Late last fall, Oakville Galleries initiated Seniors Studio Connection, a series of hands-on art workshops for seniors of varying abilities, including those living with physical or cognitive impairments. As a way of making the program accessible, several workshops include free bussing from local seniors residences to the Galleries and back.
It seems fitting that participants travel together for the program, since the art we discuss and make frequently evokes stories about the places we’ve been and where we’d like to go. Participants at one recent workshop made collages loosely exploring that topic: one woman created a red carpet scene set in Paris with an invigorating wash of blue sky in the background, while another assembled her dream garden with a bench to soak it all in, hemming her scene in a pink painted border. Anecdotes, aspirations and artistic advice abounded—including on the bus ride home—reminding us that some journeys are best taken with others.
The next workshop is January 26 in Gairloch Gardens. For more information, visit our website.
Funded by the Government of Ontario
We’d like to extend a big thank you to our visitors, members, individual donors, corporate supporters, foundation partners and core funders for their generous support in 2017. Planning to visit us over the holidays? FASTWÜRMS and Tamara Henderson will continue until Saturday, December 30th. Please note that the Galleries will be closed December 24th through 26th.
On World AIDS Day, we’re throwing back to John Greyson & David Wall’s exhibition Fig Trees. Greyson and Wall staged the first version of this documentary opera about South African AIDS activist Zackie Achmat at Oakville Galleries in 2003. They went on to make it into a feature film in 2009.
Installation view of Fig Trees at Oakville Galleries in Gairloch Gardens. Photo: Peter MacCallum.
August is here, which always makes us think of Zacharias Kunuk’s exceptional video work Nunaqpa (Going Inland) (1991). Reconstructing Inuit life prior to World War II, Nunaqpa tracks two Igloolik families as they head inland one August in search of summer-fat caribou, hoping to cache enough meat for the winter ahead. Re-staging a critical juncture in Inuit history—depicting life in the 1930s well after first contact with white whalers and priests, but before Igloolik families gave up their life on the land for settlement in permanent villages—Kunuk provides us with a glimpse into a recent past, one whose legacy has been preserved sparingly. Video, Kunuk points out, is an apt corollary to Inuit traditions of oral history, saying of making the work, “We are in a hurry because our elders are going. Knowledge is going. Pretty soon we’ll all be buried on the hill. […] You can just talk about the old days, but you can also show the old days. Actually seeing it, you get more pleasure out of it.”
It’s hard not to love the smart, funny work of Toronto artist Oliver Husain, whose Five Thinking Hats are included in our current exhibition Propped. We’ve been longtime fans of Oliver’s here at the Galleries—here’s a throwback to another gem of his, a screening room he put together for his work in our 2015 exhibition Depth of Perception.
Installation view of Oliver Husain, Purfled Promises, 2009. From Depth of Perception, Oakville Galleries, 18 January – 15 March 2015. Courtesy of the artist and Susan Hobbs Gallery, Toronto. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid.
We recently spent the day tie-dyeing in our summer camps. A summer classic, tie-dye never disappoints—kids are inevitably thrilled with the results and the process is a lot of fun.
Kids’ amusement is as good a reason as any for an art project, but the reason we return to tie-dying again and again has more to do with what the process models, encouraging children to experiment with materials, to make choices—often blindly—and be comfortable not knowing what their finished product might look like. For us, success isn’t necessarily measured by a project’s final form, but through the discovery and delight generated throughout its production.
As Sir Ken Robinson has famously said, “If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.” It’s an idea we think about often in the Galleries’ education department and one that can be a powerful revelation—having things turn out differently than expected isn’t always so terrible. Such outcomes provide a foundation on which to build confidence and creativity, to develop problem-solving skills, gain access to important forms of self-expression, and to discover new ideas. In fact, some of our greatest artistic achievements—in summer camps and otherwise!—have come from accidents, mistakes or oversights. Little bloopers like these, simple as they may seem, can really add up to create rewarding relationships with our own imaginations.
Bet you’ll never look at tie-dye the same way again!
Guest curator Gabrielle Moser discusses the group exhibition Propped at Oakville Galleries. Video by Mike Dopsa.
After acquiring Bridget Moser’s terrific video Asking for a friend (2013) for our collection back in 2015, we’re delighted to finally have an opportunity to exhibit it in this summer’s group exhibition Propped, curated by art historian (and sister of Bridget) Gabrielle Moser. As Gabrielle writes of the work, Bridget “blend[s] prop comedy, existential prose, self-help television scripts, and choreography, put[ting] everyday objects to unexpected and ridiculous uses.” A canny reflection on our current culture of self-improvement, Asking for a friend poses a series of questions, both introspective and acerbic, about the nature of creative expression and measures for personal success—and doesn’t produce a single answer. Along with fellow Propped artist Divya Mehra, Bridget has been shortlisted for this year’s Sobey Art Award, timely recognition on both counts for two of Canada’s sharpest artists.
This month the curatorial office at Oakville Galleries has been reading Jane Urquhart’s A Number of Things, a series of meditations on fifty objects, each offering a glimpse into the complex history of Canada’s nationhood.
Art, by its very nature, has always been concerned with objects. Our current exhibition, Propped, thinks about how objects take on new meanings when they are used or activated in certain ways. The opposite might also be true: surely we are changed by our interactions with objects; the stories they tell about us, the influence they have on our lives.
In the inaugural talk for our new Authors on Art series last week, Urquhart spoke beautifully to these ties, describing how her own life has been enmeshed with and gained meaning from certain objects—from crockery and a pair of slippers to photographs, homes and memorial stones.
Image: Visitor with Abbas Akhavan’s work. Photo: Mike Dopsa.