Local artist Margaret Rodgers has created a new body of work as an extension of her ongoing interest in Oshawa’s heritage. Using photographs from the Thomas Bouckley Collection as a jumping off point, Rodgers has created a series of mixed media works that ask the viewer to take a closer look at scenes from Oshawa’s history.
Rodgers places a spotlight on captured moments of figures that are otherwise easily overlooked in these photographs. The act of featuring these people in her work is a subversion of the original intent of the photographer, but allows the viewer to look at the image in a new way. Rodgers deals with incidental images, often grainy or blurry, but those that are suggestive of daily life at the time. Most of the mixed media work centers on bystanders from various historical Oshawa events, calling up the manner in which we all become background strangers captured in other people’s photographs at one time or another. The works featured in Closeups are displayed using recovered jewelry trays from the basement at 20 Simcoe Street North, a building formerly owned by Burns Jewellers and further referencing Oshawa’s past.
Margaret Rodgers is an Oshawa-based artist who has exhibited internationally and locally for many years. She founded the IRIS Group, a women artists’ collective, in 1996, taught art subjects at Centennial and Durham Colleges, and spearheaded many projects as Director/Curator at VAC Clarington.