One of the earliest photographs in Oakville Galleries’ collection is this work by Peter MacCallum, who has spent more than forty years meticulously documenting Toronto’s architecture, industry and urban spaces. A slice of vintage Hogtown, Spadina Hotel at Night (1979) captures a bygone era at the corner of King and Spadina, with the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce on one corner and the legendary Spadina Hotel—whose Cabana Room was then home to a raucous underground art and music scene—on the other. Like many of MacCallum’s early photographs, this work alludes to the vibrancy taking shape in Toronto at the time, even as the city maintained a reputation for being staid and buttoned up.
Jeannie Thib’s Untitled (1993) features tree branches that have been carved with ambiguous phrases culled from a book on animal behaviour: including “Sound signals,” “Natural tools,” “Trail marking,” and “Ritual play.” Through her sculptural and installation-based work, Thib regularly explored the intricate connections between domestic landscapes and those of the so-called ‘natural’ world.
If you’re visiting Oakville Galleries in Gairloch Gardens this summer, make sure to check out Giant Beaver Charm (1999–2000), a site-specific commission by Canadian artist-duo FASTWÜRMS. The charm bracelet—made for a distinctive willow tree next to the pond in Gairloch Gardens—features a variety of symbols: stars, horseshoes, snowmen, and a single giant beaver tooth.