READY PLAYER TWO / Sonny Assu + Brendan Tang

Opening Reception
Fri 7 Sept 2018 7PM
On display until 7 December 2018

Programmed in support of Celebration of Nations
taking place Fri 7 Sept – Sun 9 Sept in downtown
St. Catharines. For more info on festival events visit celebrationofnations.ca

An art exhibit about the joys of gaming, sci-fi, and comics;
About cultural identity, pop culture, and growing up a ‘geek’;
Partly nostalgic for an ado­lescence spent living in the rec-rooms of the 1980s and 90s;
Also humourous, imaginative, and executed with a great level of craft;
Two artists transform the Niagara Artists Centre this fall 

Brendan Lee Satish Tang and Sonny Assu combine elements from science fiction, comic book, and gaming cultures to consider how these forms alternately reinforce and transcend racial boundaries in youth culture. In their individual practices, Tang and Assu frequently negotiate the material and conceptual dynamics of culture and ethnicity.  Informed by their mixed-race backgrounds and experiences of Canadian life in the 1980s and 1990s, for this exhibition the artists bring together found objects, selections from previous bodies of work, and new collaborative pieces to create immersive spaces that evoke the adolescent sanctuaries of their time: the basement, the arcade, and the comic book store.

Ready Player Two
is curated by Laura Schneider and organized and circulated by The ReachThis project is made possible through generous support from the Canada Council for the Arts.


ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Sonny Assu was raised in North Delta, BC, over 250 km away from his home ancestral home on unceded Liǥwildaʼx̱w territory (Campbell River, BC.). Along with his extensive exhibition record Assu has been long-listed for the Sobey Art Award three times and his work can be found in numerous collections including the National Gallery of Canada, Seattle Art Museum, Vancouver Art Gallery, and the Burke Museum at the University of Washington.  He holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Concordia University.

Brendan Lee Satish Tang was born in Dublin to Trinidadian parents of Chinese and South Asian descent and lives in Vancouver, BC. He earned his formal art education on both Canadian coasts and the American Midwest. Tang has participated in residencies and exhibitions internationally was a nominee for the 2017 LOEWE Craft Prize, an annual international award celebrating excellence in craftsmanship. He has lectured at conferences and academic institutions across the continent, and is currently a sessional instructor at Emily Carr University.

THANK YOU
This exhibit is generously sponsored by our friends at CMS Intelligence, Elgin Contracting & RestorationHughes & Co.,  Generator at One, RAMM Design Labs, and Brainkite Artistic Solutions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time Stops by Paul Roorda / Flea Market Gallery

Time Stops / Paul Roorda
Flea Market Gallery
St. Catharines Factory Outlet Flea Market
Open 
Sundays from 9AM-4:30PM

Originally presented as a temporary public art project in downtown Waterloo, Time Stops, the name for these micro-galleries,  were found attached to wooden utility poles for people to discover as they walked through their neighbourhoods. Displayed together in the gallery, themes of climate change, time, and memory emerge as the Time Stops amuse us with their melodies. Reminiscent of cabinets of curiosity, flea market displays, shadowboxes, and surreal art, Time Stops invite people to step out of their thoughts and intended path to experience an intimately scaled poetic event. The altered chimes of a child’s music box accompany nostalgic images of floods and skies. By adding clocks, barometers, and other vintage curiosities, viewers are gently challenged to reconsider their place in a world of quickly changing climate.

Paul Roorda is a Waterloo artist who transforms found materials to create two-dimensional art, sculptures, and outdoor site-specific installations that examine the relationship between religion, medicine, science, and environmentalism He has exhibited extensively with solo exhibitions in Canada, the United States, and Germany and has been awarded grants from the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts.  Paul Roorda was a finalist for the 2016 K.M. Hunter Artist Award in Ontario. He has also been the subject of an episode of “The Artist’s Life” which aired on Bravo TV in 2005. Roorda was Artist in Residence for the City of Kitchener, Ontario, in 2007 and at GlogauAIR in Berlin, in 2012 and 2015. His public interventions have been displayed in neighbourhoods in Kitchener/Waterloo, Toronto, and Ottawa. Recent art examines the human experience of climate change and the passage of time in slow moving kinetic sculptures and publicly installed musical micro-galleries.

For more information, please go to www.paulroorda.com

 

 

 

 

A History of TIME STOPS as Public Art
Read about the show’s history as public art, from first discovery in Waterloo neighbourhoods, to an order to remove the work, to the return of the art to the street, and finally to the work being stolen.

 

 

Sprout + About / Emma Lee Fleury / Plate Glass Gallery Spring 2018

SPROUT + ABOUT
Emma Lee Fleury
NAC’s Plate Glass Gallery
In celebration of In the Soil Arts Festival YR 10

An installation made of recycled mediums and organic matter in response to the current state of Planet Earth. Emma’s installation works are the explorations of methods that can be used within sustainable art making intended to push the boundaries of what can be done with “things” considered omitted, extending the life and use of human inventions with creative interventions that invite all energies to connect.

Emma Lee Fleury is a multidisciplinary artist and musician from the Niagara Region. Her work revolves around perceptions of the earth, the sun, black holes – and beyond – the energies rendering us grounded, the environment, time in presence and in memory passing through in reactory waves of love, sound and recycled mixed-mediums. Her bands are Niagara’s Moonfox and GTA Collective Fat Moth.

LESSER GODS / Bevan Ramsay / Fri 11 May 2018

LESSER GODS
Bevan Ramsay

Show Room Gallery
Opening Reception Friday 11 May at 7PM
On display until Friday 3 August 2018

It is hardly surprising that in our society perceptions of homeless persons remain two-dimensional, stereotypical, inadequate. Even for the rare administration tackling the problems of homelessness in an effective, meaningful way, the homeless person’s humanity is buried beneath a mountain of endless statistical markers: mental illness, substance abuse, soup-kitchen attendance, etc. The enormous negativity lingering about the resultant profile permits scant room for other, arguably important accoutrements of the human experience—character, emotion, intellect, beauty, relationship to divinity—and leaves homeless persons basically where they already are: on the street, the objects of middle-class loathing or pity.

Struck by this depressing determinism, artist Bevan Ramsay set out to cast portrait busts of homeless persons (one woman, the others men), producing an edition in fine, white statuary Hydrocal plaster mounted on mahogany bases. These portraits, titled Lesser Gods, are objects of fine craftsmanship, skillfully rendered and strikingly beautiful, and they permit us to reconsider these folks not through the screen of stereotypes or statistics, but as individuals, complicating our urge to pity.

A Montrealer by upbringing, until recently Ramsay lived and worked out of New York, a city in which homelessness is closely contiguous with the city’s history and identity. In a certain irony, homeless people are statistically more likely to be native to New York than most New Yorkers. Yet, although they are more closely tied to place than the housed citizens (including Ramsay) of this intensely transplanted city, they are politically non-existent.

Accordingly, Ramsay spent many hours in conversation with his portrait subjects, getting to know them and letting them determine the course of the discussion. Most were open and forthcoming; only one remained demure. Biographical details were left out for privacy’s sake. Mindful of the need to respect person and character, and confronted by complex, daunting ethical issues, Ramsay did not rush to realize the project.

Baroque portraiture supplied Ramsay with an art-historical antecedent; with its emphasis on asymmetry, such portraiture yields greater charismatic possibilities than classical traditions. Rather than ideals or types, baroque portraiture insists on character, allowing the artist’s subjects to be “immortalized in high style,” as Ramsay explains.

We experience ourselves suddenly free to appreciate each subject’s facial expression and attitude, decisions on hair and beard grooming, or jacket style. And in Ramsay’s plaster, quite similar to porcelain, there is neither stench nor besmirchment—no abjection, no “street”—and we begin to understand what it is about homelessness that so terrifies the middle classes in the age of austerity. This guy—he could be you or me. Your son or my father. Our brother.

– Edwin Janzen

Meanwhile out on Hudson’s Bay / Melt: a new series of paintings by Kurt Swinghammer

Meanwhile out on Hudson’s Bay
Melt: a new series of paintings by Kurt Swinghammer

Show Room Gallery and special to the Dennis Tourin Members Gallery
Opening Reception Friday 27 April at 8PM
In conjunction with In the Soil Arts Festival

It was close to 100 years ago that Group Of Seven founder Lawren Harris painted highly stylized depictions of snow capped Rocky Mountains and Artic ice flows. As a young art enthusiast, Kurt Swinghammer absorbed this work via reproductions hung in his public school. In his teens, Swinghammer was soaking up library books on the modernist colour field work of Group of Eleven’s Jack Bush along with the British Op Art movement’s Bridget Riley. These three streams of influence come together in Swinghammer’s new series of acrylic paintings called “Melt.”

Each canvas shows a graphically designed iceberg floating in an infinite body of water. Hundreds of carefully mixed shards of colour achieves a strong sense of depth and has become a signature technique for Swinghammer. The Melt series continues his interest in exploring a traditional Canadian subject matter in a contemporary manner.

Complimenting the exhibit is a screening of Swinghammer’s Turpentine reWIND. These animated videos accompany instrumental remixes of five tracks from his song cycle homage to Tom Thomson, Turpentine Wind from 2010. The animations slowly explore a series of paintings that are based on the digital WAV files of the vocal recordings from the album. Swinghammer painted on 8”x10” birch panels, the format used by Thomson in the field. WAV files can look strikingly similar to shorelines reflected in a still lake, one of the common themes of Thomson’s landscapes. The music was written, arranged and performed by Kurt with contributions from a number of prominent Toronto musicians and production by multiple Juno Award winning producer Michael Phillip Wojewoda.

You Can Never Go Home / Jennifer Akkermans

You Can Never Go Home
Jennifer Akkermans
On display beginning Sunday 1 April 2018

Flea Market Gallery

This installation, You Can Never Go Home, reflects the idea of irreconcilable, parallel homes, one that’s here and one that’s there. Themes such as longing and belonging, lost-ness, memory, nostalgia, loneliness, time, place, futility, family, and absence are all present. One wall of the gallery is filled with objects that represent my accumulated, obsessive search for belonging and a sense of home. It is crammed full of lightboxes, handmade houses, tools, building materials, jigs, a cuckoo clock, handmade objects, toys, mementos, suitcases, etc. There are windows and peepholes to look inside of, and still images and videos of rural landscapes and of myself attempting to build a home. There are miniatures, trinkets, material experiments and moving parts—an abundance of curious objects that I have both built and collected. The installation is crowded, raw, with works half-finished and cords tucked in haphazardly, yet it is also carefully arranged. Reminiscent of my grad school studio, it conveys a nervous energy, an anxiety, and a case of horror vacui (the fear of empty space).  As a maximalist, I fill every available space with the things I like, enjoy, and find comforting—things I have collected that make me feel happy and calm.  In a way, I am a bowerbird, creating a nest full of attractive objects that I have amassed in order to protect and insulate myself from the outside world.

In a sense, the works are an accumulation of failures, of my unsuccessful attempts to make myself a new home.  In contrast, one quiet piece, a small, white, rectangular box on the wall allows us access to a very intimate space through a peephole- my studio, where, almost unwittingly, I have made myself a home through the time and effort of all the failed attempts.

 

 

I HAVE A VISION IN MY MIND OF A LIFE THAT I’VE LEFT BEHIND / Cody + Connor Smith / Sat 11 Nov 3PM-5PM

I HAVE A VISION IN MY MIND OF A LIFE THAT I’VE LEFT BEHIND
Cody and Connor Smith
Opening Reception Saturday 11 November 3PM-5PM
Show Room Gallery at NAC

>> Check the CBC article here

“I HAVE A VISION IN MY MIND OF A LIFE THAT I’VE LEFT BEHIND” is a series of collaborative paintings created by two brothers, while living 5000 kilometres apart from each other. Their collaborative process involved sending paintings back and forth between Toronto and Vancouver over the course of one year. The resulting works are hybrid images that existed simultaneously in multiple geographical areas.

About the Artists
Cody and Connor Smith are Visual Artists currently based out of Vancouver and Toronto Canada. Both brothers are graduates of the OCAD University Drawing and Painting Program; receiving their BFA’s in 2010 and 2017.

Growing up in St. Catharines Ontario in the most populated area of Canada, surrounded by the Great Lakes, and geographically almost as low in latitude as Northern California, the brothers feel that this gave them a unique sense of PLACE which they have embraced in their individual practices today.

About the Work

Our paintings are images that stretch time; like a photograph taken from a camera with a shutter speed of 100 years. They are a portrayal of the human condition in the modern world.

The viewer is challenged with an image on a wall that is in a constant state of becoming. There is no end game with these paintings. We found the push and pull of different minds working in collaboration created works with a dream-like presence, as if they were floating in limbo. This was not planned but a result of the explorative process

In creating these works we were interested in challenging the painting process. We were trying to find a new way to paint a picture; branching out from the traditional means of creating a painting with an easel and palette.

There is a real interesting give and take that exists while painting on a canvas that has the ghost of your brother in it. Many times we found ourselves emulating each other’s styles. Other times we each would implement an editing process on the other’s work, attacking an element of the canvas that we did not like; finding ourselves painting over something that the other had spent time on. There are countless complete images that lie beneath the facade of the painting presented to the viewer. They are alive with buried images!

Everything we have ever felt, seen, experienced, and longed for is present in these paintings. There is joy and there is sadness. There is love and there is hate. There is life and there is death. Many times these paintings balance on a fine line between two extremes.

There was 5000km separating us while we sent work back and forth to each other. These images took a journey. In between our studios was Canada; with all its trees, rocks, oil, clouds, suns, moons, lakes, rivers, stars, mists, wolves, birds, streets, bridges, fences, sidewalks, parks, windows, and many human lives.

All That and a Bag of Chips / Trisha Lavoie at the Flea Market Gallery / Fall+Winter 2017

ALL THAT AND A BAG OF CHIPS
Installation by Trisha Lavoie
NAC’s Flea Market Gallery
46 Turner Crescent / St. Catharines

Opens Sunday 15 October 2017

In the work All That and a Bag of Chips fibre artist Trisha Lavoie creates a small cozy living room space in the Flea Market. A living room wherein the accessories have been replaced with soft sculptures of non-necessities or items of indulgence. The snacks we “reward” ourselves with, our “guilty pleasures”, the things we in no way need but have often developed a complicated relationship with as they have been imprinted as items of comfort. The crocheted items in this way also act as a double surrogate of comfort and security as they stand in for household items, the things we surround ourselves with as expressions of ourselves, how we establish our sense of “home”. 

We Aspire: An exhibit of work by Métis artists in Niagara / Sat 9 Sept 2017

We Aspire
An exhibit of work by Métis artists in Niagara
Dennis Tourbin Members Gallery / Niagara Artists Centre
Featuring work by Brian Kon, Sterling Kon, Amanda Pont-Shanks, and Julia Simone

Opening Reception Saturday 9 September 6PM
On display until Friday 22 September

 

Honoring the tradition of Métis dot art and bead work, We Aspire features work by four Métis visual artists living in Niagara. The custom of bead patterning was traditionally used by the Métis to adorn their clothes, equipment and animals.

“The Metis were known as the ‘flower bead people’, my art is intended to honor the skills and artistry of my ancestors by using traditional and historic bead patterns as the inspiration for my work,” says Brian Kon, one of the artists featured in the exhibit.

The exhibit opens on Saturday 9 September at 6PM in conjunction with Where the Weather Happens: An Exhibit of Contemporary Métis Art curated by Amy Malbeuf and Jessie Short in the Show Room Gallery.

We Aspire is presented by the Niagara Artists Centre with support from the Niagara Region Métis Council and in partnership with Celebration of Nations and the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre.

 

About the Artists
Brian Kon
Brian is an indigenous artist with a passion for preserving the culture and history of Métis people. Brian creates modern versions of historic bead patterns traditionally used by Métis to adorn their clothes, equipment and animals. By replicating bead patterns using individual “dots” of paint he honors the tradition on canvas.

Sterling Kon
Sterling is a proud Métis artist and entrepreneur who grew up in the Niagara region after moving from Winnipeg at a young age with his family. In 2017 his work was displayed internationally at festivals in Canada and as far away as Ethiopia. Sterling finds inspiration from both the traditions of the Métis and modern works.

Amanda Pont-Shanks
Amanda has an Art and Design diploma from Niagara College as well as a diploma in Early Childhood Education and currently works for the Métis Nation of Ontario as a Family Wellbeing Coordinator. Her art is inspired by Métis traditions and memories of her great grandfather’s garden in Beamsville. She works in several mediums including painting, beadwork, drawing, and paper art.

Julia Simone
Julia is a 13 year-old emerging artist from École Notre Dame de la Jeunesse in Niagara Falls. She is currently the Artist-in-Residence for a not-for-profit organization called Seedling for Change.  She collaborated on a logo design, featured in this show, for one of their current projects, Share Peace, Discover Niagara River.

 

 

Development Proposal / Christopher Harms / Sept 2017

Development Proposal
Christopher Harms

Plate Glass Gallery at NAC

Development Proposal is an installation that looks skyward to what will be, by starting at the foundation.  Creating vibrant sculptures with plexiglass, the artist uses a light and colourful ascetic to represent the heavy construction excavators that shift and shape our urban landscape.  The viewer is invited to discover the unique reflections, surfaces, and layering in the work as this rough and messy ordeal is now transformed by a luminous filter of wonder at what the future may hold.

Chris Harms is a self taught, Toronto-based artist. In 2012, Chris began working with acrylic plastics and was captivated by their transparency, electric edges, and colourful shadows.  All pieces are hand-cut and riveted together, lending a precise yet human touch to the work.