Collecting Contemporary Photography an RMG Exposed Preview Event

Join us for a special preview event of RMG Exposed on Thursday, November 12 from 7-8pm with art consultant Holly Mazar-Fox. Holly will discuss collecting contemporary photography and what to look for in a photographic edition. She will also share her selections from the RMG Exposed Auction and offer advice for new and seasoned collectors.

Mazar-Fox Art Consulting offers a breadth of bespoke fine art services to a variety of clients including private individuals, corporations, interior designers, and art industry professionals. We guide clients across the complexities of the art world and assist them with all aspects of their art needs by providing expert advice in relation to buying and selling artwork, as well as collection management and appraisal services.

We advise and facilitate art purchases for clients looking to acquire artwork for their homes and businesses: from first time buyers to seasoned collectors, based locally and internationally. Our access to, and intimate knowledge of, a wide range of art mediums combined with our comprehensive network of dealers and artists, enable us to find the best quality artwork to fit any budget – be it for a growing collection or individual project.

Mazar-Fox Art Consulting offers a wealth of collection management services ensuring a lifelong enjoyment and protection of artwork. These specialized services include, but not limited to: cataloguing and inventory taking; insurance advice; research; and conservation work. Our practice also provides independent art appraisals – Holly is a qualified fine art appraiser and member of the International Society of Appraisers (ISA).

Holly Mazar-Fox holds a BA from Yale University in the History of Art, an MA from The Courtauld Institute of Art (England) and received an LLB from City University (England). Prior to founding Mazar-Fox Art Consulting, Holly gained art industry experience working for both institutions and commercial galleries, including the Corcoran Gallery of Art and Artist’s Proof Gallery, based in Washington, DC. Holly’s international experiences in the art market through both academic and professional channels have allowed Holly to establish an extensive network of dealers, curators and specialists. For more information, please visit

Photos in image above:
AJ Groen – Tree Line
Courtney Skovira – Self Portait
Jen Yeaman – Big Beach


SPIN – artist project for RMG Exposed by Katrina Jennifer Bedford

Guests to RMG Exposed will be greeted by a special artist project by Katrina Jennifer Bedford in the RMG’s lobby space.

SPIN is a site-specific, projection-based installation of an animated disco ball that utilizes traditional stop-motion animation techniques. Through this large scale installation Katrina Jennifer Bedford explores the concepts of motion and light. Each of these elements denotes distinctive qualities yet, when combined together produce a stunning sensory experience. This work was originally exhibited in Toronto’s Nuit Blanche in 2012.

Katrina Jennifer Bedford is a photographer, art educator and cultural advocate. She currently holds the position of Professor at Durham College teaching in the Digital Photography and Video Production programs. Jennifer has worked with notable not-for-profit organizations such as the Art Gallery of Hamilton, Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, Cambridge Libraries and Galleries, Contemporary Art Forum Kitchener Area (CAFKA), Art Gallery of Burlington, and Oakville Galleries. Her photographs have been exhibited in Canada and the United States and her photos have been published in Azure magazine, Border Crossings, Canadian Art online, C Magazine and in numerous Canadian exhibition catalogues. For more information visit

A limited edition artist print of the project will be available for $50 in support of the RMG’s community outreach programs. The 8×12″ fine art prints are printed with archival ink on 100% cotton Hahnemïhle photo rag. Please visit to purchase in advance.

The artist and the RMG thank Durham College, Ed Video and Posterjack for their support of this project.

Find out more about SPIN at

Image: Katrina Jennifer Bedford, SPIN, (detail), 2012. Courtesy of the artist.

Meet our new CEO Donna Raetsen-Kemp

Donna Raetsen-Kemp is the RMG’s new Chief Executive Officer. Prior to joining us, she was managing the Station Gallery in Whitby. Stop by and welcome Donna to the RMG!

The RMG: What were you up to before the RMG?

Donna Raetsen-Kemp: For the past ten years I spent my days leading the arts and culture charge at Station Gallery in Whitby. I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to work together with the community to transform the gallery to a thriving people place. We set our sights on creating a warm and welcoming cultural hub. A gathering place with opportunities for people to engage with art in ways that were meaningful to them – a place for everyone. I’m immensely proud of the work we did there.

RMG: What drew you to the museum sector?

DRK: There were fascinating local and global things at play. Globally, the museum sector was on the cusp of a sweeping change. I found that notion exciting. Locally, there was a small, once bustling art gallery that I took classes at as a kid that had become quiet. It had just undergone a significant renovation. The opportunity to breathe life back into Station Gallery was compelling.

RMG: What is your favourite museum?

DRK: In 2012 I was part of a Canadian delegation of arts leaders on an exchange to Venice and Florence. We visited more museums than I can count, but the museum that left its mark was the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence. It’s one of those great museums that you’ve probably never heard of. Their approach is bold and innovative. They take a unapologetic stance about putting their community at the forefront of programming and redefining the museum experience. They invite the community to participate in simple and delightful ways. Palazzo Strozzi houses some of the most visited exhibitions — and has a reputation as the cool place to hang out. Their courtyard is open morning until evening with a wild array of activities that bring people together and connect them with artists and exhibitions. They bring stories to life. I still check in online regularly to see to what they’re up to.

RMG: What is your first memory of art?

DRK: It’s hard to pin down one defining moment. It’s a wonderful confluence of events and experiences.

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

DRK: I simply want to invite everyone in. Our doors are wide open. Drop by for 5 minutes or stay for hours. Let’s get to know each other a little better. What would you like to see in your RMG? I can’t wait to get the conversation started.


Image: Donna poses a the RMG with Director of Finance and Administration, Olinda Casimiro.

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.


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.


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.


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.

Toni Hamel’s new series, The land of Id

This post is by Heather Bulman, a public relations student at Durham College and the RMG’s current Communications Intern.

Toni Hamel was drawn to art very early in life. She remembers creating her first sculptures from the clay brought up from the ground after her parents added a well to the backyard of their Italian home. To this day, Hamel keeps the earliest evidence of her true passion – a photograph from kindergarten with a few drawings on the back.

In Italy, Hamel fought to pursue an education in the arts. Finally, in 1983, she graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the Academy of Fine Art in Lecce. However, after moving to Canada, she found it difficult to find a job with a degree in fine arts. Hamel took advantage of the dawn of technology by studying computer graphics at Sheridan College. As one of the few women working in technology at the time, she went on to have a very successful career as an interactive media developer and instructor at the University of Toronto. Despite her successes, Hamel grew tired of her career and, with the support of her husband, decided to return to her true passion. Since 2007, she has focused her creative efforts solely on her art. Although she incorporates many mediums into her pieces, she works mostly with graphite.

Toni Hamel painting in the Art Lab

Toni Hamel painting in the Art Lab

“I started as a painter, but then I got tired of colour. Colour distracts me,” says Hamel. “To me, it’s like decoration. In the work I have evolved to, there is no place for decoration – it’s about the essence. I extract everything else. In doing so, I arrived at drawings. Drawings don’t have contextual information, just the central message. I don’t produce images, I produce content.”

Beginning February 4, she will have the opportunity to create new content as the second artist in residency at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery (RMG) in Oshawa, Ont. In the galley’s Art Lab, attached to the recently opened Gallery A, Hamel will have the space to reflect on humans’ relationship with the environment in her new series, The land of Id. This subject matter will complement a current exhibition in the RMG, Running on Empty, while exploring different formats.

Hamel’s experiences in Italy have inspired her to explore powerful topics such as social and political issues. She believes artists have a responsibility to raise awareness about important topics and share their experiences.

“It is difficult for artists to get the general community interested in the arts,” explains Hamel. “When I was growing up in Italy, there were no galleries that offered art classes to a variety of generations, like the Station Gallery or the RMG. Gallery A gives the artists the opportunity to develop new pieces while sharing and engaging with the community.”

For this artist, it’s all about sharing a message. Hamel often uses humour and satire to explore controversial topics. While she admits that reality can be offensive sometimes, she also finds it challenging to find the right balance. As her work has evolved, Hamel has learned that sometimes she can say more with a whisper than a shout.

Toni Hamel’s exhibition The land of Id runs in Gallery A from March 3 to 29. Image by Toni Hamel.

RMG Friday March: Evolving Form

Our March event on 6 March from 7-10pm will engage with your senses! Both Graham Nicholas and Ryan Carr are acoustic roots singer-songwriters who will take us on a musical journey.

We also celebrate Jock Macdonald: Evolving Form, the major retrospective of the abstract artist and Painters 11 member Jock Macdonald. Create an artwork using your senses, tour the collection and learn more about the symposium, Abstraction in Canada hosted by the RMG on Saturday 7 March.

For more information:
Jock Macdonald: Evolving Form –
Ryan Carr-
Graham Nicholas –

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 RMG Fridays.

Image credits:
Left: Graham Nicholas. Photo by Laura Proctor Photography
Middle: Jock Macdonald, Rim of the Sky, 1958; oil on canvas; Collection of The Robert McLaughlin Gallery
Right: Ryan Carr