Tag Archives: Gairloch Gardens

Collection Spotlight: Valérie Blass

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2012_03

With Cosima von Bonin’s sea creatures all around us this past month, we’re seeing underwater life everywhere we look these days. Gairloch Gardens has flooded repeatedly over the past week, as the stormy waters of Lake Ontario breach the lake wall and spill into the park. As bulldozers tried to get the lake water back where it belongs, we half-expected to see something akin to Valérie Blass’ Presque Plus emerge. This sculpture, held in the Galleries’ collection, sees Blass erect a beguiling pair of swamp-like creatures from just a ghillie suit (a camouflaging costume used by hunters and military snipers) and a found metal armature. Much like von Bonin’s works, this clever combination of objects carries a dark humour, an erotic undertone and an uncanny familiarity.

The view from my office

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For the past 19 years the view from my office window has always been breathtaking. Whether it’s blowing snow, damp and dull, calm and sunny, or windy enough for waves to be rolling over the breaker wall in Gairloch Gardens, the view of the lake never disappoints. I’m not alone in feeling this way—over the years, Oakville Galleries has exhibited a number of artists who have created site-specific works using this exact vista.

To me, these works capture milestones in the garden’s development, documenting how the landscape has changed over the past twenty years. As you will see in the four pictures below, the view from my office window is nothing if not dynamic. Each day is a new adventure in colour and texture. I see various forms of wildlife and get to hear the sounds of Lake Ontario throughout the day. I consider myself to be one of the luckiest people in the world—each day I experience a different view of the gardens and it makes me feel like I have escaped to the cottage, away from the bustle of life in the city.

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Angela Grauerholz, By the Lake, Oakville, 1995. Collection of Oakville Galleries, purchased with the support of the Corporation of the Town of Oakville, the Elizabeth L. Gordon Art Program of the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation and the Oakville Galleries Volunteer Association, 1995.

MFFT

David Rokeby, Machine for Taking Time, 2001-in progress, computer-assisted, site-specific video installation. Collection of Oakville Galleries, purchased with the support of the Cananda Council for the Arts Acquisition Assistance Program, the Corporation of the Town of Oakville, the Edna Powers Memorial Fund, and the Oakville Galleries Volunteer Association, 2001.

Ron Benner

Installation view of Ron Benner’s Trans/mission: African Vectors on view from June 2002 to November 2004.

Rokeby

David Rokeby, In the Offing (composite image), 2011–2013, computer, stored digital images, custom software. Collection of Oakville Galleries, purchased with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts Acquisition Assistance Program, the Corporation of the Town of Oakville, 2007.

Child’s play

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LeporelliWith most of Oakville Galleries’ education programs running at our location in Gairloch Gardens, it’s easy to identify what we do with this place. A conversation I have almost daily is how stunning it is here. And it is! The gardens, lake and horizon are all pretty spectacular. But what makes Gairloch so special, I think, isn’t just the view beyond our windows, but all the formative encounters with art that take place within our walls.

A few weeks ago, we hosted a group of local moms and toddlers for an exhibition tour and artmaking workshop. For a few of the little ones, it wasn’t just their first time visiting a gallery, it was their first time getting to paint! A two-year old boy learned how to hold a paintbrush for the first time; a little girl discovered finger painting, using every colour she could get her hands on; another was blown away to see how red and white mix together to make pink. These are the moments—moments that have happened thousands upon thousands of times here—that make Gairloch such a wonderful place to come to work every day. What may seem at first glance like child’s play is really a milestone for parents and children: in their cognitive and creative development, and in their relationship with each other.

Want to experience a little of the magic firsthand? Come by our free Family Day workshop this coming Monday and see where it can lead! Or bring the whole family to visit one of our exhibitions and follow it with some at-home craft time. You’ll be delighted to see what creativity it prompts.

Etel Adnan: Sea and Fog

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Oakville Galleries’ current exhibition takes its title, Sea and Fog, from a 2012 publication by Etel Adnan. As with many of Adnan’s written works, weather phenomena and motifs from the natural world—the sea, the sun, fog, fires, deserts and storms—form a continuous backdrop to a series of prose-poetry meditations on time, place, poetry, war, love and loss.

She writes, for example: The sky fell and storms blew on its face. It sank deeper; in that maelstrom humans lost balance. There were fires on earth and questioning in the waters.

Despite the dark charge of such passages, however, the sea, as ever, is a restorative force: We fear violence, but more feared is its absence. So heavy is the world becoming. Heavy in the soul. A few laps in the ocean will bring rest.

And later in the book she urges her readers to: Look well at the Pacific before you die. The best of the promised paradises have neither its hues nor its splendor.

With this book, Adnan continues to eloquently give voice to the trauma of an increasingly unsettled world, and to remind us that art, poetry, and the natural world may offer much-needed moments of liberation, resistance and respite.

Etel-Adnan-4Images (top to bottom): Selected poetry and prose by Etel Adnan; Installation view of Etel Adnan: Sea and Fog at Oakville Galleries in Gairloch Gardens. Left: Montagnes 4, 2015, india ink on paper. Centre: Forêt automnale, 2015, wool tapestry. Courtesy of Galerie Lelong. Photos: Toni Hafkenscheid.

Collection Spotlight: FASTWÜRMS

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FASTWÜRMS, Giant Beaver Charm, 1999–2000.

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.