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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

RMG Fridays June: PanAm Torch Relay

Following the Pan Am Games 2015 torch relay on Friday June 5, National Hum and Steady Hussle start the party as we open Boxing: The Sweet Science, David Rokeby: Very Nervous System, A Visionary Journey and Lynn McIlvide in Gallery A..

For more information:
Boxing: The Sweet Science – http://www.rmg.on.ca/boxing-sweet-science.php
David Rokeby – http://www.rmg.on.ca/rokeby-very-nervous-system.php
A Visionary Journey – http://www.rmg.on.ca/lipman-visionary-journey.php
Steady Hussle – https://www.facebook.com/steadyhussle
National Hum – https://www.facebook.com/NationalHum

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.

Call for Submissions: Motor City Stories

Submission Deadline: 6 April 2015

ABOUT THE PROJECT

In conjunction with the Toronto 2015 Pan /Parapan American Games, The Robert McLaughlin Gallery in partnership with the Motor City Boxing Club, invite regional artists to produce new works inspired by the sport of boxing. Selected artists will be invited to visit the Motor City Boxing Club (Oshawa), observe athletes in training, work in situ at the club and produce new work based on their observations.

Artists are encouraged to work in a wide variety of visual media including drawing, painting, photography, media and integrated art forms. The resulting work will be displayed in a group exhibition in Gallery A @the RMG in conjunction with other PAN AM exhibition programming

ARTIST FEE

Selected artists are provided a fee of $250.00

TIMELINE

Notification: by 10 April
Drop off work (ready to display): Monday 13 July, 1pm
Exhibition duration: 14 July – 2 August
Opening Reception: Sunday 19 July 1-3pm
Pick up artwork: Tuesday 4 August, 9am
ELIGIBILITY

Open to all professional artists and collectives residing in the Durham Region

SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS

Letter of intent (maximum 1 page)
3-5 digital images or other relevant work
A current artist CV and biography in PDF format

SUBMIT at http://www.rmg.on.ca/gallery-a-motor-city-stories.php

 

Images courtesy of Motor City Boxing.

Noel Harding is the recipient of the TORONTO 2015 Public Sculpture Commission

The Robert McLaughlin Gallery (RMG), in collaboration with the City of Oshawa, is excited to announce that artist Noel Harding will be commissioned to build a site-specific sculpture 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), 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/Parapan Am Games. The final commission consists of a $150,000 budget, which includes all fees, materials, fabrication and installation costs. The cost of the commission will be provided through the RMG’s restricted Acquisitions Endowment.

“The Selection Committee was impressed by Noel Harding’s submission that shows a real understanding and appreciation of the site and intentions of the project. The RMG is thrilled to be able to facilitate this exciting addition to our downtown,” said Gabrielle Peacock, Chief Executive Officer of The Robert McLaughlin Gallery.

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. Visit the artist’s website.

The commission installation is set to take place by May 15, 2015 and the RMG will be posting updates about the commission as it develops. Please visit http://www.rmg.on.ca/gm-sculpture-commission.php for more information.