Meet Parvathi Bhat Giliyal – Our New Gallery Educator

Parvathi Bhat Giliyal is the RMG’s new Gallery Educator. Prior to joining us, she was working as a visual artist and graphic designer, as well as art gallery management and art education. Drop by the RMG and say hello!

 

RMG: What were you up to before the RMG?

Parvathi: In the last 5 years I’ve been Gallery co-ordinator, educator, graphic designer and curator besides actively exhibiting my paintings in India. When an opportunity to move to Canada came up, I jumped at the new and exciting possibilities that may open up to me in the art and museum sector of Ontario. So far, the RMG has been everything I’d imagined my life here to be!

RMG: What drew you to the museum sector?

Parvathi: As an artist, the gallery and museum life was my calling. My father and I would spend a lot of time in museums and we believed in engaging with every piece of art. From a very young age, I believed that I could grow into a better artist through awareness and exposure to art of any kind.

RMG: What is your favourite museum?

Parvathi: The National Gallery of Modern Art in Bangalore, India, the city I grew up in and The Musée d’Orsay in Paris, France. The former for its vast collection of my favourite Indian art works and the many hours of talks and lectures that I attended; and the latter for the fantastic opportunity it gave me to experience all the European greats that I had only read about until that point.

RMG: What is your first memory of art?

Parvathi: My first memory of art would have to be watching my father work on his oils in our tiny living room, randomly throwing tips at me on the hows and whys of oil painting. It is funny how I was always surrounded by art but took me until my last day in college to realize I needed to be in the art world.

RMG: What is one thing that you want to share with people about the RMG?

Parvathi: The RMG has something for everyone. The spectacular permanent collection on display, Art classes, Art workshops, Residency programs, RMG Fridays with its live music and film features, the list is endless! I feel it is all about taking that first step inside the gallery and never wanting to leave!

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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

 

An interview with outgoing CEO Gaby Peacock

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

As our CEO Gaby Peacock departs from the RMG, Sam spoke with her about her great accomplishments over the last five years. We all thank Gaby for her enthusiasm and innovations at the RMG and wish her all the best for the future!

Gaby at RMG Fridays February 2015

Gaby at RMG Fridays February 2015

The RMG: Looking back on five years at the RMG, what would you say has been the biggest change to the gallery from then until now?

Gaby Peacock: Working to change perceptions about the gallery and our greater role in the community has been a real priority for me from the beginning. We have tried very hard to insure that our internal staff culture, and public persona are accessible, inviting and inclusive. We have also somewhat redefined the role of museum as it relates to the needs of our community. No one size fits all. It has required us to listen to what people want and think about our work in terms of audience-driven programming. I also felt like we could do more in terms of unconventional partnerships and supporting other not-for-profits.. We have tried to repositioned the RMG as a leader and collaborator within the region.

RMG: What do you feel will be your lasting contribution to the RMG community?

Gaby: It is so important to be responsive to the changing needs of your audience. For now, RMG Fridays has a tremendous following, and I am proud to have been a part of its creation. It has made a huge impact on our ability to welcome new people to the gallery each month, and rerally connected us with the growing population of Millenials in Durham.

Perhaps more tangible (and lasting) contributions will be the public sculpture projects we initiated. I loved working with Doug Coupland to realize “Group Portrait 1957”, and the Meadmore in front of City Hall is very near and dear to my heart. Noel Harding’s commission for the GM Centre will not be installed before I leave-but I will be back to see it unveiled!

Gaby at RMG Fridays February 2015

Gaby at RMG Fridays February 2015 with Dr. Tim McTiernan, UOIT, Leo Groarke, Trent University, Don Lovisa, Durham College, Mayor John Henry and Dr. Colin Carrie, MP Oshawa.

RMG: You have also contributed to the community at large. Please tell us why these initiatives have been important to you?

Gaby: Being a part of the Culture Counts team for Oshawa’s first culture and heritage plan was incredibly rewarding. It was a real exercise in grassroots democracy. People came together and collectively made something really significant happen. It is one thing to get a plan funded and approved, but another to see that it has legs to get things done. I think a lot of people felt that they have seen other plans come and go, without much progress. There is a real desire from City staff and Council to make things happen and see the plan executed. That is half the battle. It was also really important to me that I was part of project that would create a tangible roadmap in alignment with the work we were doing at the RMG. It is all about creating a critical mass of cultural initiatives. Gradually, perceptions begin to shift.

coupland

Senior Curator Linda Jansma, artist Douglas Coupland and CEO Gaby Peacock in front of “Group Portrait 1957”

RMG: What will you miss most about the RMG?

Gaby: I am going to miss the incredible team of people I work with everyday. Staff, and volunteers that are committed to providing visitors with amazing interactions and experiences around art and art-making. I will also miss my community colleagues who are so invested in helping Oshawa promote its rich cultural assets and change negative stereotypes.

Interview with Running On Empty Curator Heather Nicol

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

The RMG caught up with Running on Empty’s guest curator Heather Nicol for a quick chat about the exhibition and her artistic practice.

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RMG: Firstly, please tell us a bit about who are you and your curatorial/ artistic practice?

Heather Nicol: I’m an artist and independent curator based in Toronto. I’ve created exhibitions for gallery spaces, but more often I work in what might be considered off-site locations, such as underutilized or repurposed urban spaces. My installations often are cited in public places, such as large atriums or, for example, in the great Hall of the Union station. Also in unusual exhibition venues, such as an crumbling rail terminus in Buffalo, a three-story carriage house in upstate New York, or in a château, in France. I am very excited about a large-scale public art project coming up in March, in lower Manhattan’s Winter Garden, an enormous barrel vaulted interior space opposite the new World Trade Center.

RMG: What was the inspiration behind Running On Empty? Oshawa has a long history with the car – does this play into your exhibition at all?

HN: Architecture or geography serve as a point of departure in my curatorial work. I am interested in ways that the histories and physical properties of exhibition spaces impact the reception of the art that is presented in them.

So, yes, Oshawa’s, and the Robert McLaughlin Gallery’s history with the automobile industry afforded me the opportunity to pursue an idea that had been percolating concerning cars as a mediating force in our relationship with the landscape.

RMG: How did you select the artists in the exhibition?

HN: I seem to have a strange habit of keeping a lookout for potential off-site exhibition venues as I go through life, whether it’s a vacant warehouse or decommission school. I have thought that a wonderful old-fashioned gas station near where I live would be a terrific place to create a show about cars, and have kept an eye on it for years, wondering it it might close or be up for rent. Ironically, it’s up for rent right now!

From from the beginning of my thinking about this show, I hoped to include the famous traffic jam sequence from Jean-Luc Godard’s 1967 film “Weekend”. I saw the film in my early 20s, and that particular imagery has apparently been tucked away in my mind for years.  It is quite fantastic.

Monica Tap_6

Early on, I thought of some of the artists that are in Running On Empty, including Kim Adams and John Massey. I met Elinor Whidden while on a residency in Newfoundland, and Ioved the way she links cars and highways with historical notions of landscape. Her work inspired a shift in my musings about this possible show, away from auto bodies, toward the idea of the car as transportation device, particularly in relationship to the vast landscapes of Canada. I have previously worked with Monica Tap and Seth Scriver, both of whom have works that are very well suited to this idea – Seth’s film was made in collaboration with Shayne Ehman. I saw Asphalt Watches at its premier at TIFF, and was especially enthusiastic about the way it links with the Godard movie. I was interested in locating an artist who worked with taxidermy animals, in part inspired by a close friend’s terrifying account of hitting a bear, and the ensuing encounter with the animal’s body. It was through online research that I discovered Montreal based Kate Puxley, whose work “TransCanada” is a wonderful addition to the project.

RMG: We love the exhibition play list – can you please tell us more about it?

HN: It began with the titles for the show, Running On Empty, which is a 1977 song by Jackson Browne. That tune captures the groove of road trips, and for me, memories of listening to songs on car radios. At the same time, it refers to the ominous under belly of our relationship to cars – our reliance on fossil fuels, the environmental impacts, etc. The idea of running out of gas, both figuratively and metaphorically, seemed perfect for this show.

Last fall I spent an enjoyable afternoon with three dear friends with whom I took a road trip to the Maritimes thirty years ago. It was actually a cycling trip, but who’s counting wheels! the four of us began brainstorming the rich history of songs on the subject. Solidifying this spontaneous list-making experience, with the song’s names hastily written on paper towel, into a document for the exhibition catalogue felt like a wonderful extension of the way I approach curating, which is from the position of an artist. I take pleasure in bringing form to whimsical notions, and hope our readers will enjoy it. The playlist is not historically researched, it is a simple expression of our collective memories at that particular moment in time.

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Images
Stills from film Asphalt Watches, Shayne Ehman and Seth Scriver
Monica Tap, One-second Hudson no. 4, 2007
Kate Puxley, from the series Trans-Canada, 2011-ongoing

Jock Macdonald: Evolving Form

Jock Macdonald: Evolving Form

3 February – 24 May, 2015
Talk and Tour: Sunday, 1 February, 1-3pm
Opening: RMG Fridays, 6 March, 7-10pm

Symposium:
Abstraction in Canada: The Legacy of Jock Macdonald

Saturday 7 March 2015, 10am – 4pm

Jock Macdonald: Evolving Form is a travelling exhibition, organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria and The Robert McLaughlin Gallery and celebrating the artist’s life and exhibiting many previously unknown works. The exhibition begins with Macdonald’s early painting career in Vancouver, surveys his move toward abstraction and his extraordinary automatics, and concludes with the later abstractions he produced as part of the Toronto-based collective of abstract artists, the Painters Eleven.

A pioneer of postwar abstraction in Canada, Jock Macdonald was a key figure and influenced not only his peers, but also future generations of Canadian painters. The exhibition traces the artist’s practice and shows the dramatic transformations he underwent throughout his development. Influenced by spirituality and Surrealist thinking, Macdonald believed that the artist’s task was to “break out of the tangible reality of daily existence to realize the highest planes of art expression”. (Pg 15, Thom, The Early Work: An Artist Emerges) His career was an artistic journey in a perpetual state of evolution and growth. As a founding member of Painters Eleven, Macdonald’s contribution to abstract painting in Canada is seminal.

Evolving Form is the first major retrospective of the artist’s work in over thirty years and is a fresh look at the influential artist’s career.

A special project website detailing the artist’s life with an interactive timeline, drawing tool and gallery of artworks accompanies the exhibition. Click here to launch jockmacdonald.org

This project is accompanied by a major book co-published by the three art galleries and Black Dog Publishing, featuring texts by each curator, an essay by scholar Dr. Anna Hudson, excerpts from Macdonald’s correspondence and a diary the artist kept while living in Nootka Sound from 1935 to 1936.

The exhibition is organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, and The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, and is curated by Ian M. Thom, Michelle Jacques and Linda Jansma.

This exhibition is generously supported by the Government of Canada through the Museums Assistance Program of the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Image: Jock Macdonald, Nature’s Pattern, 1954; Collection of The Robert McLaughlin Gallery

Introducing Gallery A

Introducing Gallery A – Fulfilling the Legacy of Aleen Aked and paving the way for collaboration, local artistic exposure and the growth of our vibrant arts community. Please join us for the Grand Opening at RMG Fridays on 9 January.

Elizabeth Aleen Aked was an accomplished artist and a woman with a strong sense of the history and culture of the places she lived, especially her summer home and studio in Tyrone, Ontario. Miss Aked died in 2003; in her estate, a generous portion of her legacy was gifted to The Robert McLaughlin Gallery.

With the support of the Aked Endowment and funding from the Department of Canadian Heritage, the RMG is thrilled to embark on an exciting new initiative aimed at fostering a thriving local arts community.

During the summer of 2014, the RMG was under major renovations to create a professional exhibition space reserved for exhibiting the work of local artists, community collaborations, and themed group exhibits. The new space, features a professional gallery, an artist studio and rooms designed for bringing together arts communities.

Opportunities are available for community partnerships and special initiatives as well as artist residencies that prioritizes artists who wish to experiment with new ideas, collaborate, and work in new directions. Artists will have increased opportunities to give public talks, 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 are made with a jury of local artists and arts professionals.

We invite you to visit the new space, take a workshop or apply for an opportunity at Gallery A. 

Get Involved!

Grand Opening:

RMG Fridays on Friday 9 January, 7 pm

Information Session:

Thursday 26 February, 7 – 8 pm

Application Deadline:

Sunday 15 March. Projects will take place from September 2015 to February 2016. Application form found at http://www.rmg.on.ca

On View

1 December, 2014 – 1 February 2015
Gallery A & Art Lab: Pete Smith, artist residency

4 February – 1 March, 2015
Gallery A:  Ruth Greenlaw
Art Lab: Toni Hamel, artist residency

3 March -29 March, 2015
Gallery A & Art Lab:  Toni Hamel, artist residency

31 March– 12 April, 2015
Gallery A: Speak Up! Youth Art Exhibition

14 April – 28 April, 2015
Gallery A: Durham College Fine Arts Graduate Thesis Exhibition

Events

Sunday 1 February, 1 – 3pm
Talk and Tour with Artist, Pete Smith and Senior Curator, Linda Jansma

RMG Fridays: 6 February, 7-10pm
Opening reception: Ruth Greenlaw

Sunday 22 February, 1-3pm
Talk and Tour with artists Ruth Greenlaw and Margaret Rodgers

Sunday 29 March, 1 – 3pm
Talk and Tour with Artist Toni Hamel and Running on Empty Curator Heather Nicol

Sunday 19 April, 1 – 3pm
Opening Reception: Durham College Fine Arts Graduate Thesis Exhibition

Workshops for Artists

Register online – spaces are limited.

Saturday 10 January, 1 – 3pm
Drawing Workshop with Ron Shuebrook

Ron Shuebrook will lead a workshop about the use of memories as a catalyst for art, while also considering aesthetic forms and expressive processes. Participants will explore a variety of graphic media such as graphite, charcoal, or ink, based on their interests. All materials provided but students are welcome to bring their own tools and materials if they prefer.

Registration required. $25 Members/ $35 Non-Members / Free for adults registered in Winter/Spring 2015 art classes

Sunday 15 February, 1 – 3pm
Grant Writing and Funding Opportunities for Artists

Zhe Gu, Visual Arts Officer at the Ontario Arts Council (OAC) will lead this workshop aimed at professional Visual artists and Fine Craft artists. The workshop will cover the types of grants available, the selection process and how to prepare an effective application. Please bring any applications in progress, your artist statement, or previous grant text.

Free. Registration required.

Thursday 30 April – Saturday 2 May
By appointment during Gallery hours
Artwork Documentation Station

Over the course of three days, artists may document their artwork in an environment designed for effective, professional documentation. RMG staff will be on hand with the appropriate lighting, hanging and photographic equipment. Artists may bring their own camera, or alternately a 10GB USB memory stick to transfer images onto. Maximum of five artworks, no larger than 7ft x 7ft. Wall-mounted works only.

Free. Registration required.

Symposium
Sunday 7 March, 10am – 4pm

Abstraction in Canada: The Legacy of Jock Macdonald

Lunch and refreshments included.

$20 / $15 students / Free for RMG Members

A Poem by Marlene Laplante

Marlene Laplante visited the RMG with her daughter in early December. She was so inspired by her visit that she wrote a poem about it. Marlene has allowed us to share her writing with you! Enjoy!

 

in the gallery

 

they are gone now – their work remains

compelling stories in colour

alive on white walls around me pulling me in

a journey of the human spirit on canvas

each reclaiming a time a place an event

capturing life around them in an intimate way

life spread out in a visual language

revealing despair and hard times

beauty and innocence

 

overcome by the spiritual strength of their presence

humbled – emotional

I became part of the sadness in their painted eyes

before me – silhouettes in golden light

majestic mountains silent waters

and bright colours splashed about in harmony

inspired by life – motivated by passion

most worked in solitude and silence

in tune with the rhythms of nature

seeing beauty in what surrounded them

they painted the feeling of a place

that which feeds our soul

others dream inspired – created from within

letting the energy in their work speak for itself

 

their stories had to be told…

I came to listen

in the gallery

 

 

© M Laplante    Dec/13