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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: csinclair@rmg.on.ca
Phone: 905-576-3000 x106

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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 http://www.rmg.on.ca/mindful-manipulation-tbc.php

 

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

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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

 

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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

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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.

 

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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 sjones@rmg.on.ca

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

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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