Interview with Art Lab artist Jessica Field

Jessica Field is our Art Lab artist in residence from April 25 until July 10. During her residency in the Art Lab, Jessica Field will be experimenting with relational aesthetics and drawing to create a body of work that focuses on the influences that technology and science have on the way people socially develop their identities. Through her performance research, she will be creating fictional spaces and developing relational encounters with participants to create maps of how they relate to technology and science and attempt to place how their subjective values and feelings are connected. Most of Field’s works are parodies on the scientific methods, gender issues and the tension between subjective values, feelings, prestige and how these function in the technological complexity of our current culture. We sat down with Jessica to learn more about what she has been up to in the Art Lab…

The RMG: Hi Jessica! Please tell us a little about yourself.

Jessica Field: I am an artist who has lived in the Durham region for most of my life. Growing up in Pickering and then starting my own family here in Oshawa. I am a very curious person who enjoys spending an exorbitant amount of time trying to answer big questions. I am most fascinated by human nature in how complicated we are, on one hand we can be very dismissive and selfish, yet vulnerable but we have the capacity to choose to be very empathetic, imaginative and offer a safe unbiased space for others depending on how life is effecting us.

Jessica Field

Jessica Field in the Art Lab. Photo by Lucy Villeneuve.

RMG: Why did you apply to the Art Lab artist in residence program?

JF: I applied to the Art Lab to experiment with new materials and interact with the public to create interesting conversations and learn more about how we are programmed. I am also very interested in doing research in the RMG’s library and with the collection to assist in informing my work. I am also very excited about working in a large gallery to be inspired by a space designed for exhibiting work and becoming more involved with the Oshawa art community.

RMG: What will you be creating during your residency? What can visitors expect to find in the Art Lab or during one of your performance events?

JF: I will be creating a series of drawings that will attempt to grapple the impossible question of “how we are programmed.” Visitors can expect to see a room full of large format drawings that address these questions. In the coming weeks, there will be glass markers and chalk available for visitors to contribute their impressions of the drawings in the studio. Any visitor will be very welcome to interrupt my work and offer their insights into this impossible question of “how we are programmed” as these interactions are a crucial part of my residency. In this upcoming month, my focus is in the collection of information. Then the work will become about editing and fine tuning the drawing content, this is a space for visitors to enjoy viewing complicated maps and moving or adding their interpretation of what these drawn landscapes could represent.

RMG: Tell us a bit more about your artist workshop on June 12. What will students learn?

JF: The workshop on June 12 will be offering a technique for students to use to help them learn about creating systems and see how a system or methodology can eliminate such creative challenges as creative blocks, the stress of how strong an idea is and to find methods of expanding a personalized idea into something that becomes larger than the person who imagined it in the first place. The strategy of the workshop focuses on utilizing the student’s imagination, ability to empathize and drawing attention to the importance of developing impartial judgment. These values allow people to think in larger terms then their individual selves and thus learn an ability to create artworks that speak to the larger picture of what life is all about which is something everyone has invested interest in understanding on some level. The workshop will offer an activity to help students engage in this space to find their own important contribution to this large discourse that others will value and have the added effect of enriching their own creative goals and interests.

Photo by Lucy Villeneuve

Photo by Lucy Villeneuve

RMG: In a nutshell… what is “relational aesthetics” and how does this principle impact your practice?

JF: Relational aesthetics is rooted in a dissatisfaction in the art market where art is bought and sold. Those who work in this practice are really focused on the experience of art, the experience of seeing something that has qualitative value and can be enriching to a persons life whether this is an experience of awe, revelation or a strong emotional experience that becomes a lasting memory. The art as an object is always in danger of being superficialized by popularity or become convoluted and intimidating by our stress of how the art institution values the work.

Relational aesthetics is an attempt to bring a genuine and meaningful experience between the artist and the viewer where the viewer becomes a collaborator in the experience of the work and integral to its validity. There is an equitable exchange between the artist and viewer where the viewer in their participation receives an experience of value that they should feel compelled to cherish and the artist is given material to assist in creating a project that is larger than themselves and not limited by their personal biases and experience.

The use of relational aesthetics in my project is an honest art practice that can allow me to grapple an impossible topic like “how are you programmed.” I can set up a performance which is really a collaborative exercise with the people who wish to participate and in these actions we carry out together. The objective is to really become aware of human diversity and celebrate these differences as being something valuable and important rather than peculiar or unusual. This creates a space for people to feel comfortable with enjoying the pleasure of imagination, empathy and impartial judgment in a safe space to do so which is my responsibility in executing the performance.

drawing

Jessica Field. Photo by Lucy Villeneuve.

RMG: What inspires you? Is there a particular artist’s work that has inspired your practice?

JF: I have many references that inspire me and my inspirations are always changing and are very fluid. For this residency, I am focused on Yoko Uno’s drawings and instructions from the RMG library, the pilgrimage drawings mapping the roads of life, illustrations of human life created by Christian artists in the 1800s, the Zen Ox herding drawings, and the youTube channel the School of Life. In looking at these very diverse sources, I hope to find commonalities and create maps and flow diagrams. I am also very curious in receiving input from the public on how they relate to these maps and will hopefully offer insight into what this landscape could look like.

 

Interview with ArtLab Artist Sally Thurlow

Sally Thurlow is our Gallery A ArtLab Artist in Residence from March 2 to 27. During her residency, she will be working on a series of sculptures and paintings exploring subconscious themes on major change, dislocation, and relocation which have personal meaning and may also relate to the universal, continuing, and recurring theme that refugees are always on the move. However, this project is only just getting underway, so it is open to huge change…

In an earlier Reclamation sculptural series she stated “Memory is embedded, the process of ageing ennobles. From being tossed away or lost, then washed up, then recovered and restored to dignity and purpose, these driftwood forms represent a deeply human longing for reclamation. Like us, they are simply travellers through time, looking for meaning. How have we come here? How do we react to our environment?” Her attention now is more toward envisioning forms that speak of intense emotional states – making visible the invisible, allowing for new possibilities. She has moved from placing her figures to blend into the environment to making them stand out. Consequently, Thurlow started working with paints, stains, and manufactured additions to her figures. Here she will be working on the second sculpture of a trio.

As a member of the IRIS Group, Thurlow’s residency in the ArtLab is completed in conjunction with the Gallery A exhibition IRIS at 20. We sat down with Sally to learn more about what she has been up to during her residency.

The RMG: Hi Sally! Please tell us a bit about yourself?

Sally Thurlow: I was born and raised in Toronto but moved to the lakeshore of Newcastle 30 years ago with my young family and now live by the Whitby lakeshore. Observing daily such a great body of water has been very influential on my life and work. I received my BA majoring in Fine Arts from U of T in 1999 finishing at Trent U for some Environmental Science and Cultural Studies courses, also very influential, plus earlier significant studies at OCA. In 2006 the RMG gave me my first solo show called Canoe Dreamings and helped me get it to travel to five other galleries in Ontario. The Ontario Arts Council awards were very helpful for this exhibition from a starting boost to crating expenses for shipping. I have been fortunate to be part of the Iris Group in Durham Region and The Red Head Gallery in Toronto. Both are great groups of artists to collaborate with. I have since had solo shows at The Visual Arts Centre in Bowmanville and The Red Head Gallery, and have been involved in many group shows. I am very pleased that the RMG now has one of my works in their permanent collection.

studio set up

Sally Thurlow: Day 1…where I started from, a pruned and stained evergreen,
fresh cut cedar branches

RMG: Why were you interested in Gallery A’s Art Lab residency? What will you be making while working as an artist in residence?

ST: I thought it would be interesting to see and hear the flow of visitors through The Iris Group’s Iris at 20 anniversary show while I worked around the corner. I enjoy engaging with people about all the work and if they come in to the studio space, we can talk about my process and some may even critique it. Beyond this, the RMG is a great gallery to work in.

I decided I would work on a sculptural piece that I hope will be going in to the Bluseed Studio Gallery in Saranac Lake – a 5 person show curated by Margaret Rodgers, former Visual Arts Centre curator and director, and Iris Group founder/member. Also it will be part of my Red Head Gallery show in September. At my own studio I am presently beginning to paint again and I wanted to separate the painting from my messy sculptural process but I have had to bring it home a couple of times when I needed to use stains or to clamp it in my vice for intricate work. It is a sculpture that is intended to relate to two other sculptures.

studio work

Sally Thurlow: Day 3 …pruning branches… still more pruning to do

RMG: What materials do you work in?

ST: I work in a multi-disciplinary way to make the work in whatever way I feel suits, using whatever kind of materials relate to the work. For this sculpture I will be using a discarded Christmas tree trunk which I had already worked on for another idea but have decided it could be better used for my present idea. Also, freshly cut cedar branches (from my hedge) that I am denuding of the cedar greenery and I am steaming, staining, and attaching to this tree in a particular form which has already been viewed as insect-like because of the way I have pruned the branches bringing out innate equivalences between all living things.

bending branches

Sally Thurlow: Day 4 …bending branches after soaking them in very hot water

RMG: Can you please tell us a bit about your artwork in IRIS at 20, on view in Gallery A?

ST: This exhibition is highlighting numerous “souvenirs” which women have offered over 20 years of International Women’s Day events we have held in various community places. The artists have each chosen a souvenir to respond to and since I had given a little extra paper canoe from my solo Canoe Dreamings show, and had shown this fibreglass vessel earlier empty, I decided to show it with my new work in it. The environment, and a sense of responsibility to its well-being has been a constant part of my life, and art-practice. Since I have long been exploring the dynamic range of natural shapes using driftwood, I spend considerable time on beaches and they all have plastic debris. While I pick driftwood, I pick garbage. Other life forms are also attracted to these appealing colours and forms, ingesting the broken down bits and absorbing their poisons. Within this illuminated translucent boat form, its lacy edges mimicking the frothy tide, the plastic debris placed inside may simply remind us of pretty kaleidoscope bits. But in a personal narrative written on disposable plastic wrap (part of the dilemma), I question our cultural and environmental practices reflected in our exploding throw-away societies. The abundance of plastic bits in my vessel functions to partially obscure the message just as the monstrous plastics problem is partially hidden by being out in the middle of the oceans, even though some of these giros of plastic are twice the size of Texas. They are often brought there by enormous container vessels.

cutting branches

Sally Thurlow: Day 7 …having cut the trunk in segments and drilled into each to fit a dowel

RMG: What inspires you? Is there a particular artist’s work that has influenced your practice?

ST: Walking beaches, experiencing life and death in the raw, the power of the water, what it hides and exposes, my children… so much inspiration. There are many artists whose work I admire. I grew up across the road from Elizabeth Wynwood Hahn and her husband Emanuel Hahn – both important Canadian sculptors whose work can be found at the AGO, the National, other galleries and in public places. Elizabeth wrote “Sculptural form is not the imitation of natural form any more than poetry is the imitation of natural conversation… It is the juxtaposition of masses in space,… a clarification of experience.” That speaks to me as my work comes from my gut, my experiences. Louise Bourgeois, Andy Goldsworthy, Betty Goodwin, Jenny Holzer, Anselm Kiefer, Suzy Lake, Gerhard Richter, and many more, all have such different, brilliant artistic expressions that I admire.

branch

Sally Thurlow: Day 9 …branches stained and inserted, shortened branches to spikes, still lots to do, mostly details

 

Artist Biography:

Sally Thurlow is a multidisciplinary artist based in Greater Toronto. For some years she has been exploring the dynamic range of figurative forms using driftwood, within a wide range of other media. The questioning of our cultural and environmental practices is a constant focus of her work. She holds a BA in Fine Arts from the University of Toronto, with courses in Cultural and Environmental Studies at Trent University and significant earlier studies at OCA. She has given numerous artist talks and workshops at educational institutions and public galleries.

Her work has been shown internationally and she has been the recipient of various Ontario Arts Council awards. She is a member of the IRIS Group and the Red Head Gallery artists’ collectives. Her work is held in private collections across Canada, and at The Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa, Ontario.

For more information please visit sallythurlow.com

Interview with Janice E. McHaffie, Gallery A Artist in Residence

Janice E. McHaffie is our Gallery A ArtLab artist is residence from From January 5 – February 28. Prior to her artist talk on February 7, we sat down with Janice to learn more about her work and what she has been up to during her residency.

RMG: Hi Janice! Please tell us about yourself?

JM: I am an artist from Claremont. I have about 16 years of university level art specific training including 5 years fine arts at Durham College and a year at OCAD. Having started with stone carving at the University of Guelph in the early 1970’s, my work has progressed and metamorphosed into an eclectic range of paintings with hundreds of them in public and private collections around the world. I am also the Youth Liaison for Pineridge Arts Council, Pickering.

 

RMG: What materials do you work with?

JM: While at The RMG I will be working with acrylic ink, acrylic paint, acrylic gels and mediums, watercolour papers canvas board and stretched canvas. I will also be sculpting from whatever moves me at the time to work with.

Janice McHaffie

Janice McHaffie

RMG: Why were you interested in Gallery A’s Art Lab residency? What have you made while working as an artist in residence/ what will you be working on during your residency?

JM: I was interested in the residency in Gallery A because I wanted to interact with the public while creating and wanted to invite them to actively participate with the theme and two art projects. So far, I have only created three small canvas works and some ink on yupo.  By February 25 (closing ceremony 7-9pm) I will have filled all the walls in Gallery A with paintings. I will also have created 2 collages and a sculpture. I am hoping to have close to 100 small paintings done by that date.

 

RMG: Can you please tell us a bit about your exhibition on view in Gallery A or what you intend to create for the viewer?

JM: The paintings on view in Gallery A and everything I create while I am there is following my theme of Dying and Death. I will be opening the floor to talk about these topics, hopefully helping people to converse in an easier format through the visual aid of the artwork.

painting

Janice McHaffie

RMG: What inspires you? Is there a particular artist’s work that has influenced your practice?

JM: What inspires me is everything and everyone who passes through my life, from what others perceive as the profound to the mundane. Children affect me most with their boundless energy and creative inquisitiveness. I love how they just spit out what they are thinking. Coincidentally that is exactly how I am. Artists who have inspired me include Auguste Rodin since I started with stone sculpture, and my initial paintings were inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe. Now I just paint what comes out of me. My work is always about texture and the layers of life, I have been called the “texture queen” for years, and I guess they have a point : ). Every day is an adventure to me and at the RMG. I get to share the adventure with all of you!

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 lmenagh@rmg.on.ca or 905.576.3000 ext. 108

Conversation Pieces by Ramune Luminaire and Judith Mason

Since 2011 Ramune Luminaire and Judith A. Mason have been working on a series of collaborative drawings that explore experiences of relationship through mark-making.  Through a series of non-verbal exchanges, each artist takes their turn adding to what is on the paper. In time a composite image emerges; a visual dialogue of call and response.  The work organically grows into an art object, a visual text, saturated with traces of exchange, intuition, growth, development, collapse and re-development.

Extensions of this project have included staging the Conversation Pieces Café at Artspace in Peterborough, where artists were invited to work on several large collaborative pieces.  Luminaire & Mason see this as a potential model for building healthier personal and community relationships, a model requiring interdependence, not self-sufficiency.  Luminaire & Mason also facilitated workshops at RMG Culture Days in 2013 and 2014, inviting members of the pubic to converse on paper, co-creating mini-artworks in silence.

During the month of May Luminaire & Mason were the artists in residence in the RMG’s Art Lab. Their proposal was to create artwork in conversation with pieces from the gallery’s permanent collection. They selected works from the Go Figure exhibition. Below are extracts from the journal of their process.

Image above: Conversations #1 & 2, Ramune Luminaire & Judith A. Mason, mixed media on paper

Ramune: how do I have a conversation with an existing, completed, piece of work? By Morrisseau, an artist I love and admire?

Sacred Journey, Norval Morrisseau, 1977

Sacred Journey, Norval Morrisseau, 1977

 

Take my paper up to the gallery – blissfully silent, I am alone. Sit in front of the picture and meditate for 10 minutes, then open my eyes and just look at it for 10 minutes, breathing it in. My hand starts drawing a vessel, then I put in a shape familiar to me, the way I draw spirits in my journal. Two more figures and I realize I have drawn my mother, who died on Good Friday. The others in the boat are her (now dead) father and grandfather. I am drawing her journey into the afterlife. The bird is her totem animal, the snake a thing she feared. Decide to use Morrisseau’s colours and technique of framing each segment of the image in black paint. Makes me cry.

Nika’s Journey, Ramune Luminaire, 2105

Nika’s Journey, Ramune Luminaire, 2105

 

Judith:  Where to start?  Start with what is familiar.  Follow my hands, intuitions, thoughts – suspend judgement – no beginning, no end….. 

A. Y. Jackson, Indian Home (1927)

A. Y. Jackson, Indian Home (1927)

 

I once copied a drawing of  A.Y. Jackson’s – a pencil sketch of dog team.  What I remember about my drawing was my father’s excitement about how well I had copied it.  My father, a good place to start.  I chose Jackson’s Indian Home, (1927) as my first conversation. I use three sheets of paper – a triptych.  I begin by drawing a house, my Cape Breton summer home, not unlike the house in Jackson’s painting.  I remember the gentle rolling hills, the sea, the wind, Island storms – Island weather.   I draw the pond just below the house, the fire pit, the sound of the nearby poplars, the apple tree, the sharp needled hawthorn that supported my clothes line, the large maple trimmed to allow for the hydro line.  I draw from memory across three sheets of paper, bits and pieces, scattered here and there, without applying the proper rules of perspective.  My memory is scattered, it flints about, hardy landing before jumping to the next. 

Judith A. Mason, Response to A. Y. Jackson, pastel on paper 2015

Judith A. Mason, Response to A. Y. Jackson, pastel on paper 2015

I go back to Jackson.  I scan, then, study, his landscape.  I look at the colorful and shapely vegetation, the crudely painted pine trees, the clouds, the wind, the buildings, and finally the three figures standing outside their home. 

I mix up the order of my triptych.  Then, on top of my chalk pastel landscape I paint out areas in black, break the scape, make abstract what began as representation, create dead areas, deep space.

I look again at Jackson’s painting.  What is interesting here?  Can I honestly say, not “the Canadian landscape”?  That strange preoccupation has ever interested me. I am much more interested in the inner world – a place of relationships – the world of feelings, emotions, sensations, connection.  My eyes settle on the small figures caught in the all-encompassing landscape – is this a mother with her two children?

My eye is drawn to these three figures.  I draw them on two sheets of my disordered triptych, on the surface of my blacked out and coloured pastel abstract – immediately the abstracted landscape becomes a home and a family.  But who’s that lurking in the bushes, in the vegetation out front?  On the third sheet of paper I draw a window blind.

I begin a sketch of a section of the painting, getting to know all its relationships every curve, shape, form, mass.  My eyes fluctuate back and forth between the positive and negative.  I need to know both spaces in order to get this drawing right.  I need the dark and the light.

Judith Mason, Response to A.Y. Jackson2015, pastel and acrylic on paper

Judith Mason, Response to A.Y. Jackson2015, pastel and acrylic on paper

Ramune: I decide to work with Suzy Lake’s photographic piece because I really don’t like it, it makes me angry.

Impositions Maquette, Suzy Lake, 1978

Impositions Maquette, Suzy Lake, 1978

These photos are too calm, not enough struggle, she’s not really trying to get free. Even the graphite bindings Lake’s drawn on the prints look weak. You want to feel bound? I’ll show you how that looks. I make a gel medium transfer of one of Lake’s figures onto my page and scribble it solid. Her images are extended upward, mine becomes a column. A structure that’s preventing the women bound to it from moving forward. Nice girl trying to free herself. Even angrier, I keep working and my image becomes a frenzy of energy. If I draw myself free, can I extend the gesture to Lake?

Ramune Luminaire, Response to Suzy Lake, mixed media on paper, 2015

Ramune Luminaire, Response to Suzy Lake, mixed media on paper, 2015

Judith: I have been looking at both the Georgia O’Keefe photograph and the large blue painting of the young woman on the staircase.

Ramune: I find this portrait compelling.

Kevin Wolff, Shoes, 1995, acrylic on canvas

Kevin Wolff, Shoes, 1995, acrylic on canvas

It’s a portrait of an activist for people with disabilities. He’s wearing a built-up shoe. I just bought a pair of sandals to wear to a wedding with platforms that are almost identical, but I wear mine in an effort to look more beautiful. They are my first response to Wolff’s image – to draw my own leg in the wedding platform. I won’t work from a photo as I think it deadens the image. Why didn’t this artist just exhibit the photo? I’m never sure about the point of photo realism. One leg drawn, who else am I? A lot more than the woman in the debilitating girlie shoe… I find the boots I bought when I first went to art school. I wore them with a mini skirt because I thought that would make me look like a real artist. Then they became my sculpture studio boots. Now they’re my motor bike boots. The leg wearing them looks entirely different – more masculine. When I look at Wolff’s laces I realize he’s photographed his subject’s feet upside down. Why? Now I have to work from a photo, not the real thing. Feels so different, but I love who I am when I see the finished image. Wonder if Wolff’s portrait made his subject love himself more.

Ramune Luminaire’s feet, pastel on paper, 2015

Ramune Luminaire’s feet, pastel on paper, 2015

 

Judith: I find myself working with these two images simultaneously.

Shaun Downey (2013)   

Shaun Downey (2013) Large blue painting of a young girl descending the staircase at the Drake Hotel in Toronto.

Photograph of Georgia O’Keefe in her studio

Photograph of Georgia O’Keefe in her studio

I paint two paintings on the 3 ft X 3 ft canvases I brought into the studio.  Each of my paintings relate to one of these artworks.  A gift has been bestowed.  I step out of the way.

One painting is a modernist abstraction that I might call ‘a copy’ though it’s not a copy in the sense that I copied it. It’s a modernist looking painting.  And it is now that I realize there is an uncanny relationship between photography (the O’Keefe photograph) and modernist painting (the one I am painting).  It is a relationship between the flatness of the photographic image and the flatness of modernist abstraction painting.  I wonder if twentieth century modernist abstraction is the bastard child of design and photography?

I look at Georgia sitting in that seemly dark room accompanied by two large organic objects.  I want a make her and these two objects out of clay?  I begin to sculpt them.  There are obstacles.  I am looking at a two-dimensional photograph and sculpting a three-dimensional object.  There are missing bits of information; the object I am forming is not fully formed.  I remember Rodin’s Gates of Hell, I think about reliefs – as objects in the midst of transformation.  As Hannah Arendt suggests, as objects manifesting.

I look again at the photograph and decide to fold black paper back and forth like a fan. This gesture leads me to the image of an old fashioned camera – of her husband’s camera?  I decide to make an old-fashioned camera out of board, paper and masking tape.  I want to place the three sculptural forms inside the camera.  I want to place her inside the camera.   My whole life feels as if I am living inside a camera.  As a woman I live a life under constant scrutiny.  Even if no one is still watching, I am watching myself.

Make ten large old-fashioned cameras.   Set up the space inside each camera as an interior room in a house.  In each room place a woman with objects from her life. 

We are all living inside a camera.  Surveillance and Servitude.  A future exhibition.

Keep moving…..

The girl stands on the landing in the stairway casting a shadow on the wall.  I only notice the shadow after days of looking at the painting.  She looks like a cut out, a paper doll, a childhood activity I loved as a young girl.  On holidays, buying a book of paper dolls.  The delight of following the bold black lines with my scissors, first the dolls, then the clothes, each outfit complete with folding tabs. 

I go up to the exhibition and look at the painting again.  I am interested in the shadow.  I begin to paint the young woman with her shadow on my abstract ground.  Then a third figure appears, this one unclothed, raw and vulnerable. Then, I think about painting her out of her dress, leaving her dress suspended in air, having her standing naked beside it.  

The conversations stop, the residency is over.

Judith Mason, Three Dancers, acrylic 

Judith Mason, Three Dancers, acrylic

Judith Mason, Abstract O’Keefe, acrylic

Judith Mason, Abstract O’Keefe, acrylic

 

For more information:

www.ramuneluminaire.com

judithamason@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

Saskatoon artists collect stories from downtown

Officeofidentity

These images are from the The Office of Identity Collection project staged in Regina SK in the spring of 2009 and exhibited at The Art Gallery of Regina in the fall of 2010. 

The photograph is from the Citizenship ceremony and celebration; the painting in 10’ x 10’  digital imaging/acrylic/Canvas by mixed media artist Heather Cline.

 

article via Oshawa Express

 

By Jacquie Severs/Columnist

Artists in residence programs offer other artists and communities an opportunity to interact and collaborate. One popular format is for a gallery to offer an artist the chance to live and work in their town for a set period of time, supporting the venture with funding. This grants the artist the opportunity to work on their art free from ongoing financial worries, providing focus on their art practice.

In return, artists often run workshops and provide a window to the community into their art practice. Usually there is an exhibition at the end of the year of the art created. Artist in residence programs are not limited to fine arts however, and can also involve writers, architects, dance, design and more.

Residency programs are not a new phenomenon. Examples date back to the early 1900s. One Canadian example includes a variety of programs from Parks Canada. At one location, the program allows an artist to spend six weeks in Gros Morne National Park, exploring, photographing, sketching and participating in the park’s interpretive program. The program is designed to help connect people and the park through the arts as well as to draw attention to Gros Morne. Through artists’ participation, Parks Canada hopes to expand the way the park is seen by local residents, staff, visitors and audiences beyond park boundaries.

Kitchener, Ontario created Canada’s first municipal Artist-in-Residence program in Canada in 1995. The year-long program encourages conversation between artists and Kitchener residents and visitors, supports artistic innovation in contemporary art and offers workshops in neighbourhood community centres, lectures in the City Hall and exhibits in partnership with other agencies. One month of the residency year is reserved for the artist to use Kitchener City Hall’s Rotunda Gallery for exhibition.

The RMG is working with Saskatoon artist Heather Cline assisted by Michele Sereda from October 24 to 29 in a project called “The Office of Identity Collects.”

This project involves the artist taking up residence in a downtown Oshawa storefront located at 16 King Street East and recreating the atmosphere of a government passport office from the 1950s.

[googlemaps https://maps.google.ca/maps?q=16+King+Street+East+Oshawa&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=16+King+St+E,+Oshawa,+Ontario+L1H+1A9&gl=ca&t=m&vpsrc=0&ll=43.897769,-78.862867&spn=0.018554,0.025749&z=14&iwloc=A&output=embed&w=300&h=300]

 

“Passport” photos will be taken of participants and interviews conducted asking people for stories about the downtown Oshawa area. After the artists have collected material, the artist will combine it with images sourced from the RMG’s Thomas Bouckley collection of historical photographs.

Then the artist will return to Saskatoon to paint a series of works specific to our city and the stories collected.

The work created will then be shown in an exhibition at the RMG from Sept. 1 to Oct. 28, 2012.

Be sure to visit the pop-up office downtown at 16 King Street East from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. from October 24 to 28 to participate in this artist in residence program. Those who visit will be asked back to the location on Saturday, October 29, where a “Citizenship Ceremony” will be held and each participant will be given a “Passport” which is a small woodblock print of King Street.

This unique project provides an opportunity to have fun, connect with artists and build on the existing history of downtown Oshawa.