A new collaborative art series between artist Jennifer Young and Inuk Elder Ellen Ford documents the stories of Ford’s life through encaustic paintings.
Young, a retired management consultant, spent most of her time working with Indigenous communities, including with Ford’s daughter, Valeri Pilgrim, and it was during one of Pilgrim’s visits to Young’s studio in St. John’s that the idea for the series — titled UnikKausiga, an Inuttitut word that means “my story” — was sparked.
Young says she was fascinated by Ford’s stories and wanted to collaborate with her. As a non-Indigenous person Young said, she believes working together to tell stories is an important part of the reconciliation process.
“We need Indigenous and non-Indigenous working together to tell stories, to understand them, to understand the impact of them. And her stories are beautiful, it was just such an easy thing to want to translate,” said Young.
Encaustic painting involves using a heated medium to create the artwork. For her paintings, Young melted together beeswax and tree resin and added layers to the paintings, scraping layers of the wax away to showcase the colours underneath, even embedding wax moulds and photographs printed on tissue paper.
Young had been working on encaustic maps of different places around the province, one of those being Hebron, a resettled community north of Nain that is now a National Historic Site of Canada. When Pilgrim saw the map she told Young about her mother’s connection to the area, and the series was born.
Stories from the heart
When Ford was first approached by Young, she says, she couldn’t believe someone would want to tell her stories through their artwork but she became intrigued and even a little excited about the process.
Ford told Young stories about her parents, living off the land, attending boarding schools in Labrador and going to St. Anthony, on Newfoundland’s Northern Peninsula. When Ford’s parents would go to their gathering place in the winter, she would stay in Nain at the boarding school. When Ford was eight years old there was no teacher at the boarding school in Nain and she had to go to the Yale School in North West River.
“Growing up sometimes there were hard times, but the best times that I really enjoyed was when we’d go off on the land and be gone for most [of the year]. Then of course, it was come back going to school, which I wasn’t really fussy about but I went anyway, because of course, you listen to your parents,” said Ford.
Ford says she “couldn’t get over” Young’s paintings and is proud of the work they created together, with her favourite the one about her story of going egging — harvesting eggs from nests — with her sister on an island between Nain and Hopedale.
Paintings turned trees into central characters in Canadian art: expert – OrilliaMatters
ORILLIA MUSEUM OF ART & HISTORY
In her introduction to this year’s Carmichael Art History Lecture fundraiser, Executive Director of the Orillia Museum of Art & History (OMAH), Ninette Gyorody paid tribute to Qennefer Browne. It was a remembrance of gratitude.
Browne founded our annual Art History Lecture and named it in honour of Franklin Carmichael, a member of the Group of Seven, who was born in Orillia. Browne organized speakers for many years, until her death.
This year, we were incredibly fortunate to have Dr. Anna Hudson, who teaches Art History and Visual Culture in the Arts Music Performance Dance (AMPD) Department of York University, as our distinguished lecturer.
Her compelling presentation was a focus of her doctoral dissertation, “Art and Social Consciousness: The Toronto community of Painters, 1933-1950” was ‘What Came after the Group of Seven.’
From 1933 to 1950, a group of socially-conscious painters imagined a society transformed by art, and came together to develop a shared language of visual representation, building on the legacy of the Group of Seven.
Dr. Hudson spoke of the way artists play off each other’s work, investing form with meaning over time. Her talk was supported by images of Canadian paintings and photos of the period, which illustrated ideas within the lecture and enabled us to connect with the art.
Visual themes of the lecture were ‘TREE, BODY, INDUSTRY, LAND, HOME’.
First up for discussion were paintings by Franklin Carmichael: Autumn in Orillia (1924), Farm, Haliburton (1940) and Autumn Hillside (1920). In the 1940 painting, a tree is the dominant figure in the landscape. Dr. Hudson explored what this might mean, referencing the historical context of 1940.
Next, images of Jack Pine and West Wind, by Tom Thomson, were shared. These paintings lifted trees into the role of central characters in Canadian art, rather than being part of a pretty European style landscape painting.
Continuing her discussion of paintings, sculpture, photographs and commercial art by Canadian artists of the period 1933 to 1950, Dr. Hudson shared her interpretation of this phase of our national art.
One of the most fascinating paintings referenced was ‘Tree’, painted in 1944, by Isabel McLaughlin. This writer viewed this painting at The McMichael Gallery last month. Dr. Hudson’s assessment of ‘Tree’ as “disturbing, powerful, visceral, tactile” fits this painting.
We thank Dr. Hudson for sharing her vast knowledge and passion for this important time in Canadian art history. Her presentation was a great complement to the Carmichael Canadian Landscape Exhibition: Tradition Transformed, now in its 20th year. Don’t miss this incredible juried show.
The History Speaker Series will be on hiatus for December and will resume on Jan. 19, 2022, via Zoom.
Popular Orillia historian, Dave Town, will be our guest speaker with his talk ‘Yellowhead’s Revolt’. Local Indigenous leader, Rama’s Chief Yellowhead, stood defiant against not just the white man, but his fellow Chiefs in 1846 at the Great Meeting held in Orillia.
At issue were life-changing policies, the most significant of which was the creation of the first residential schools in Canada. Chief Yellowhead stood up for what he felt was right for his people. Don’t miss Dave’s fascinating talk about this important event in our local history.
Click here to register for the talk or call Monica at 705-326-2159 or email email@example.com
Admission to the History Speaker Series is free, but donations to OMAH are appreciated.
The OMAH History Committee thanks you for your loyal support in 2021. Stay tuned for a full list of dynamic speakers in 2022. Wishing you a safe and festive holiday season.
Art Fx #44: "Around the Bend" by Pam MacKenzie – Huntsville Doppler – Huntsville Doppler
Art Fx is a year-long series on Huntsville Doppler featuring Huntsville-area visual artists.
“Around the Bend” by Pam MacKenzie is a 24” x 36″ acrylic on birch
“This painting depicts a canoe trip up a stream to explore what lies beyond,” says Pam. “My husband and I were avid canoeists and spent countless hours exploring small rivers and creeks. Travelling in these small bodies of winding waters always left you wondering what was around the corner. Did it continue on or was this bend going to end up in a bay or a larger body of water than we were comfortable travelling on in our canoe? Were we going to be able to continue in the canoe or going to have to portage over a rough spot, leaving the colour of our canoe on buried river rock? Or were we going to find a quiet spot to pull ashore on and explore the land along the banks?”
“Around the Bend” is available for $400.
About the artist
Artistic endeavours have always been part of Pam’s life, from making her own school clothing to designing and creating wedding gowns and apparel to art quilts, weaving and stained glass.
Pam began exploring the drawing and painting art world in 2013 with Laura Landers, Iris Shields, and now Carol Rudderham.
Pam has taken long workshops with a number of well-known Canadian artists and is currently working on an online course in bold-colour painting through the Bold School based in B.C.. While her first love is portraiture in black and white, she felt the need to colour her portraits first in pastels and now in acrylic and is taking this course to do just that.
Currently Pam is exploring the world of pouring art as she has splints on both arms following a tumble this fall. When life throws you lemons, make lemonade.
Pam is co-chair of the Huntsville Art Society and takesadvantage of the many opportunities through HAS to show her work. She also paints with a group at Carol Rudderham’s and shows her work bi-annually in the gallery at Partners Hall in the Algonquin Theatre.
See more local art in Doppler’s Art Fx series here.
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Year end art exhibition features 40+ local art makers – North Bay News – BayToday.ca
The Alex Dufresne Gallery is presenting its annual year-end show “Petit Noel: Exhibit & Sale.”
“This art exhibition has brought together over 40 different painters, photographers, potters, and artisans of all mediums, styles, and levels of experience to curate a show that reflects the passion of the northeastern Ontario art community.,” says Natasha Wiatr, Curator.
All pieces are no larger than 20” by 20” in size and almost all pieces are for sale.
The show is currently on display and will stay up until Saturday, December 30.
The gallery is open Wednesday – Saturday from 10 – 5 excluding Christmas Day and New Years Day.
“If you would prefer to book the gallery for a private viewing on a Tuesday, please contact us to arrange for a time,” adds Wiatr. “The gallery is free, with donations welcome. Due to Covid-19 guidelines, we ask that visitors wear masks and maintain six feet of social distancing, and we have hand sanitizer available on site. Please do not visit if you are not feeling well.”
Location: Alex Dufresne Gallery (107 Lansdowne St. E. in Callander, in the same building as the Callander Bay Heritage Museum)
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