They say that those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it, but who wrote the history we learn in the first place?
A new project is pairing public art in Fredericton with music from local high school students.
Sculpture Songs pairs compositions by students with 19 sculptures throughout the city.
When art lovers approach a statue they will see a sign with a QR code. When they photograph the code they are linked to a song on Bandcamp, an online music service. The song is written specifically with the sculpture in mind.
Christina Thompson, an outreach co-ordinator with the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, said the project was created out of a desire to continue the gallery’s school programs during COVID-19 restrictions.
“Thinking of the challenges that teachers and students have faced this year … not being able to play their instruments, not being able to perform,” said Thompson.
“I’d reached out to [the teachers] and agreed a project like this would be perfect for what’s going on right now.”
Thompson hopes the project will prompt people to pay more attention to the artwork placed throughout Fredericton that may get overlooked.
“In Fredericton, we pass these sculptures all the time and maybe don’t really look at them as much. They’re kind of in the background of our lives,” said Thompson.
Thompson said COVID restrictions impacted how the students worked on their compositions.
Not only were the students often out of the classroom, but a lot of woodwind and brass instruments were not allowed to be played over fears of spreading the virus.
This meant samples and computer programs were used to construct the pieces.
Still, Thompson could see the pride the students had in their work.
“I could see how excited they were and they were so articulate about their creative process and were really thrilled that people in Fredericton were going to get to hear their composition,” said Thompson.
Lucas Weeks, a Leo Hayes High School student, based his composition Freddy Forever on the cherub sculpture on top of the fountain in front of city hall.
Weeks said he had to navigate some tricky waters when writing the composition.
The sculpture is one of Fredericton’s best known and has stood in front of city hall for over 125 years.
It also evokes religious imagery because of the cherub on top, but also has a playful attitude. Some Fredericton residents refer to the cherub as “Freddy The Nude Dude.”
“I think I did well with the more religious [aspect] and the well-knownness of it. Getting to be playful was kind of hard to do.”
Gavin Woodward, also a Leo Hayes student, based his composition Winter Retreats on James Boyd’s “Rhodo,” which stands in the Fredericton Botanical Garden.
“Rhodo” is a minimalist representation of the bud of a rhododendron.
Woodward chose a minimalist sculpture as inspiration because of his interest in minimalist music.
“Rather than showing a fully bloomed rhododendron it’s showing the bud of it in the process. Just showing that cycle of growth and the process of growth really spoke to me.”
Emma He, from Fredericton High, based her composition Where Do We Go From Here on Gerald Beaulieu’s “Where The Rubber Meets The Road.”
Beaulieu’s sculpture is of a roadkill crow made entirely out of rubber tires and is located beside the Beaverbrook Art Gallery.
He said she chose the sculpture because of the message Beaulieu had about environmentalism in the sculpture.
Her piece is the only one in the project that includes lyrics, which He sings.
She said she thought the piece needed more than just instrumental music to express it’s environmental message.
“We tend to focus on making new things and keep growing … but we forget the animals and what was already here. We don’t really appreciate.”
Fredericton High School student Brooke Grothe based her composition Lion’s Roar on the Thomas Temple Fountain.
The fountain includes a large casting of a lion at rest.
Grothe said she chose the fountain because she believed she could tell a story about the lion.
The song is structured to take the listener through a day in a lion’s life.
“It starts off with the lion kind of walking about and it follows the journey of him to the watering hole and him trying to feed,” said Grothe.
“It has a climax where he’s attacking his prey and it has him resting for the night.”
Utopia: an unattainable goal of societal perfection, and even here, the best we can do is a temporary one. Tucked in the corner of the parking lot between Cafe and Restaurant, the Temporary Utopia Greenhouse is hosting the knick-knack/art/curiosity shack: FLOWERSHOP, a once-a-week pop-up featuring printed socks, objects and leisure wear by Strathcona (Ryley O’Byrne strathconastockings.com), with Tiny Moon Flowers (Kyra Power, on Instagram: @tinymoonflowerfarm). Only Sundays, 10ish to 6 p.m. For more info: temporary-utopia.com.
The Gumboot Nation’s new groove! As Kronk says, “Oh yeah, it’s all coming together!” This Creek Daze is a rich example of our DIY attitude – we can’t wait for someone to make our fun, we make it ourselves! Sunday, Aug. 22, bring your Gumboot pride to the school at 10:30 a.m., the parade will begin at 11:11. The Mandela stage runs from 11:30 to 7 p.m. and the Slow Sundays stage, noon to 6 p.m. There is the “The Heart Centre” kids zone, hosted by the amazing Kelsey O’Toole, and a couple of food vendors lined up (more are welcome!). If you want to help, shout out to email@example.com.
Hawthorn Ceramics open house Saturday, Aug. 7 (that’s tomorrow if you managed to get the paper on Friday like I do, or yesterday if you waited till Sunday to read it, but I digress …), 11 a.m.-5 p.m., 1551 Lockyer Rd. At the end of the driveway, ground floor of the house, you will find the studio filled with fresh fired usable art to buy and take home. Hang out on the back deck and have a cuppa Davis Bay tea. Also, check out the basket of seconds and experiments for sale.
A new art piece at the mouth of Roberts Creek has some along the waterfront tilting at windmills. Almost immediately on its installation, far into the tidal foreshore, this guerrilla art raised a few eyebrows in the neighbourhood, with cries of “how long will that be there?”
The artist(s) have assured me that, with the help of our watchful community, any errant parts will be dealt with and should it come apart, it will be picked up and recycled. I have been told we may expect more, in among the pylons, in what some hope will become the Gumboot Nation sculpture park.
This week, Aug. 8, Slow Sundays presents Whirlwind Woodwind Quintet (Heidi Kurtz, John Storer, Danielle Stephens, Meredith Bingham and Yvonne Mounsey) at noon, followed by teen singer/songwriter Kaishan at 1 with Martini Madness Band (Kevin Crofton, Andy Amanovich and Graham Walker) closing the afternoon. Always free, bring a seat and your love of music.
Our Little Legion hosts a group jam Friday evening, but be sure to catch the Burying Ground, Saturday, Aug 7, as they blend prewar blues, early jazz and American rural folk music traditions into their own material. Find tickets to all shows at rclegionevents.com.
Next week Phantom Limb Syndrome, melodic hard rock all the way from Gibsons, B.C. They are Dylan Clark, Dylan Brackett and Scott Reinson (mind if we call you Dylan to avoid confusion?) with guests Redwhyn, Friday, Aug 13.
I’m picking up what you’re putting down, firstname.lastname@example.org.
August is a busy month for us at the Parrott Art Gallery, and we are pleased to be sharing even more exceptional artwork with the public.
Throughout this month, visitors to our third floor gallery will be able to view a selection of artwork by Florence Lennox. Thanks to the recent, very generous donation by her daughter, we are pleased to present several pieces from our Permanent Collection by this popular Belleville artist, now hanging in our corridor gallery.
“Expressions”, the Quinte Arts Council’s juried exhibition and sale, continues in Galleries 1 and 2 until Thursday, August 12. This show has delivered on quality and content, with artwork in a multitude of different mediums.
While the show is available to view online, it is well worth the trip to our Gallery to experience this artistic collaboration in person. We encourage everyone to vote for their favourite piece as well. A People’s Choice Award will be handed out at the end of the show and you can vote online through our website or in person.
Tom Ashbourne’s upcoming show, “County Artist, County Art” will open on Saturday, August 21 in Gallery 1. Featured in this summers’ edition of Watershed, this Wellington artists’ sculpture has been steadily gaining local and international recognition, and has been accepted into exhibitions in London and Florence this year.
Ashbourne also topped the list in World Biz Magazine’s, “Artists to Collect in 2021” which features 30 artists from around the world. In his upcoming exhibition at the Parrott Gallery you can expect to see a large assortment of Tom’s stone carvings and multimedia assemblages, accompanied by a selection of work from his personal art collection, by County artists like Barb Whelan and Celia Sage just to name a few. We hope you’ll come to see for yourself why Ashbourne’s sculpture is winning such high acclaim.
At the same time in Gallery 2, Linda Mazur-Jack will be presenting a show called, “Memento: Alzheimer’s, A Personal Journey.” Using multi-media installations, sculpture and painting, the artist will be offering her testament to the ongoing devastation of the terrible disease that took her husband’s life.
Mazur-Jack will be transforming personal items, found objects, paint, words and more, in a visual experience that cannot help but move the viewer. This show can only be experienced in person, and is guaranteed to be like nothing you have seen before.
While we are still unable to hold in-house events, we are continuing to offer our online art workshops, including Sheila Wright’s “Acrylic Pouring Workshops” and Rachel Harbour’s “Monday Zoom Classes”. These workshops are suitable for new and experienced artists. We will also be holding a zoom webinar on Thursday, September 2 from 7–8:30 p.m., called “Presenting your Art in Today’s Online World”. This webinar will feature the insight of sculptor Tom Ashbourne and the advice of photographer Mike Gaudaur and we hope that this free webinar will help artists improve their chance of exhibiting both locally and further abroad.
Information about all of our current and upcoming programming is available to view on our website. We are here to answer your questions, and we look forward to seeing you at the Gallery in August!
Wendy Rayson-Kerr is the Acting Curator of the John M. Parrott Art Gallery.
They say that those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it, but who wrote the history we learn in the first place?
As someone who has been deeply passionate about the arts from a very young age, I’ve often found myself at odds with this question. Over the years, my interest in the arts has led me to take classes throughout high school and university. I’ve also volunteered at the Woodstock Art Gallery, where I currently work as a front desk attendant summer student.
Throughout my exposure to the arts, I’ve learned the discipline, like many others, is built upon the works and contributions of those who came before. Ultimately, within the uniqueness of every piece of art, something innately human is revealed. Yet, the more I read about old masters like Michelangelo, Da Vinci, and Raphael, the more I can’t help but wonder – where were all the women artists? When I gathered the courage to ask my former art teacher why the majority of our art history curriculum catered to white men, the answer I was met with was simply this: “It is difficult to learn about female artists in art history because there’s hardly any significant female artists to talk about in the first place.”
So why is there a lack of female artists to begin with?
Many, including myself, might at first assume that women just aren’t as capable as men in terms of artistic ability. In her 1971 essay, Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists, art historian Linda Nochlin writes the mere question “falsifies the nature of the issue at the same time that it insidiously implies its own answer: ‘There have been no great women artists because women are incapable of greatness.’” The fact that these assumptions still linger is a testament to the shortcomings of art history. What is the actual reason behind the distinct gender gap we see in art today, and to what extent has historical bias influenced our current perception of the art world?
It goes without saying that women’s underrepresentation and lack of recognition in Western art history is complicated. Women were historically excluded and actively discouraged from partaking within the same spheres as men, including the artistic sphere. Women were likewise barred from entering art academies, undergoing formal artistic training, or even acquiring an education in general – the very building blocks to becoming an artist in the first place. The quintessential middle-class, white, male archetype associated with the default “ideal artist” prevailed because aspiring female artists were excluded from these institutions that helped cultivate artistic proficiency.
As Nochlin explains, one example of gender-based institutional discrimination can be seen through women’s access to life drawing during the 19th century. Due to the rising popularity of history painting at the time, life drawing was seen as a mandatory prerequisite to one’s artistic cultivation. Even once women were finally allowed into life drawing classes, they were burdened with the responsibility to have their works remain modest – a restriction that did not apply to men – despite the common belief that “there could be no great painting with clothed figures.” The male administration specifically prohibited nude models from appearing in anything less than “partially draped.” While men could undergo artistic training without restraints, women often faced hostility when fighting for equal footing within those same institutions.
All in all, to truly learn from history, we must also understand the foundations on which it was written. Though notable names such as Artemisia Gentileschi, Berthe Morisot and Frida Khalo have gained considerable mainstream notoriety, it remains true that the number of male artistic masters still outnumber the women. While we cannot rewrite the past, we can add nuance to how it’s told.
As I’ve learned in my time at the Woodstock Art Gallery, one place we can start is right here at home. The gallery’s 2019 exhibition, Given Her Due: Oxford County Women Artists 1880–1908, showcases the work of talented and sometimes overlooked female artists of this region, including Eva Bradshaw, Betty McArthur, Jaquie Poole, Fryke Oostenbrug, and more. You can explore a 3D virtual tour of this exhibition online at www.woodstockartgallery.ca. The gallery’s permanent collection also highlights the artwork of Florence Carlyle, who broke boundaries as a prominent Canadian painter in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Carlyle – along with other notable female artists in the collection – is featured in the current exhibition My Favourite Artwork, which launched when the Woodstock Art Gallery reopened on Aug. 3.
Vicky Lin is the front desk attendant at the Woodstock Art Gallery. The Woodstock Art Gallery acknowledges the support for this position, which is funded by two federal student employment programs: Young Canada Works and Canada Summer Jobs.
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