Oshawa Cultural Summit

Under the theme of Creative Spaces, this year’s annual Cultural Summit is an opportunity to share ideas, learn about what’s going on and celebrate culture in Oshawa!

Highlights Include:

  • Keynote speaker: Tim Potocic, Director – Hamilton Supercrawl!
  • Community presentations:
    • Laura Suchan, Executive Director, Oshawa Community Museum + Dr. Helen Haines,  Assistant Professor Department of Anthropology , Trent University Durham discuss their recent archeological project partnership at the museum.
    • Donna Raetsen-Kemp, CEO, The Robert McLaughlin Gallery and Gallery A artist (TBC) presents the newly renovated community gallery space at RMG.
    • Filmmaker Carla Sinclair,  explores LGBT culture in her recent documentary Heal Myself.
  • The City of Oshawa will present on Culture Counts:Oshawa’s Arts, Culture & Heritage Plan and 2015 achievements.
  • Special performance to be announced shortly!
  • Refreshments and Networking Opportunity!

Visit the Cultural Summit webpage for more information: www.oshawa.ca/culturalsummit

Have a question? Please ask! Send an email to culturecounts@oshawa.ca

WHEN
Thursday, October 22, 2015 from 7:00 PM to 9:30 PM

WHERE
Arts Resource Centre – 45 Queen Street Oshawa, Ontario CA

TICKETS
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/oshawa-cultural-summit-tickets-18977026798

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Boxing: The Sweet Science

Entering the ring at the RMG just in time for the Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games is an exhibit that is sure to be a knockout.

Boxing is a metaphor for life, filled with battles lost and won. In Boxing: The Sweet Science, curator Linda Jansma captures this expression through pieces that convey the movement, power and elegancy of the sport.

Oshawa named as the host of the boxing events for the Pan Am Games served as the catalyst for the exhibit based around the sport commonly referred to as The Sweet Science (a term coined by the British journalist and sportswriter Pierce Egan in the early 1800s). The city has a rich history in the sport as home to three-time Canadian featherweight champion Grant O’Reilly who operated two boxing clubs here in Oshawa. The dramatic nature of this heavy-hitting sport has ignited a passion among artists throughout history, dating back to the Mesopotamian era that includes literature, art and drama.

A knowledge as vast as the Rocky series is not need in order to appreciate the works in Boxing: The Sweet Science. The exhibit features 12 artists whose works, spanning over 100 years, align with the centralized theme of the art and spirit of boxing.

In British photographer Eadweard Muybridge’s work Boxing, open hand printed in November 1887, the physical intensity and athleticism of boxing is captured in 16 separate frames. While this piece is more of a literal interpretation of the sport, John J. A. Murphy’s Shadowboxing, 1924 adorns an abstract vision of boxing.

In addition to history works, Boxing: The Sweet Science features contemporary pieces that capture the essence of the sport.

In Stop Beating Yourself Up, Montreal-based performance artist Coral Short addresses the stigma that boxing is a man’s game. For the video, created in 2013, Short is donned in a boxer’s uniform while beating herself unconscious using “semi-believable” moves she learned while training with boxers. The graphic nature of this video is hard to watch but contains a message with a powerful punch.

short

Coral Short, Stop Beating Yourself Up, 2013, Video still

“I think [the work] is about learning to love ourselves more as women and queers. To bring awareness to the negative and damaging thought patterns that exist within us. Women often tend to make a sport of self-deprecation internally,” says Short. “I wanted to briefly jolt and re-hardwire our neutral pathways so they become less automatic habits. I want us all to move into a place of peace, self-acceptance and love.”

Similar to Short, Toronto photographer Pete Doherty uses boxing as a way to depict the war inside the artist. A part of the boxing scene for several decades now, the sport and its community helped lift Doherty out of years of depression. He began to photograph what he was experiencing as both the artist and the subject, giving viewers a look on the inside of boxing. The black-and-white photographs in Boxing: The Sweet Science depict a ringside and in the ring view including images of trainers and boxers alike, capturing the key moments of the sport.

Pete Doherty, The Docks Nightclub, Toronto, Ontario, Gelatin Silver Print, 2005. Photo credit: Pete Doherty.

Whether it is as an exercising method in World War I as depicted in an anonymous photograph or cubist depictions of pugilists, boxing depicts the exterior and interior battle we fight as humans.

CWM-400x317

Anonymous, Boxing competition at Shorncliffe, Brigadier-General MacDonald, D.S.O. and Lieutenant-Colonel Mayes, inspecting classes, April 1918. Photograph.

 

Boxing: The Sweet Science is on from May 30 to September 13 with an opening at RMG Fridays, June 5 at 7-10 pm and a Talk and Tour on Sunday, June 28 at 1-3 pm.

 

By Raechel Bonomo

Vol ‘n’ Tell is an ongoing series of blog posts written by RMG Volunteers. Raechel Bonomo is an art enthusiast and writer from Oshawa, Ont.

 

Image at top: George Bellows, American (1882-1925), The White Hope (detail), 1921, Lithograph on paper, 48.5 x 60.8 cm, Collection of the Art Gallery of Hamilton; gift of Mr. and Mrs. J.A. McCuaig, 1965, Photo credit: Michael Lalich.

Puppet Act: Manipulating the Voice

This month at the RMG, we are unveiling a new exhibit where the art will speak to you. Literally.

Popularized by the likes of the legendary Kermit and Miss Piggy from the gabbling crew, The Muppets, puppets have been a popular form of entertainment throughout history. This personification of an object dates back to Ancient Greece in 5th century BC where the oldest written documentation of puppets is in the works of historians Herodotus and Xenophon.  Puppetry ranges from different types of mediums and are used as a source of entertainment and education all around the world including the Bunraku puppet from Osaka, Japan (1684) to the common finger puppet style used today by children and adults everywhere.

Cantastoria, or puppet storytelling, is the theme of the latest exhibit at the RMG curated by Linda Jansma. Puppet Act: Manipulating the Voice features marionettes from the Peterborough Museum & Archives collection whose historic puppets, retired from the Peterborough Puppet Guild, present as disturbing caricatures waiting to come to life once more. The exhibition, set to open May 23, also includes contemporary work from six artists. These puppeteers convey humanistic motifs of fear, manipulation, irony, humour and the battle between good and evil.

Among this work is a drawing by Coast Salish artist Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, graduate of the Emily Carr School of Art and Design. Threaded in his work are personal experiences and powerful socio-political messages used to document and promote change in Indigenous communities. Yuxweluptun sheds light on the diminution of the culture’s land and rights emulated through Native masks and imagery depicting environmental degradation.

stiles-5934

Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun. Untitled, 1996. Ink and graphite on paper.

 

Diana Lopez Soto is a performance artist based in Uxbridge, Ontario. In Puppet Act, she uses sheep-headed dancers to portray the relationship between man and animal. Lopez Soto’s performance catalyzes on human experimentation in animal cloning and the use of human genes to develop sheep that produce clotting protein in its milk.

Despite the lack of Chuckie-esque puppets in this exhibit, there are metaphors treading on the darker side riddled within the subjects they convey.

“Taken together, the work in this exhibition strives through the inanimate, to ignite discussions that help reflect who we, the animate, are,” says Jansma.

Toronto-based Suzy Lake was one of a pioneering group of artists in the ‘70s to implement performance, video and photography as a means of human expression. For Puppet Act, Lake personifies herself as the marionette in her mid-1970s performance piece depicting powerlessness. Infused in her work is politics of gender, the body and identity.

Spring Hurlbut is another artist who articulates social presence throughout her work. Born in Toronto, Hurlbut studied at the Ontario College of Art and Design, the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and in 1988 completed a Canadian Council-awarded residency in Barcelona to study architecture. In this exhibit, Hutlbut emulates the human condition through vintage ventriloquist dummies. Catherine Heard’s skeleton sculptures dance to the artist’s fascination with the “strangeness of the monstrous form”. Including scenes of torture and rural history, the fabric curtain made from a mixture of antique redwork embroidery and “fake” redwork imitates the style of the antiques.

Like Heard, Tim Whiten, born in Michigan and resides in Toronto, is a sculptor who expresses both the sacred and the profane within his work. His glass sculpture Saga-Ra-M references the human experience of reality using puppets and their shadows.

Tim Whiten, Saga-Ra-M, 2013. Handcrafted crystal clear glass, sandblasted mirror, aluminum rods, stainless steel LED lamps, MDF plinth.

Puppet Act: Manipulating the Voice is on May 23 until September 1 with a reception and Artist Talk on Sunday June 7. Come see the exhibit sure to get mouths moving.

 

By Raechel Bonomo

Vol ‘n’ Tell is an ongoing series of blog posts written by RMG Volunteers. Raechel Bonomo is an art enthusiast and writer from Oshawa, Ont.

 

Image at top: Spring Hurlbut, Dizzy, 2009-2010, installation of nine vintage amateur ventriloquist dummies circa 1930-1950. Photo by Toni Hafkenscheid.

 

Grand Opening of “Reverb” Sculpture Commission at the GM Centre

Join us for the Grand Opening of Reverb at the GM Centre on 1 June at 7:30pm!

Reverb will be installed in the spring of 2015, adjacent to the General Motors Centre (GM Centre), Durham Region’s premier sports and recreation facility, and the venue of the boxing and weightlifting events at next year’s TORONTO 2015 Pan Am Games. The work was purchased with the financial support of the RMG Acquisition Fund and the Canada Council for the Arts Acquisition Assistance Program.

The sculpture is impactful, standing at 19’ high, and will become a meeting place. The curved form implies a megaphone, an amphitheater and stage, a net or goal, as Reverb reflects the activities that occur in the GM Centre. The ‘blurb’ shapes on the structure represent the fans and are positioned like a rake of seats. Projections of coloured light will be created in the sculpture when sounds inside activate lights within the steel structure. Reverb is full of meaning and references. The laser cut stainless steel references industrial production and the facets align Oshawa’s history as a port city and as an industrial capital.

In addition to celebrating the City’s participation in the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, the project will reflect narratives that have meaning to the community and the public space that the work will occupy. The work will also respond to the RMG’s statement of purpose: Dedicated to sharing, exploring and engaging with our communities through the continuing story of modern and contemporary Canadian art. This new work becomes the fourth sculpture commissioned by the RMG, and will be added to the RMG’s permanent collection of over 4,500 works. Recent public art commissions include Douglas Coupland’s playful Group Portrait 1957 installed on the façade of the gallery in 2011.

The commission installation is set to take place in early May, 2015 and the RMG will be posting updates about the commission as it develops.

Follow #Harding2015 and #Reverb2015 on Twitter!

About Noel Harding

As an artist, Noel Harding produced video art in the 70’s, video projection and installation in the 80’s, kinetic installations and sculpture as theatre in the 90’s. His work for the last 20 years is in public art where landscape and environment are paramount. In general, his work is an engagement in public urban realities: planning, envisioning, and mapping. He has exhibited and lectured internationally and his work is included in collections at the Vancouver Art Gallery, the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the City of Amsterdam and the Hara Museum, Tokyo.

National Volunteer Week

It’s National Volunteer Week! #NVW2015

All of The Robert McLaughlin Gallery programs rely heavily on our volunteer program. We at the RMG value the importance of volunteerism and make it a priority to ensure all volunteers have an enriching and satisfying experience as they help to fulfill the needs of the gallery.

We thought it would be fun to share some of the reasons we LOVE our volunteers!

“The enthusiasm of our volunteers reminds me why this is a great place to work.” – Linda Jansma, Senior Curator

“Volunteers bring new ideas and a refreshing energy to everything that they do, I find it very inspiring!” – Megan White, Assistant Curator

“In my time at the RMG I feel I’ve learned just as much from our volunteers as they’ve learned from me.” Norah O’Donnell, Manager of Community and Volunteer Development, Manager of Community and Volunteer

“I love how eager our volunteers are to learn new skills and share their ideas.” – Sam Mogelosnsky, Communications Co-ordinator

“I love volunteering at @theRMG. I’ve learned so much from the passionate people that work here.” – Heather Bulman, Communications Intern

We are so grateful for our volunteers. Without them, we just wouldn’t be as awesome! Interested in volunteering, click here to get involved at the RMG!

Happy volunteering!

 

PS… Hey, did you hear? On 14 May, the RMG will be hosting a Volunteer Youth Leaders Symposium. Are you interested in exploring youth volunteerism in your organization? Register here.

 

Image by Ryan Cleary for snapd Oshawa from RMG Fridays March

 

Interview with Artist Noel Harding

“Hot Topics” blog posts come from the desk of Sam Mogelonsky, our Communications & Social Media Coordinator.

Sam sat down with Noel Harding, the commission winner, to discuss his project “Reverb.” Noel received the TORONTO 2015 Public Sculpture Commission at the GM Centre: a site-specific sculpture commission in collaboration with the City of Oshawa, in celebration of the City’s participation in the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games.

The sculpture will be installed in the spring of 2015, adjacent to the General Motors Centre (GM Centre), the venue of the boxing and weightlifting events at next year’s TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games. Join us for the unveiling ceremony on June 1st at 7:30pm.

The GM Centre, Oshawa

The GM Centre

The RMG: How did you become an artist?

Noel Harding: I always admired artists but never thought I would become one. It was almost by default. I left high school at 18 (achieved grade 10) subsequently working for my father’s engineering firm until I decided I had to do something with my life. I went to trade school, became an architectural draftsman, then an architectural construction technologist. I was employed as a construction estimator for which I was readily fired for lack of interest.

I landed at university as a mature student studying philosophy and working in the university video studio part-time. My involvement with video expanded from running cables, to camera operator, to tv studio director and educational script writing. Without really thinking of myself as an artist, though jealous of such, I decided to create something in video and submit it to the university’s competition for art works. To my surprise, I won first prize and my resulting video works started to travel to many different countries.

In that time, video was a brand new medium – so many things had never been done before and it was a great realm to work in. However, I never like making the same thing twice. After a while, that little screen, that shape, it was just boring. I didn’t look at it like storytelling because I treated it as a visual and time full medium. From there, I moved onto installation and projection works, where you walk inside of film and I treated the projection as a sculptural surface. In doing so, I could play with time and the interaction of people.

Those works began in the 70s. Then I began working with more diverse materials: kinetics, pumps and air compressors. By this time, I was involved in galleries in New York, LA, Toronto, Vancouver, Japan, Holland, Germany and England.

Working Model, Noel Harding

Working Model, Noel Harding

RMG: What was your inspiration for your public sculpture at the GM Centre?

NH: When you approach a competition, you approach it with a pragmatic consideration, you read and see what is being requested. You are responding to a desire on behalf of the funder or organization. Which is your starting point, in a way it dictates the way you think.

I like to look at how the location’s identity is operating, where its physicality sits, where its actions of energy are, how it is populated. There is an effort to extracting the site and looking at its needs. The GM Centre is an auditorium, a place where people gather regarding numerous events of community interests. As such, the work required itself to cooperate with the public use and enhance the location. We are not taking about meaning at this point, other than how you frame your movement forward with a set of ideas.

Working Model, Noel Harding

Working Model, Noel Harding

RMG: What was your process for creating the concept of the sculpture? Can you explain the idea if the “blurbs” and how they relate to the final piece?

NH: If you look at the detailing in the work, you’ll see a number of what we call “blurbs”, like the speech bubbles one sees text in a comic book. Those are references to the audiences inside but also, to the community of Oshawa. They are not filled in, but abstract enough to allow diversity of opinions and views and, you might say, the intensity of an array of feeling – a reference to the emotions of audience.

It’s hard to say how you get an idea, you wait to see something – you’re playing. The blurb kind of kept coming after me. You try diverse elements; you model them up on paper, put them on a table and you start to either like it or dislike it. In most instances, it just doesn’t carry and you throw it away. Something evolves until a click occurs.

RMG: Please tell us more about your choice of materials for this project.

NH: I’ve been using stainless steel for my last few works. Its permanence makes it ideal for outside installations. Its ability to appear and disappear, because it is reflective, is really a great advantage. I cut a blurb out of a flat piece of paper and curved it up. Then something was starting… and then you start to see the shapes you can read in a sculpture.

There’s another element, I think of my work as making a personality rather than making a thing. What I mean by personality, is a thickness of character or meaning. As complex as a personality can be to build: humour, seriousness, interactive engagement.

Working Model, Noel Harding

Working Model, Noel Harding

RMG: Lights will animate the sculpture at night. Can you please explain how?

NH: I was on the site and I noticed that there was a hockey game going on inside but you couldn’t tell what was going on outside. It was quite a moment of inspiration. You go to the site to inspect it and realize it’s all dark at night, even though there are 1,000 people inside. How is this possible?

If I could bring the energy of what’s going on inside, outside to the sculpture, then I’ve got a very interesting way of bringing the audience into the work. The lighting then became responsive to the activities that go on inside the centre. When there is a concert, a hockey game, or other activities, the microphone picks up that sound and influences or programs the lighting outside. As a conical shape, you might say there’s an inside and an outside to the work, that shape holds light within it and reflects where the blurbs are, giving it a kind of life.

RMG: The shape of the sculpture is very inviting – what was your thought process behind it?

NH: The shape evolved as a direct result of the GM Centre being an arena. The shape mimics an arena podium. You could also suggest that it appears as a stage, or a goalie’s net or a hockey mask. It is the best response to a work when people describe different images as they are then bringing their definitions to it. It’s what is fascinating about a work in that it can be interpreted differently depending on the viewer. I like each work to link to its location. This location was rich in providing stimulus to present an idea.

The work faces the GM Centre entrance, it operates in an interesting way for the audience because normally you’d stand inside the work as a performer looking outward, but the way the mirrored surfaces of the blurbs works is if you’re outside you see yourself as the performer inside. It creates a strong interactive dynamic. I can see people wanting to play in front to see the light and their image moving.

RMG: We are very excited about this project; can you let us know what else you are working on to make it a reality?

NH: We have just completed stamped structural drawing and detailed shop drawing which in a way take longer than the actual physical creation of the work. We have ordered the shipments of steel and are within days of being able to prefabricate the components. Stainless steel has some great advantages but it is an extraordinarily labour intensive process to gain a nice even mirrored or polished finish. It is terribly consuming and requires an enormous skill base. You really have to respect the process and the people you work with.

We will be doing some pre-testing of the sound equipment before it is installed. We are beginning light programming now. As well, we are working on all the pre-production planning for the site work, which will be longer than usual, in part, because it has to be broken down into numerous components, which then need to be polished on site. We will be onsite for a month actually placing the work.

Working Model, Noel Harding

Working Model, Noel Harding

RMG: What do you enjoy most about working in the public realm?

NH: What I love about the public realm, it’s that it’s obvious. It’s such a beautifully free space to work in, you’re not arbitrated by curation in the same way.

 

Noel Harding produced video art in the 70’s, video projection and installation in the 80’s, kinetic installations and sculpture as theatre in the 90’s. His work for the last 20 years is in public art where landscape and environment are paramount. His work is an engagement in public urban realities: planning, envisioning, and mapping.  He has exhibited and lectured internationally and his work is included in collections at the Vancouver Art Gallery, the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the City of Amsterdam and the Hara Museum, Tokyo. 

Volunteer Youth Leaders Symposium at the RMG

On Thursday 14 May, 2015, the RMG will host a one-day Volunteer Youth Leaders Symposium for volunteer coordinators and administrators in the Durham Region. The day will feature an innovative keynote speaker, panel discussions, workshops and networking opportunities. Register now to get involved!

Keynote Speaker: Michael Prosserman, UNITY Charity, Founder & Executive Director

Michael Prosserman (aka break dancer “Bboy Piecez”) felt the transformative impact of his performance and saw the potential to share this impact with others. He will share the exciting journey of UNITY Charity’s rapid growth and his success in achieving life-changing outcomes for youth. UNITY engages youth 10 to 18 by implementing school and community programs helping youth positively express their stress and develop skills for success. UNITY empowers youth to make better choices as leaders, mentors and positive community role models leading to more productive citizens, safer schools, and healthier communities.

Afternoon Workshops:
Workshop 1: Youth Engagement 101
The Students Commission of Canada, Centre of Excellence for Youth Engagement

Workshop 2: Program Evaluation
Darren O’Donnell, Artistic & Research Director, of Mammalia

Register Now!

Spaces are limited.

We are grateful to the Ontario Trillium Foundation for supporting this symposium.