Collection Spotlight: Robert Fones

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main-1994_04_i1_FrontOn the heels of opening our summer painting show, An Assembly of Shapes, we’ve been thinking about the outstanding work of Toronto artist Robert Fones a lot these days, whose current retrospective at the Art Museum at the University of Toronto is a must-see. This painting, Flannels (1994), is held in Oakville Galleries’ collection, and exemplifies Fones’ canny approach to parsing out the forms that animate our everyday lives. Here, Fones uses his signature trompe l’oeil painting technique to render the work’s title, itself sourced from Catharine Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe’s, The American Woman’s Home, a nineteenth-century book on household design. In their tome, the word “flannels” appears on a diagram for a domestic organizing system—however, the word is plural and unclear: it could describe a napped woven cloth as readily as long dress trousers. Fones’ representation of the word is similarly ambiguous, hovering between two and three dimensions, occupying a single plane but offering the meticulous illusion of a relief sculpture.

Should Artists Shop or Stop Shopping?

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affidavit-heti-cwynar-6

Read Sheila Heti’s brilliant essay on Sara Cwynar’s work, “Should Artists Shop or Stop Shopping?” on Affidavit. This piece was originally written and presented as a talk for our Authors on Art series, held in partnership with the Oakville Public Library.

Sara Cwynar, Rose Gold, 2017, video still. Courtesy of the artist, Cooper Cole, Toronto and Foxy Production, New York.

From the archives: Ulrike Müller

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UlrikeMullerThrowing back to Ulrike Müller’s terrific Herstory Inventory (2009–2013) this International Women’s Day. This iteration of Müller’s project was installed as part of After My Own Heart at Oakville Galleries in spring 2013. Müller invited 100 feminists, queer artists and other interested people to create new images based on text descriptions of feminist t-shirts found on an inventory list at the Lesbian Herstory Archives in Brooklyn. Müller presented ten of these original drawings at Oakville Galleries—relating to books, shoes and non-normative cultural desires—along with Gathie Falk’s Standard Shoes, The Column (1998–1999) from our collection.

Installation view of After My Own Heart at Oakville Galleries at Centennial Square. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid.

Collection Spotlight: Spring Hurlbut

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1993_03_i13_3D3This week the great Spring Hurlbut—along with 7 other deserving laureates—was awarded the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts. This shot is a detail of a terrific early work of Spring’s—Dentil Entablature (1989)—that was acquired by Oakville Galleries twenty-five years ago. The title of the piece refers to dentils, the repeating block- or peg-like ornaments that regularly adorn classical entablature (the wide horizontal feature that sits atop columns often found on courthouses or municipal buildings, for example). In their stead, Hurlbut cleverly offers us dentals—horse teeth—objects once central to pagan sacrificial rites. Drawing parallels between decorative articulations of “civilization” and their roots in natural, ritualistic or ancient forms, Hurlbut guides us, as ever, toward the origins of things, toward the impulse to conventionalize, intellectualize or otherwise eschew those most primordial aspects of our history and being.

Warmest wishes for the holidays

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warmestwishes

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.

From the archives: Fig Trees

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img476e

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.

Collection Spotlight

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1997.04

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.”

From the archives: Oliver Husain

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Depth_of_Perception_02

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.

Collection Spotlight: Robert Fones

Posted on by .

main-1994_04_i1_FrontOn the heels of opening our summer painting show, An Assembly of Shapes, we’ve been thinking about the outstanding work of Toronto artist Robert Fones a lot these days, whose current retrospective at the Art Museum at the University of Toronto is a must-see. This painting, Flannels (1994), is held in Oakville Galleries’ collection, and exemplifies Fones’ canny approach to parsing out the forms that animate our everyday lives. Here, Fones uses his signature trompe l’oeil painting technique to render the work’s title, itself sourced from Catharine Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe’s, The American Woman’s Home, a nineteenth-century book on household design. In their tome, the word “flannels” appears on a diagram for a domestic organizing system—however, the word is plural and unclear: it could describe a napped woven cloth as readily as long dress trousers. Fones’ representation of the word is similarly ambiguous, hovering between two and three dimensions, occupying a single plane but offering the meticulous illusion of a relief sculpture.

Should Artists Shop or Stop Shopping?

Posted on by .

affidavit-heti-cwynar-6

Read Sheila Heti’s brilliant essay on Sara Cwynar’s work, “Should Artists Shop or Stop Shopping?” on Affidavit. This piece was originally written and presented as a talk for our Authors on Art series, held in partnership with the Oakville Public Library.

Sara Cwynar, Rose Gold, 2017, video still. Courtesy of the artist, Cooper Cole, Toronto and Foxy Production, New York.

From the archives: Ulrike Müller

Posted on by .

UlrikeMullerThrowing back to Ulrike Müller’s terrific Herstory Inventory (2009–2013) this International Women’s Day. This iteration of Müller’s project was installed as part of After My Own Heart at Oakville Galleries in spring 2013. Müller invited 100 feminists, queer artists and other interested people to create new images based on text descriptions of feminist t-shirts found on an inventory list at the Lesbian Herstory Archives in Brooklyn. Müller presented ten of these original drawings at Oakville Galleries—relating to books, shoes and non-normative cultural desires—along with Gathie Falk’s Standard Shoes, The Column (1998–1999) from our collection.

Installation view of After My Own Heart at Oakville Galleries at Centennial Square. Photo: Toni Hafkenscheid.

Collection Spotlight: Spring Hurlbut

Posted on by .

1993_03_i13_3D3This week the great Spring Hurlbut—along with 7 other deserving laureates—was awarded the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts. This shot is a detail of a terrific early work of Spring’s—Dentil Entablature (1989)—that was acquired by Oakville Galleries twenty-five years ago. The title of the piece refers to dentils, the repeating block- or peg-like ornaments that regularly adorn classical entablature (the wide horizontal feature that sits atop columns often found on courthouses or municipal buildings, for example). In their stead, Hurlbut cleverly offers us dentals—horse teeth—objects once central to pagan sacrificial rites. Drawing parallels between decorative articulations of “civilization” and their roots in natural, ritualistic or ancient forms, Hurlbut guides us, as ever, toward the origins of things, toward the impulse to conventionalize, intellectualize or otherwise eschew those most primordial aspects of our history and being.

Warmest wishes for the holidays

Posted on by .

warmestwishes

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.

From the archives: Fig Trees

Posted on by .

img476e

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.

Collection Spotlight

Posted on by .

1997.04

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.”

From the archives: Oliver Husain

Posted on by .

Depth_of_Perception_02

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.