RMG Exposed Picks from our Director of Finance and Administration Olinda Casimiro

With RMG Exposed coming up this Saturday, our staff are sharing their photo picks for the auction. Check our the selection from our Director of Finance and Administration, Olinda Casimiro. It’s not too late to buy your ticket – we hope to see you at RMG Exposed!

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TimMcGhie – Regent Park

Tim McGhie, Regent Park:
I have always been interested in the “house” and how people make them their “home”. This image captures the tear down of an apartment building in Regent Park, Toronto. The “cookie cutter” formula applied to mass housing offers the occupier slim options on how to make the space their own, here, we have is a glimpse of some painted walls, enough to confirm occupancy. Domestic and landscape architecture have transformed our understanding of parks and buildings, this photograph begs the questions, how does one alter a two dimensional structure environment to provide personalization that allows its occupants to create memories?  Will the replacement multifamily house in the end produce anything that looks, feels and inspires growth in its inhabitants? How do we make use of our living spaces, how do we change them and how do we leave them–after all, our house is a house that is like the life that goes on with it.

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Jessica Thalmann – Scientist

Jessica Thalmann, Scientist:
I found myself drawn to this image over and over again, there is a wonderful sculptural element — as if, it almost wants to fall off the wall. Only after some contemplation, did it reveal to me the “Scientist” in the background. There are layers in this photograph worth exploring, including the choice of rainbow-like colours, the subject includes both of things past and future. The colours and their three dimensional shapes perhaps reveals an insight into the mind as it works through the challenges presented in the era that the Scientist created great leaps of growth….science, silent sound and colour juxtaposed together create evocative emotion that naturally allows for engagement and dialogue when viewing this work.

Carolyn Doucette

Carolyn Doucette – Great North American Landscapes Vol.3 #3

Carolyn Doucette, Great North American Landscapes Vol.3 #3:
This work forces the viewer to challenge the way life has changed and what life may be through intervention. Does a dilemma exist in the world today? The interaction of yesterday as observed in the raw landscape which with human ignorance will die, with tomorrow, does the barcode, which is a language understood by the computer have the ability to replace nature? Although beautiful, the barcode, which is represented by a colourfield negative waterfall, appears foreign. It forces the viewer to ponder the complexities that exist in today’s world –nature vs structured human manipulation. There are connections between human and nature all around us, here, the vastness of nature dominates, I am attracted to the beauty of the human geometric elongated rectangles against natures rugged outdoors. I like it – a lot!

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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

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

Interview with Motor City Stories Artist Dani Crosby

“Hot Topics” blog posts come from the desk of Sam Mogelonsky, our Communications & Social Media Coordinator. Sam caught up with Motor City Stories artist Dani Crosby to discuss her project in the upcoming exhibition. 

In partnership with the Motor City Boxing Club, the RMG has invited regional artists to produce new works inspired by the sport of boxing. Selected artists were 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. The exhibition runs from July 14 – August 2 in gallery A.

RMG: Why were you interested in the Motor City Stories project?

Dani Crosby: I love drawing from life, I find Boxing to be beautiful and brutal, and I could not resist the challenge of capturing that duality on site at the Motor City Boxing Club.

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RMG: What have you been doing at Motor City Boxing Club?

DC: A lot of quick gesture drawings. I am treating my visits to Motor City Boxing Club like great big life drawing sessions. I try to scurry around the space and capture as many interesting poses and expressions as possible within the time frame of each visit. I have also been taking some video clips so that I can work from my studio in a similar manner. I’m going to be sad when this project comes to an end. As a big fan of drawing from life I would love to keep drawing at Motor City Boxing Club indefinitely.

RMG: What has been the most interesting part of the project so far?

DC: The close proximity to the action and the people. Motor City Boxing Club members range from children to seniors and all members seem so supportive and respectful of one another. Everyone has been very friendly and often inquisitive. I have had the pleasure of listening to stories from several individuals describing their reasons for training, their interest and involvement in the Visual arts. I have been made very comfortable on the premises and I am thrilled to have made Motor City Boxing members comfortable enough to approach and converse.

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RMG: What are the next steps for your project before the exhibition?

DC: I will continue to crank out as many drawings as possible. My contribution to this exhibition consists of many small pieces, each piece illustrating a different state of training, to be arranged in Gallery A in a pattern representative of The Square Circle. All of my work for this exhibition will focus on a blend of frantic mark making and deliberate ink work, reflecting the cycle of energy ongoing within the Motor City Boxing training space.

A side from that I am working with local vinyl artist Gant Cole who will be printing a number of vinyl wall decal ‘photo corners’ I have designed in order to securely and inconspicuously mount each small piece directly onto the gallery wall. Oh and talking. I will continue sharing my own excitement in regards to this exhibition and the other artists my work will be neighbor to, through word of mouth and social media.

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Dani Crosby is an Illustrator, Fine Artist, and Art Instructor. With a body of work ranging from observational studies to imagined interpretive conceptual projects Dani works to capture personality and develop thoughtful narratives in her diverse fine art work. As an Illustrator Dani brings a highly organized, consistent, and punctual working style to her clients. Her goal is to visually captivate and emotionally involve her audience. Dani’s main areas of focus as a visual artist have been: fine art, editorial, art for albums, merchandise, images for web and devices, posters, logos and icons.

Dani is always looking forward to exploring new subject matter, experiencing with new media, challenging concepts, meeting new clients, nurturing on-going professional relationships, taking on new commissions, and creative adventures in general. Graduate of the Sheridan College BA Illustration Program, Dani believes visual art is powerful enough to change anything from a person’s perception of a brand to a person’s perception of the world at large.

All images courtesy of Dani Crosby and the Motor City Boxing Club.

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.

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.

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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.

 

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

There are few jobs in the world that require you to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week with no breaks. The candidate in question must be a multi-tasker, organized and have superhero-like powers. Did I mention this is an unpaid gig?

Mother’s Day is the perfect time to reward your mom for the chicken soup when you were sick, the priceless advice for your broken heart and the bedtime stories filled with princesses that rivalled the heroine who lifted those words off the page.

We may never be able to truly repay our mothers, but a unique present from the RMG’s gift shop is a great place to start. Check out our mother-approved gift ideas:

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A signature piece of jewellery

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Fantastic body products!

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A catalogue or art book

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Delicious tea

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A great card

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A mug for MOM!

– 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.

Treat the special women in your life to our Mother’s Day Brunch on May 10th. In association with Pilar’s Catering, Arthur’s on the 4th (located in the upstairs of the gallery) will be filled with delicious signature dishes such as French toast with French vanilla whipped cream and raspberry maple syrup or a seared, slow roasted pork loin stuffed with hickory smoked bacon and aged applewood cheddar. Just as good as momma’s cooking!

mothers day menu

Tickets are $42.99 for adults, $29.99 for children and kids under four eat for free (gratuities and taxes extra). RSVP to Cheryl-Ann at 905-576-3000 ext. 103 or by email at czamulinski@rmg.on.ca.

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