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Eryn O'Neill paints everyday construction scenes with fine art touch – Ottawa Business Journal

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We’ve all heard the joke that Ottawa has two seasons: winter and construction.

While the latter is often a nightmare for commuters, construction sites are just what artist Eryn O’Neill looks for when capturing the city’s evolving urban landscapes through her unique works of art.

“It comes down to catching a city before it’s finished,” explained O’Neill during an interview at The Rectory Art House, where she and nine other artists each have their own studio space. “I want to offer a visual break between the before, when everything is torn up, and the after, when the site is cleaned up and functional again.”

Don’t expect paintings of pretty flowers and breathtaking landscapes from O’Neill. She isn’t looking to provide the public with an escape from their city surroundings. “I’m putting them right back into that sensory overload,” she said of her depictions of real-life spaces, from construction sites to urban architecture to light rail transit-themed works.

O’Neill presents the everyday and overlooked. “No one stops to appreciate the staircase they’re walking up to get to work every day. Sometimes, you’re just on autopilot. It’s the same with moving through transit stations. You just keep moving. You’re not stopping to soak it in. My work offers this pause between moving through.”

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“Tunney’s Pasture”, 40″x48″ acrylic on canvas, was purchased by the City of Ottawa Art Collection in 2021. 

These days, the Ottawa construction community has been noticing and appreciating O’Neill’s work.

In June 2020, her paintings caught the eye of D-Squared Construction CEO Domenic Franco Madonna. The businessman checked out her solo art show at Wall Space Gallery in Westboro Village. Her series focused on the infrastructure within the LRT stations in Ottawa.

As well, he noticed her LinkedIn profile photo, taken by Dwayne Brown. She’s featured with one of her construction paintings in the background. It includes a safety traffic barrel in black and orange, which also happens to be D-Squared’s company colours. 

Rubber traffic cones and safety barriers are regularly featured in O’Neill’s work. So much so that people will bring damaged pylons to her. She has a collection of broken cones, stashed away in The Rectory Art House at 179 Murray St.

Madonna went on to hire O’Neill to create three paintings that were hung in his company’s head office in Greely. Not long after, Tomlinson Group of Companies approached the artist and commissioned her for an ongoing series of works to be displayed in the company’s beautiful new headquarters in Barrhaven. She’s been meeting with CEO Ron Tomlinson, touring the quarries and pits, getting up close to the heavy equipment machinery, and having conversations and forming connections with Tomlinson employees. 

“It’s been really fun,” said O’Neill, who snaps photos during her behind-the-scenes tours to take back with her to the studio. “I’m honoured that they’ve opened up this world to me and been so generous with their time and knowledge, and that they’re so enthusiastic.

“There are just not a lot of artists out there doing this. I don’t feel like I’m one of many, which is really exciting.”

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Ottawa artist Eryn O’Neill recently photographed scenes from the Tomlinson Stittsville quarry and plant site to take back to her studio.
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Ottawa artist Eryn O’Neill delivering her completed “Night Paving” painting to Tomlinson Group headquarters.

O’Neill, 36, was born in Ottawa and grew up in Westboro. She studied fine arts at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design before earning her Masters of Fine Art at the University of Waterloo, spending three months studying in Edinburgh, Scotland. She’s currently doing her second master’s degree, in art history and curatorial studies, at Carleton University.

She also has deep roots with the Ottawa School of Art. She started taking classes at the art school at age seven, followed by night classes throughout high school. When she moved back to Ottawa after grad school, she began teaching in OSA’s fine arts diploma program. 

O’Neill has had paintings purchased for the City of Ottawa’s Art Collection and Global Affairs’ Art Collection.

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Eryn O’Neill’s “Hurdman Station” 48”x36” acrylic on canvas, sold at Wall Space Gallery as part of her Ottawa Underground series exploring the new LRT stations.
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Eryn O’Neill’s “Lincoln Fields OC Transpo Station”, 36″x48″ acrylic on canvas, sold in 2020 at Wall Space Gallery. 

The artist said she’s always been fascinated by heavy machinery but that she discovered her love of construction sites while in Waterloo. The downtown core was undergoing heavy work during her time there. As an avid runner, she was continually jogging past the noise and chaos and finding inspiration for her paintings.

O’Neill has continued to explore her interest in transitional urban spaces upon her return to Ottawa. “It became less about getting stuck in it and a lot more about intentionally going out and finding construction sites,” said O’Neill.

She said she’s been inspired by American artist Charles Sheeler, who was hired in 1927 by Ford’s advertising agency to create a series of photographs of one of its automobile factories, and by Edward Burtynsky, who’s well known for his photographic documentation of industrial sites across Canada.

She’s currently working on a new series of paintings focused on The High Line, a public park built on the historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. The paintings will show at Wall Space Gallery in March 2022. 

As well, the two-time recipient of a grant from The Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation will create a new body of work based on phase two of the City of Ottawa’s LRT project. 

She hasn’t ruled out a fourth university degree in her future, either. It would involve the Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism at Carleton University. “My motivation to apply for a Masters of Architecture comes as a culmination of my years of practicing as an artist and wanting to expand my skills further into urban renewal and growth,” said O’Neill.

“I’ve been asked on several occasions where I studied architecture, due to my subject matter, so I figured I should have an answer.”

caroline@obj.ca

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Lawrence Weiner obituary – The Guardian

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Lawrence Weiner obituary  The Guardian



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Peter Lynch Gives More Than $20 Million In Rare Art To Boston College – Forbes

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Legendary Fidelity investor Peter Lynch has given more than $20 million in art from his and his late wife Carolyn’s private collection to Boston College. The gift includes 27 paintings and three drawings, which will go to Boston College’s McMullen Museum of Art.

The donated art includes pieces by Pablo Picasso, Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt, Childe Hassam, Albert Bierstadt, Martin Johnson Heade, and Jack Butler Yeats.

In addition to the works of art, Lynch also gave a $5 million grant to support the ongoing curation and exhibition of what will be called the Carolyn A. and Peter S. Lynch Collection, making the total gift “one of the largest in University history,” according to a press release from the school.

Lynch, former manager of Fidelity’s Magellan fund and current vice chairman of Fidelity, graduated in 1965 from Boston College. He said in the release that he donated the art to inspire students and museum visitors.

“My hope is that this artwork, all of which my wife Carolyn and I collected during our 50 years together, will help students to develop a deeper understanding of art and its importance as a form of expression,” he said.

The collection features a diversity of painting styles. Among the notable pieces are Pablo Picasso’s drawing Head; Winslow Homer’s painting Grace Hoops; Mary Cassatt’s watercolor Mother and Child; John Singer Sargent’s painting Olive Trees, Corfu; and Jack Butler Yeats’s 1929 painting Farewell to Mayo, which the actor Sir Laurence Olivier gave Vivien Leigh as a wedding present.

Theodore E. Stebbins Jr., the consultative curator of American art at Harvard University’s Fogg Museum and the former curator of American paintings at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, called the collection “an extraordinary compilation of artwork.”

Nancy Netzer, the Robert L. and Judith T. Winston Director of the McMullen Museum, called the donation “a transformational gift for the McMullen Museum.” She said the museum would work with Boston College faculty and students and other art scholars to conduct new research on the artwork and share it widely with other audiences.

Lynch said that when he and Carolyn married, they did not have the money to buy fine art so the collection came later. “We cherished having this art in our homes, but it is now time to give it away so that it can be studied and enjoyed by others.”

“I know that the collection was sought after by other museums, but I wanted it to go to my alma mater, which dramatically improved my life, and where my father taught mathematics and physics, my wife proudly received an honorary degree in 2009, and my daughter Annie spent four wonderful and productive years,” he said.

The Lynches have a long history of supporting Boston College. In 1999, they gave more than $10 million to name the Carolyn A. and Peter S. Lynch School of Education and Human Development. In 2010, their gift of $20 million established The Lynch Leadership Academy, which trains and provides support for principals and aspiring principals in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

“I am an extremely lucky person who has been so blessed in life,” said Lynch. “Giving this collection to Boston College is a small way for me to give back.”

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Art honours gold mining past | The Star – Toronto Star

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GOLDENVILLE – There may be less controversial traditions to commemorate, but for one St. Mary’s community, gold mining is not only a matter of local history; it’s in the town’s name. And now it’s recorded on canvas.

The Heritage Goldenville Society is marking the area’s past with a new water colour depiction of the area’s first mineral operation, circa 1860, by Sherbrooke artist Beverly Cameron, called Gold Mining Works at Goldenville.

According to the organization’s chair, Neil Black, proceeds from the sale of a limited number of prints will help support the society’s work to collect and preserve the community’s economic and social legacy. “Our whole source of revenue comes from bringing in donations at the door,” he said. “We have a nice little museum here with all sorts of interesting artifacts.”

Sherbrooke resident Cameron – who has exhibited her art in Fredericton, Saint John and Halifax – said she was happy to undertake the project after speaking with Black and other society members last year. “They offered to pay me, and I said I would be happy to make a donation,” she noted. “Gold on the Eastern Shore is part of our history.”

Between 1862 to 1941, production in the area reportedly topped 200,000 ounces, making Goldenville the unofficial gold capital of the province.

“Thousands of people actually lived and worked around here in those days,” Black said. “Folks spent their money in Sherbrooke, and you had teachers and church people arriving here [because of gold mining].”

Cameron said she had to undertake a bit of sleuthing to draw the picture accurately. “I just went and got a whole lot of different old pictures from the archives they [the Society] provided and put it together,” she explained. “I used line drawing and watercolor. So, what you’re seeing is me doing my very best to represent what it used to look like.”

Atlantic Gold, a subsidiary of Australian mining company St Barbara Ltd., hopes to build an open pit mine along the environmentally sensitive St. Mary’s River. The project has yet to undergo an environmental assessment, but opinions on both sides of the issue are running hot in the area. Despite this, however, Black says he hasn’t received any pushback from the community about the art fundraiser.

“There’s been absolutely none of that,” he stressed. “This was part of our history and it was economically good for the community at the time. And, of course, it was really before anybody had an understanding of environmental waste and damages.”

The society hopes to introduce a “non-invasive” gold panning program for residents and tourists this summer. “We won’t be using any chemicals. We’ll teach people how to pan for gold, and then offer a sourdough’s meal,” Black said. “People can go off and find history with their own hands.”

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