Throwing 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.
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.
“My kid could do that.” It’s a comment we hear from time to time at the Galleries, especially when we’re showing artwork that might, at first glance, seem deceptively simple to produce. More often than not, these remarks lead us to the best kinds of conversations with our visitors, about how and why contemporary artists do what they do, about what we want from art and about why we value some kinds of aesthetics over others.
But what’s so bad about kid’s art anyway? Anyone who’s stepped foot in a primary school classroom knows there’s some pretty genius stuff going on in there. A couple of years ago, an unnamed first grader from New York City got more than a bit of attention in literary circles for a poem they wrote during National Poetry Month:
We did the soft wind.
We danst slowly. We swrld
Aroned. We danst soft.
We lisin to the mozik.
We danst to the mozik.
We made personal space.
It was Sojourner Truth Parsons, one of the artists currently on view at the Galleries, that sent this poem our way, proof positive that kids have moments of brilliance that rival their adult peers.
Parsons’ own works are often lauded for their wonderfully ingenuous point of view. With their poppy colours, sparkling glitter and deliciously loose brushwork, these pieces are a delight for the eyes, and make for especially great viewing for our youngest audience members. That was confirmed this morning when we opened our doors before regular hours so that families and babies could enjoy an exhibition tour, story and song time, and a craft inspired by Parsons’ work. Hosted in partnership with the Oakville Public Library, the program saw moms, grandmas, aunties, and babies come with open eyes and open minds to turn out some lovely little artworks.
Longtime Oakville Galleries favourite Liz Magor just opened her retrospective you you you at the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst in Zurich last week. Here’s a throwback to a survey of her early works here in Oakville in 1993, which included this terrific piece Dorothy, A Resemblance (1981), a portrait rendered through cast lead objects. Photo: Rod Demerling.
This show is a staff favourite. Silent As Glue, featuring the work of Lynda Gammon, Matt Harle and Elspeth Pratt. Curated by the inimitable Micah Lexier back in 2010. Photo: Cheryl O’Brien.
We’ve got Mies on our mind this week. Here’s a glimpse of Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle’s 2001 video installation Alltagszeit (In Ordinary Time), which uses Mies van der Rohe’s Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin as its backdrop to terrific effect. Exhibited at Oakville Galleries at Centennial Square back in 2005. Photo: Peter MacCallum.
Vintage Wanda Koop! Here’s an install view of her 1991 exhibition Recent Paintings at Oakville Galleries at Centennial Square. Photo: Rod Demerling.