage with any subject, story, object, or idea. It suits my interdisciplinary soul.

The RMG: What is your favourite museum?

Leslie: I had an opportunity to visit Paris a few years ago, and spent an afternoon at The Decorative Arts Museum. They were doing a phenomenal feature on jewellery spanning thousands of years. Most of the displays were dramatically lit in darkened rooms. The building itself – part of the complex that hosts the Louvre – was equally enchanting, and rich with architectural vistas and haunting acoustics. Unforgettable.

The RMG: What is your first memory of art?

Leslie: I’d have to say music. My father is a musical conductor and I grew up watching him wave his arms at choirs, bands, and theatre groups. There are photos in my parents’ home of my sister and I toddling around a stage at his feet.

The RMG: What is the one thing you want to share with people about the RMG?

Leslie: The Art Lab residency program through Gallery A is such a golden, professional development opportunity for artists. It’s FREE, very straight forward to apply, and once you’re here, setting up studio visits and an artist talk provides invaluable exposure.