The Intern Files: Tara Mazurk

The Intern Files is an ongoing series of blog posts written by RMG Interns. Tara Mazurk is a third-year Arts Management Student at the University of Toronto.

There’s satisfaction in assisting the RMG in endeavors which build the local community, support artistic practice across Canada, and provide a pedagogical forum for learning and engagement. As the Communications and Events Assistant, I’ve had the opportunity to coordinate artists for RMG Exposed 2012 and progress the development of the RMG’s volunteer program.

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The auction at RMG Exposed 2012

 

With RMG Exposed, I was charged with the task of coordinating incoming submissions, creating a comprehensive database, and acting as a liaison between artists and RMG.  Ultimately, the objective was to create a system which was easily accessible internally, and enhanced communication between parties. I was quick to realize the benefits of this project, both as educational experience and within a broader context.
Currently an undergraduate student in Arts Management, the RMG has been wonderful in giving me a breadth of experience in database management, fundraising and development, and in artistic programming. To coordinate selections for a charitable auction allowed me to realize not only the funding impact for the RMG, but also the indispensable relationship between artist and organization. Those who had submitted work for jury came from various locations across Canada and thus various social, cultural, and educational backgrounds; some selected artists had previously no exhibition experience. This values the placement of emerging artists within an institutional framework, and provides a new forum for discussion, display, and career development.

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Guests check out works to be auctioned at RMG Exposed 2012

 

No stranger to the professional development acquired through volunteering, I had approached the RMG with an eagerness to learn and inherent support of their values and initiatives. Of course, it was in my natural interest to outreach to new volunteers and to align administration of the volunteer program with the RMG’s Strategic Plan. My responsibilities included researching the various venues to which we could reach interested participants. As an extension of internal operations, I helped create a volunteer database which is accessible and easily filtered for volunteer interests, availability, and current status. The RMG’s volunteer resources are invaluable; and we are currently enhancing the portfolio to provide methods for internal evaluation. At the core of everything, this provides a fitting experience and inviting atmosphere to those who are crucial in building and engaging our community.

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Tara (left) and another volunteer clowning around at RMG Fridays August 2012

 

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The Results are in! Making History: Youth Art & Writing Contest

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

The Making History: Youth Art & Writing Contest gave young writers and artists creative freedom to express what their community’s history means to them. Youth were asked to submit an art or writing project that was inspired by a photograph in the Thomas Bouckley Collection. I was thrilled with the diverse responses! Seven submissions were chosen to be included in a small exhibition in the RMG’s Windfield Lounge.

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Courtney Dianard Departure 2012

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Military fathers with their children, 1939

The five poems/short stories and 2 paintings appear next to the relevant photograph from the collection. The viewer sees the historical photograph in a new way—reinterpreting it based on the students’ creative expression. Congratulations to the winners Courtney Dainard, for the Best Overall Art prize, and Tara Zammit, for the Best Overall Writing prize. Courtney’s painting of a young girl’s sorrow at her father’s departure for war reminds us of the many children who experienced this feeling throughout our community’s history. And Tara’s poem, Open Your Ears, fills the piano room at Bishop Bethune College with joy and music.

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Piano Practice, Bishop Bethune College c. 1925

Open Your Ears

Dance little tune,

Fly about the room,

Capture my soul like soup on a spoon.

Piano erupt,

Let my ears indulge,

Open them to something some never love.

But I do, yes I do!

Brother, let me preach,

For the passion in the soul is something one cannot teach.

Let the curtains billow and whisper

As the wind whips around,

Let them join in the creation of this marvelous sound.

Old books line the shelves,

Collecting memories and dust,

Unveiling secrets of history, music and lust.

It’s too much for us!

The dull mind cannot bear

All the beauty, the joy

All the strife, all the cares.

Let the pictures be an audience.

Placid faces stay calm,

Though the spirits inside dance as if they still shone.

In my white blouse and navy,

I sing sweetly along.

On a stool by the piano

Is where I belong.

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The exhibition Making History on view until March 3, 2013. The historical images come alive with different interpretive narratives—giving new meaning to Oshawa’s past.

The Curator’s View: Blockbusters

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

One of my colleagues at the gallery, forwarded the following quote to me:

people who favour these shows [blockbusters] are like people who prefer to see cut flowers arranged in rooms rather than go out into the garden and see what is growing there.

Why then are people still so attracted to only seeing cut flowers?

I visited two blockbuster exhibitions this past summer: Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris at the Art Gallery of Ontario and Van Gogh: Up Close at the National Gallery of Canada, and, just a few weeks ago, Frida and Diego: Passion, Politics, and Painting at the AGO. I had heard negative things about the Picasso exhibition, and, having gone to the Musée National Picasso in Paris many years ago, I understood those comments. What was “left” in Picasso’s estate was a lot of experimental work and some work, let’s be honest, that he couldn’t sell.

But the gallery was packed, of course; the name, being the primary draw. One of the best things about working in an art gallery is that, when I arrive early, I’m almost alone in the building—I can hear Ralph’s vacuum running somewhere… I get to experience the works of art alone, taking as much or as little time as I want. So, the crowds in blockbusters can make me grumpy.

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Pablo Picasso, Portrait of Dora Maar, 1937

I prepare myself for the swarm of people and look for the positive takeaway. In the case of Picasso, there were some superb mixed-media wall sculptures: cubism in 3D that I hadn’t really been expecting. There were also some really beautiful personal drawings.

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Vincent van Gogh, Giant Peacock Moth, 1889

Van Gogh, if possible, was even more crowded. There are advantages to being 5’11”, and seeing work over the top of people’s heads is one of them. I think I would have missed half of the exhibition if I were shorter. But the work was simply beautiful. Not the Doctor Gachet and vase fulls of sunflowers, or self-portraits with bandaged ears that people think of when they think of Van Gogh—but stunning landscapes and close cropped studies of nature. I love looking at how exhibitions like these are installed: butter yellow walls in one room and a light blue/grey wall in another; immaculate labeling—what more could one ask for? (Other than fewer people, of course!)

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Frida Kahlo, Self Portrait with Monkeys, 1947

The Frida and Diego exhibition was a Saturday excursion—with a week and a half left before the close of the exhibition, I didn’t have much choice. In this case, our 19 year old son joined us and watching him experience the work of these two Mexican artists and talking to him about his thoughts, brought an added dimension to this blockbuster. Kahlo’s work is beautifully detailed and trying to spend any amount of time in front of one work is challenging, to say the least, however, even a minute in front of these masterpieces is certainly worth it.

Leaving Van Gogh, we wandered into the exhibition Arnaud Maggs: Identification. A handful of people looking at the work of one of the country’s important senior artists (who passed away before Christmas): the recent recipient of the prestigious Scotiabank Photography Award and Governor General Award winner. Better numbers than the AGO, where we were the only ones in the beautifully curated, albeit smaller, exhibition of internationally renowned artist Michael Snow’s sculpture entitled: Objects of Vision. We were also almost completely on our own in the AGO’s Evan Penny: Re Figured exhibition that we spent time in after Frida and Diego (this third important senior Canadian artist was also new to our son, so spending quality time with the work was a bonus).

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Artist Evan Penny and Arial #2, 2006. (c) Evan Penny 2012

Will those who prefer cut flowers ever wander into the garden to look at the flowers in depth and take in the work of Maggs, Snow, and Penny? Isn’t that what presenting exhibitions like Van Gogh, Picasso, and Frida and Diego is supposed to foster—gallery goers who want to go beyond the blockbuster? The AGO and NGC did an admirable job of linking up three senior Canadian artists against four famous international ones. Now to get the crowds smelling the flowers from the garden, as well as the vase.

The RMG’s Juried Gig Poster Show Coming May 2013

By Kyle Kornic, RMG Public Relations Intern, Winter 2013

It is easy to miss a poster on a lamppost. With all the hustle and bustle of city life, it’s hard to stop and take in the beauty of something as simple as a piece of paper advertising a local concert. However, if the time is taken to stop and admire a simple poster, the average person can discover a work of art.

Welcome to the world of music-concert posters, or as it is more commonly known: “Gig Posters”. It all began in the 1950s and 60s when posters were the cheapest and most effective way to advertise upcoming concerts. To catch the public’s eye, the posters were designed by artists to be visually captivating and unique. When they began to disappear from the streets concert promoters quickly realized that there was a market for the posters and began to sell them at the concerts. In time this phenomenon grew and different styles of gig posters began to emerge in the music scene.

Fast-forward to present day, through the hardships that the music industry has faced, to the almost-complete digitizing of music through online stores such as iTunes, to the resurgence of vinyl records, one thing is certain; fans want something they can hold. A quick internet search reveals hundreds of artists with thousands of gig posters available to view or purchase, clearly the culture is still strong, if not stronger than ever. Bedrooms, apartments, and houses across the world have their walls adorned with priceless pieces of art created out of pure love for not only art, but also music.

The formats may change, the music might evolve, but passion never dies. Because of this, artists will continue to create visual masterpieces to adorn lampposts, bulletin boards, and the walls everywhere. To see some great examples of these posters visit www.gigposters.com or visit The Robert McLaughlin Gallery on Friday 3 May, 2013 for the 2nd annual Juried Gig Poster Show.

Interested in submitting a poster? Click here to learn more.

Stay up to date on the event by connecting to the Facebook Event Page.

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Gig poster by Michal Majewski, the artist who inspired the creation of this event series.