If you haven’t paid a visit to the Agnes Etherington Art Centre at Queen’s University — now might be the time to do so.
The gallery has changed almost everything with seven new exhibitions. An official launch for its “winter season” took place on Thursday night.
Alicia Boutilier, interim centre director and chief curator, says the feature exhibition is called, “The Pathos of Mandy”, by Canadian and artist in residence Walter Scott.
“Scott’s work explores this slippery state between fiction and reality and the identity of the artist with playful and interdisciplinary works that draw on comics and videography and also drawings.”
Bader family donates 4th Rembrandt to Queen’s University
Another new exhibition, called “Face of the Sky”, features a constellation of artworks from across the collections at the Agnes, Boutilier says.
“Contemporary artworks, Inuit artworks and works from our African historical collection and our Canadian historical collection, and it traces the on-going fascination with the sky.”
Yet another of the new exhibitions is entitled “B-“Side by Paul Litherland. Boutilier says the Montreal-based photographer had unprecedented access to the little-seen “back-sides” of paintings from the Agnes historical European collection.
Landmark acquisition of indigenous art for Queen’s Agnes Etherington Art Centre
“Visitors to the gallery can see in highly realistic detail the labels on the back of the painting and the conservation work that’s gone into the painting and the framing and the various hardware — it really tells the history of that painting as an object,” Boutilier says.
“It’s highly realistic to the extent that we have to ensure that our visitors don’t touch them and try to peel off some of the labels.”
Other exhibitions include “From Tudor to Hanover” — British portraits from 1590 to 1800 — as well as the “Quest for Colour”, Five Centuries of Innovation in Printmaking.
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Contemplating the Fens through art
At Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire a new artwork offers those passing by a chance to relax and contemplate the Fens from within its walls.
The sculptural artwork, entitled MOTHER…, was created by artists Heather Peak and Ivan Morison of Studio Morison.
It is designed to mimic the haystacks that could once be seen in fields across Britain. It was inspired by descriptions in Richard Mabey’s book Nature Cure, in which he recovers from severe depression by walking, watching and writing about the beautiful and unexplored landscapes in the East of England.
“The ellipsis after MOTHER… suggests the omission of a second word – to be added by the viewer,” explains artist Ivan Morison.
He gives his own examples: “MOTHER EARTH connects to ideas of the natural world – its supporting qualities – but also our own responsibilities and personal connections to it.
“MOTHERLAND connects us to the place we belong, within this landscape, within a community, within a country.
“MOTHERSHIP makes us think of the sculpture as a vessel that might take us places. This could be on an imaginary journey around the solar system, or it could be a journey connecting the past with an imagined future – making the work a time machine, of sorts. Or it could be a journey within our own minds – a rehabilitative journey, from upset to calm.”
Morison continues: “The sculpture offers a space to reflect on troubling thoughts, as well as an opportunity to perhaps still the mind for a while – by focusing on the simple material qualities of the work and the changing nature of the landscape that surrounds it.”
The timber used to build the sculpture was felled from the artists’ own forest and milled by the pair at their workshop. The walls and roof are made from local straw, with the thatching executed in the traditional style by a master thatcher whose first job as an apprentice was to thatch a haystack – or hayrick – at Wicken Fen.
The work was commissioned by the Cambridgeshire-based Wysing Arts Centre, as part of a region-wide arts commissioning programme, New Geographies, and is supported by Arts Council England and the National Trust.
Winter art at the EAGM – Estevan Mercury
Winter has inspired many great artists to create incredible pieces, but it spreads its charms over everyone. Young talents came to the Estevan Art Gallery and Museum (EAGM) to turn their inspiration into beautiful little crafts.
The EAGM ran two one-day camps for younger kids during the winter break. Participants made snowflakes out of coloured coffee filters, did some polar bear and penguin art, using different mediums and techniques. They also had a chance to make slime.
About 20 kids participated in the camps altogether. The EAGM keeps experimenting with its programming to accommodate the needs of their participants.
“We just keep trying different times and lengths, and morning or afternoon,” said gallery programming co-ordinator Karly Garnier.
While camps are for kids only, the EAGM also runs a family art program for both children and their guardians. Family art is for younger kids and it runs every Thursday and Friday morning.
The Art Show at the Armory: Blue-Chip Brands Show Their Best – The New York Times
Trust me, even if you’ve been looking at art for a long, long time (or even longer than that), you will see work at the Art Show at the Park Avenue Armory you have not seen before, by artists you may never have heard of. This is not because the Art Show, organized by the Art Dealers Association of America to benefit Henry Street Settlement,” is dedicated to showing the young and hip. Quite the opposite, ADAA represents blue-chip galleries that show high-quality work. But it has a terrific roundup of art by lesser-known artists, many dead or left out of art history for all the ordinary reasons (gender, geographical location or the idiosyncrasies of their work at a given moment). And despite the density, the fair is very manageable compared with other mega-fairs in New York.
Other strains running through the 72 exhibitors at ADAA this year, the fair’s 32nd edition, are a focus on geometric abstraction and craft and a high percentage of female artists — 19 exhibitions are dedicated to them. With an enormous backlog of women, artists of color and people working in unusual media, fairs like this one are yet another place to play catch-up. Below are some highlights, divided into categories with lots of slippage and overlap.
Just inside the fair’s entrance, three booths are showing geometrically abstract work — a good indication of its current popularity. The Houston gallery Sicardi | Ayers | Bacino (A1) has canvases by Mercedes Pardo (1921-2005), a Venezuelan painter whose dark, moody colors — she mixed her own pigments — and off-kilter geometric compositions set her apart from painters working with more reductive shapes and forms. Sean Kelly Gallery (D2) has deep, chalky blue paintings by the London artist Idris Khan. The paintings look completely abstract but they are built up in places with layers of text. Across the aisle at Petzel Gallery (B1) Walead Beshty’s colorful photograms are reflected in mirrored panels on the floor, which will be sold after they are sufficiently cracked and weathered. The panels echo an earlier project by Mr. Beshty in which he “created” shattered sculptures by shipping glass rectangles in FedEx boxes. Deeper into the fair, Philadelphia’s Locks Gallery (A10) is spotlighting Edna Andrade (1917-2008), a painter who worked in the Op Art vein (although most painters eschewed that term). A few of her electric-hued, radiating compositions are mounted on wallpaper that she designed, alongside a ceramic chess set she made, showing her range beyond painting into craft and design.
The interest in handmade craft and global folk traditions continues in a variety of forms here. Jordan Nassar takes a conceptual approach at James Cohan (C5), where he has an antique Palestinian dress from the Beersheba area, from around 1900, with traditional embroidery in a display case. Mr. Nassar then paints these (or similar) patterns onto canvases, creating spare but rich geometric pictures. At San Francisco’s Anglim Gilbert Gallery (D28), craft assumes the form of miniature houses made with tiny glass bottles and wooden armatures by Mildred Howard, and Jacob Hashimoto’s wall works and hanging installations made with rice paper, bamboo and resin, inspired by Japanese kite-making techniques. Nina Chanel Abney is best known as a painter, but she takes a craftlike approach in her collages at Pace Prints (D11), which are created with colored paper glued onto panels. Some of the best contemporary works in the fair, the compositions here address African-American histories, and include American flags that appear ironic rather than celebratory in intent. Nearby at P.P.O.W (C9), the Los Angeles artist Ramiro Gomez’s cardboard cutouts of human figures doing physical jobs highlight what he thinks of as “invisible labor.” They bring to light who is cleaning the bathrooms and serving food at the fair, rather than buying and selling (or making) the art.
I’ve already mentioned a number of exceptional women at the fair, but here are a few more. Venus Over Manhattan (D10) has dedicated its booth to the art dealer Phyllis Kind, who opened her first gallery in Chicago in 1967 and was a trailblazer and mentor for many other art dealers. A painting by William N. Copley paradoxically, perhaps, has a female nude with graffiti playfully applied to her flesh, and there is a cartoon-inspired felt-trip drawing here by Ray Yoshida, who inspired many Chicago Imagist painters. In a more feminist vein, Susan Inglett Gallery (D18) is showing the work of Beverly Semmes, which includes pornographic images printed on canvas and painted over, in sections, transforming the original images into something more abstract and mysterious. Michael Werner (C3) is exhibiting the wonderfully banal neo-Pop paintings and some raw craft-like assemblages by the Berlin artist Raphaela Simon, and Casey Kaplan (B5) has canvases by Judith Eisler based on film and video images of women including Serena Williams and the actress Anna Karina. Alice Neel is hardly unknown, but Cheim & Read’s (D13) mini-retrospective of her work bears mentioning, since it includes an unrecognizable, Edward Hopperesque cityscape from the 1930s, as well as a handful of her beautifully odd and unsettling portraits.
Surrealism started in the 1920s as a notorious boys’ club, but later generations of women working in this dreamy idiom stole the show. This is particularly true of Leonora Carrington and Remedios Varo, best friends living as expatriates in Mexico City in the 1950s whose works are on view at Gallery Wendi Norris (D29). Alongside gorgeously weird paintings of women, birds and cats — as well as mythical and imaginary creatures — is a Varo sculpture made from fish, chicken and turkey bones after a dinner with artists. An accompanying scroll with text proposes a clever alternative evolutionary route for homo sapiens, with an umbrella appearing at an archaeological dig, disrupting Darwin’s narrative. Jonathan Boos (A4) has a slightly tamer show titled “Psychological Realism” which includes paintings from the 1940s and ’50s by the American artists George Tooker and Alton Pickens that would not look out of place in a contemporary hipster-oriented gallery on the Lower East Side. Hirschl & Adler Galleries (B4) has a roundup of radical artists — among them Honoré Sharrer, a wonderfully talented painter who was a communist who had to move to Canada during the Red Scare and who made paintings that look like American Gothic stories come to life. Finally, Galerie Lelong & Co. (A8) has a standout presentation of paintings by Ficre Ghebreyesus (1962-2012), an artist born in Eritrea who was married to the poet Elizabeth Alexander. Mixing sources from jazz to Islamic architecture to Coptic Christian iconography and Eritrean folk art, Mr. Ghebreyesus processed everything he saw as a refugee and a global citizen into a kind of ecstatic surrealism. This is the first solo exhibition of his work in New York and the first time I’d seen it. He died of a heart attack a few days after his 50th birthday, leaving behind 882 paintings, a handful of which are on view here.
The Art Show
Feb. 27 through March 1 at the Park Avenue Armory, Park Avenue at 67th Street, Manhattan; artdealers.org.
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