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April 21–July 15, 2012
Curated by Melanie Egan and Patrick Macaulay
We commemorate the passage of time with celebrations; some big, some small. This year, we celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, marking her 60th year as our Monarch. Sixty years is a very long time and much has happened from her coronation in 1952 to the present day.
Canadians have a unique and sometimes distant relationship to the Queen and the Monarchy. We are a part of the Commonwealth and all that entails. At times it can be strong and, at other times, a tenuous connection. This exhibition is an expanded understanding of commonwealth or more explicitly, “common wealth.” Artists and designers make up a crucial component of the citizenry of any country and reflect its past, present and future through creative practice. They are, in fact, a precious natural resource. Artists celebrate personal or collective identity; provoke and confront pertinent issues and echo current thinking within their country. As Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations continue, these 16 artists participate in the festivities. They present work from various perspectives creating an exhibition as diverse as the Canadian landscape and psyche.
Jubilee is an exhibition presented in two parts. The exhibition is located both in the west and south areas of York Quay Centre.
–Melanie Egan, Head, Craft and Patrick Macaulay, Head, Visual Arts
We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage.
Nous reconnaissons l’appui financier du gouvernement du Canada par l’entremise du ministère du Patrimoine canadien.
My work is about ideas. In opposition to concrete statements, the work can be attributed to thoughts or suggestions and exist as proposals for consideration. Scale is ambiguous within my work; these pieces could exist at any size. That said, my preference of scale is that of little things, a world of the minute, of discarded fragments in my day-to-day experience. In my work, I value the quiet personal moments of the day in which I construct small works that simulate a place for wonder and contemplation.
As an artist, I am a collector of objects as much as I am a maker of objects. I see myself as an archivist of a world of found objects. Collecting and reassembling objects to create new meaning and new possibilities. My practice engages a playful balance between: humour and formal issues, size and perception of scale, and longevity versus ephemerality, and how these relationships inform value of work.
As a child, Micah Adams enjoyed creating maps while exploring local woods. Originally from Nova Scotia, Adams began his formal art training at John Abbott College Cégep in Montréal and later received his BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, in Halifax. Upon graduation in 2008, he pursued a three-year residency in Toronto at Harbourfront Centre’s metal/jewellery studio. He is currently looking forward to participating in the Visiting Artist Residency at the printmaking centre Open Studio in March 2013.
The artist would like to acknowledge the support of the Toronto Arts Council and the Ontario Arts Council.
I create jewellery objects that balance hand embroidery and metal to present social symbols, emphasizing ideas of value, status and ornament. That which appears, upon first impression, to be merely a cute miniature, ultimately reveals itself to be an icon of memory; commemorating our surroundings, and questioning our traditional ideas of home and place. I combine materials in unexpected ways, creating decorative objects that celebrate our present and delight in our future while honouring the past. My most recent body of work, Google Flight 636, comments on our dwindling loss of individuality. It questions both our loss of identity due to globalization and our loss of location through people’s wavering connection to place. The metal work investigates ideas of appropriation and assumption. Google Flight 636 purposely makes sweeping broad generalizations about cultural symbols. With the use of repetitive textile motifs I draw attention to the growing psychic and social transformations brought about by our increasingly digital world.
Suzanne Carlsen graduated in 2006 from the Ontario College of Art and Design with a BDes in jewellery and metalsmithing. From 2006-2009 she was an artist-in-residence at Harbourfront Centre. She has exhibited nationally and internationally, and has received several grants and scholarships.
Fur Queen II, 2002
It all began with the beaver.
The fashion craze for beaver top hats in Britain (and the subsequent decimation of the beaver populations there) brought explorers to early Canada in search of pelts and fortune.
It was a brutal way to make a living and many starved or froze to death. The ones that survived got rich and fortunes trickled up to feed the coffers of the Empire and, ultimately, the Royal Family.
Fur Queen II is not new work for me, but it is far from irrelevant as we celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s Jubilee as our Monarch. Incredibly, we are all still subjects of the Queen. This fact has no real bearing on our day-to-day lives, yet somehow, it does. When I saw the Queen in Victoria in 2001, I was on my husband’s shoulders and cheering in spite of myself. It was like seeing my mythical mother. So I guess it is a paradox. Just as fur is the softest manifestation of power, and the sensual result of violence.
Marianne Corless obtained her MFA from the University of Calgary (2006), and continues to instruct there part-time. Her fur portraits have traveled across Canada from Victoria to Halifax and have been featured in multiple magazines and publications. Her work is in collections across Canada including the Alberta Provincial Art Collection. She recently relocated to Brooklyn, NY where she continues to explore themes of identity in her studio practice.
My artistic practice takes interest in creating hand-built functional ceramic objects that are playful and decorative, drawing inspiration from contemporary graphics, patterns and illustrations. My decorating methods merge two-dimensional sensory activity with the function of three-dimensional form, allowing the viewer to actively engage with the object.
I enjoy discovering all the possibilities that ceramics can offer. While respecting the traditional methods and skills within the craft, it is important to my practice to engage actively with contemporary technology and create a bridge between the worlds of craft, art and design. Through new technology and the integration of other mediums, new applications can be explored and developed. This creates a potential to re-invent old ideas into new and interesting dialogues. I incorporate this method of exploration directly into my body of work, as well as my practice as a whole. Most recently, I have created a video production to provide another format, other than the finished ceramic object, for viewers to understand my point of view as an artist and designer.
Above all else, I am invested in making new discoveries and creating beautiful handmade objects that I can, in turn, share with others.
Jennifer Demke-Lange is originally from Calgary, Alberta. She graduated from the Alberta College of Art & Design in 2007 where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree with Distinction.
Her work is represented through the Alberta Craft Council Gallery in Edmonton, Alberta and the Willock and Sax Gallery in Banff, Alberta. She has recently exhibited in the Canadian Boutique at the Cheongju International Craft Biennale in South Korea, Lillstreet Art Center in Chicago and was published in WLWL: We Like We Love magazine. Demke-Lange currently lives in Medicine Hat, Alberta where she maintains a studio practice and is the studio manager at the Medalta International Artists in Residence Programme. MIKIND, her line of hand-built functional ceramic work, is playful and decorative, drawing inspiration from contemporary graphic design and illustration.
Department of Unusual Certainties
Land, Air, and Sea – Movement of Queen Elizabeth II 1952 – 2012, 2012
The Royal Visit is instant history. Land, Air, and Sea – Movement of Queen Elizabeth II 1952 – 2012 follows the Queen as she journeys around the world and back again.
Department of Unusual Certainties (DoUC) is a Toronto-based alternative research and design studio working at the interstices of urban design, planning, public art, spatial research, and mapping. DoUC is Christopher Pandolfi and Simon Rabyniuk.
Capacity of Home is a sculpture with occupancy for one. Fitzgerald attempts to materialize an otherwise invisible space; a barrier or bubble that many wanderers wear. In this regard, the sculpture is a device for retaining a sense of home wherever you are. Fitzgerald has lived in four Canadian cities and will be moving to her fifth this autumn. Without a specific city she thinks of as home, she views the sculpture as a portable survival tool.
Capacity of Home is crocheted entirely out of New Brunswick wool and it has a Canadian sentiment as it addresses lethargic feelings that often develop in the winter months. In this way it can operate as a hibernation suit; both a corporeal and a metaphoric space to spend a warm and sheltered winter. Physically the sculpture resembles a tailored security blanket and, when worn, it provides the childlike sensation of being in a homemade fort.
Meags Fitzgerald’s work addresses personal history, memory, domesticity and maternal relationships. She explores the personal and cultural meanings of these themes through the use of antique and handmade objects. She often draws upon nostalgic and archetypal Canadian imagery.
In 2009, Fitzgerald earned her Bachelor’s Degree of Fine Arts in Drawing from the Alberta College of Art and Design. In spring 2012, she will be completing a Post-Degree Certificate in Interdisciplinary Design at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University. She currently lives in Halifax and works as an illustrator.
Alexa and April Hickox
The Key to the Queen’s Garden
This video installation is the first collaboration between Alexa and April Hickox. It examines family lies: the things that are passed down to us, which we believe as children, but that we uncover as false much later in life. April’s father lived in England at the beginning and at the end of his life. Anthony Phillip Hickox (named for royalty) lived at 177 Kew Road, steps away from the Royal Botanical Gardens.
When she was a child, April’s father told her he had the key to the Queen’s garden. When he died, she was left a box of keys…
Alexa Hickox is an emerging artist who works in mixed media, photography and video production. She is interested in issues of community, family history, language and the intersection of people in the landscape.
April Hickox’s, photography, film and installation have centered on the photographic discourse around memory, an evolving sense of self, the role of women, interpersonal communication, and, most recently, the landscape and our relationship to it.
Pembroke Corgi, 2012
Pembroke Corgi is a papier-mâché sculpture made in response to the theme of Jubilee. My knowledge about Queen Elizabeth is narrow and based on only a few stereotypes, one of them being her affinity for the Corgi breed. I attempted to capture, as accurately as I could, the qualities which define a Pembroke: loyalty, courage, intelligence, as well as their tan and white markings, large ears, and docked tail. The time spent making this sculpture is the most consideration I’ve ever given to the British Royal Family. I wonder how many Canadians of my generation have similar feelings of distance or even disregard toward the Monarchy. Perhaps the Queen’s influence on the construction of our National identity is lost on some.
Barbara Hobot is a Kitchener-based artist. Her work has recently been shown at Galerie Kurt in Hirsch, Berlin; Chiellerie Gallery, Amsterdam; Peak Gallery, Toronto; Cambridge Galleries, and in Waterloo Region’s Biennial, CAFKA.11. Hobot has participated in residencies at Ox-Bow School of Art, Saugatuck, Michigan; Art Factory, Bialystok, Poland; and Ross Creek Centre for the Arts, Canning, Nova Scotia. She is the recipient of awards from the Ontario Arts Council and, most recently, an Ox-Bow Residency Scholarship. She holds a B.A. in Fine Arts from the University of Waterloo and is a future MFA candidate at the University of Western Ontario.
Lillibet circa April 1964, 2012
The images in Lillibet circa April 1964 are imagined moments in Queen Elizabeth’s life following the birth of Prince Edward in 1964. Constructing quiet pauses by focusing in on small details, I envisioned being an intimate observer of Lillibet’s (the Queen’s childhood nickname) life. My inspiration was taken from photographs such as Royal Babies, 1950 (Fox Photos/Striger) and Cecil Beaton’s intimate documentation of the young queen. In these historical pictures, I read slivers of informality and everydayness that suggest insight into the quieter moments of Her Majesty’s life.
Jennifer Long is an artist, curator, and educator holding a BAA from Ryerson University and a MFA from York University. For the last 15 years, her artistic practice has explored issues of doubt, vulnerability, perceived ideals, and communication within the context of interpersonal relationships. This lens-based work uses constructed narratives to describe the emotions and quiet moments of everyday life. Long’s artwork has been exhibited in over 30 exhibitions nationally and internationally and has received funding from the Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council and The Canada Council for The Arts.
This work by Jennifer Long is courtesy of Katzman Kamen Gallery.
Anna Lindsay MacDonald
A recent relocation to a Canadian military base in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan has inspired this work. These pieces are numeric representations of fallen enlisted soldiers from all sides of the conflict in Afghanistan. Each piece is constructed from the particular nations’ casualty figures, using a pixel as signifier – one tiny unit in a powerful whole. Beneath the endless complexities of war is simply the loss of life. These pieces honour the lives, separate from the conflict. The digitized flags and icons are stripped of their significant colours to demonstrate the essence of pride, free of political rhetoric.
Anna Lindsay MacDonald lives just beyond the borders of 15 Wing in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. She earned a BFA in Jewellery Design and Metalsmithing from NSCAD University, and her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in Studio, Designed Objects. MacDonald is a former Harbourfront Centre artist-in-residence (2004 – 2007). She was published in Lark Books 500 Rings, curated by Bruce Metcalf, and has exhibited throughout Canada and internationally; most recently in the Love Lace exhibition, the Powerhouse Museum in Australia curated by Lindie Ward..
Claire Madill (Heyday Design)
My work relies much upon the time and place of personal thrift-store expeditions; vintage glass household objects and the patterns found underneath catch my eye especially. Transforming these pieces into porcelain objects and sampling their patterns for jewellery gives a new perspective on their value and usefulness; what was once given away is precious again, the mass-produced becomes handmade. In porcelain, the depth of the pattern and the nuances of the design are revealed, allowing for a renewed appreciation of a recognizable form. I particularly enjoy the functionality shift; where once the canning jar was part of a kitchen arsenal, its porcelain sister is a more personal object, taken to new places.
– Claire Madill
Claire Madill loves finding shiny objects and arresting patterns in thrift shops. She uses them to create functional and wearable modern porcelain that engages with ideas of value, nostalgia and usefulness.
Most recently, Madill was featured in the Craft Community of Canada section of Toronto’s One of a Kind Show, nominated by Emily Carr University. In 2011, she created an installation of 100 custom porcelain Beaver Jar Lights for Canoe restaurant. She also showed her porcelain jewellery with Designboom at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York City.
Madill received her BFA from Emily Carr University of Art and Design in 2007 and began heyday design soon after. She lives and works in Vancouver.
While living in London in 1988, my friends Sally, Beth and I wrangled invitations to the annual Commonwealth summer garden party at Buckingham Palace. I headed off in a borrowed suit, threadbare at the elbows, and a cheap pair of plastic brogues. With a special pass that got us through the front gates, we parked Sally’s car and made our way into the resplendent gardens behind the palace. The grounds were well appointed, with canopied tables loaded down with a great array of desserts and sweets (the toffee cake and strawberries seemingly the most abundant). The Queen sat at the main table, not far away, and graciously toasted the crowd.
When we’d finished our unhurried tea and cakes, everyone rose for the Royal walkabout. Every guest was anxious to be chosen by the Queen’s forwards as the next in line to shake hands with Her Majesty – that is, everyone but me. With one eye on the binoculared rooftop guards and the other on the fast approaching Queen, I frantically tried to shake the teaspoon that I’d “borrowed” moments before out of my shirtsleeve and into my pants pocket. As it turned out, the person next to me was selected for the honoured greeting, but the spoon eventually slid into my pocket nonetheless. I mailed it home to my sister in Canada shortly after, where it remained in a kitchen drawer for almost 25 years, not seeing the light of day until this exhibition.
“The spoons were kind of small, but the cakes were very good.”
Sean McQuay graduated from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 1984. He has been exhibiting nationally since 1980, in galleries such as The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Hart House, Memorial University Gallery, Dalhousie Gallery, The Montreal Museum, The Station Gallery and, most recently, the Visual Art Centre. He has received several provincial and federal grants, one of which funded a period of studio work in London, England, from 1987-1988, resulting in an exhibition at The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, which later travelled to other venues. McQuay is currently coordinating and teaching in the fine arts program at Durham College, Oshawa.
My work is inspired by aspects of ornamentation and the body. The piece I have made for Jubilee is an example of my tendencies and examines how ornament can communicate aspects related to status surrounding the wearer. My piece in this exhibition is a crown made of clay. The glazes I have used are almost crude, splotchy and runny, varying in thickness around the piece. This crown challenges the viewers expectations while suggesting, through the fragility of its material, a tension that exists in the position of the object and the individual who wears it.
Julie Moon was born in Toronto and currently resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She received her MFA from Alfred University in 2010 and her BFA from OCADU in 2005. Moon has exhibited both nationally and internationally. Recent exhibition venues include the Seattle Design Center, Narwhal Art Projects, The Clay Studio and the Schein-Joseph Ceramic Art Museum. Recent residencies and awards include the Clay Studio, Anderson Ranch, Center for Ceramics (Berlin) and the Ontario Craft Council. This year, Moon is a finalist in the 2nd annual RBC Emerging Artist People’s Choice Award.
Dynastic Portrait (Jackie Burroughs), 2012
Dynastic Portrait is a posthumous ode to the late British-Canadian actress, Jackie Burroughs, who, best known for her eccentric characters, became an icon for Canadian arts and culture. The piece is produced through the traditional process of miniature painting that was widely celebrated in India during colonization by the British. The experience of studying miniatures alongside Indian artists in Jaipur, India was a dynamic cultural exchange between citizens of former colonies.
A longtime resident of Toronto, Burroughs is shown seated in the Queen subway station – a reflection of the humility synonymous with Canadian icons like Jackie. She is ornamentally clad in flowers and period clothing to evoke traditional miniatures. At her side is a white rat, borrowed from Burrough’s 2003 film, Willard. As a symbol of the waning colonial presence in Canada, the rat appears as a meek alternative to the lion that accompanies traditional British monarchical portraits.
Cole Swanson is an artist and curator working in Toronto. He is a graduate of the University of Guelph’s Studio Arts Programme and is a Masters of Arts, Art History candidate at the University of Toronto. In 2008, Swanson was awarded a National Arts Fellowship from the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute for his research on Indian miniature painting. He has participated in national and international exhibitions across Canada, Italy, Taiwan, China, and India. Swanson is the Curator and Resident Artist Coordinator for the Living Arts Centre, Mississauga and is the recipient of several grants from municipal, provincial, and federal agencies.
The artist would like to acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council, and Canada Council for the Arts.
Andrea Vander Kooij
Forage is a series of works that have to do with the way I locate the materials I use in my art practice. My process involves accumulation and I enjoy hunting down and seeking out discarded materials. I often feel a kinship to the small creatures I see in the woods around my house as they search for and store up their supplies for the winter. As I squirrel away and horde my thrift shop treasures for future use I can’t help but feel that the rabbits and deer and I have habits in common. Through the winter as we huddle under layers of bedding and stock up on material goods, the animals outside burrow deep to hide under the ground till spring, or dig with hoof and claw to get through the layers of snow to the vegetation hidden underneath.
Andrea Vander Kooij is an Ontario artist who holds an MFA degree with a concentration in Fibres from Concordia University in Montreal. Her practice incorporates traditional craft-based mediums such as knitting, crocheting, embroidery and quilting as well as elements of performance. Her work addresses gender issues and the body, as well as challenging notions of art, craft and labour. She enjoys working with found and reclaimed materials. In 2006 she received the Lilianne Elliot Award for Excellence in Fibres, and her work has recently been published in Experimental Pattern (Rockport Publishing, 2010) and Push: Stitchery (Lark Publishing, 2011).
Jesse Watson (Homegrown Skateboards)
Bucking the urban skateboarding clichés and stereotypes of bigger, higher, louder, badder, Jesse Watson’s values and ideas are strongly aligned with craft. Materials, design, quality and community are paramount to his practice. Ninety-nine percent of the skateboard decks you see are mass produced abroad. Watson not only developed a unique deck made from local materials, but also built the equipment to make the deck! He sees himself as an artist and a craftsperson. Watson says, “For me, Homegrown is about skateboarding, building a quality product and promoting the honest and genuine parts of skateboard culture.”
Jesse Watson is the founder of a remarkable Canadian company – Homegrown Skateboards – and will exhibit a survey exhibition of unique skateboard decks. Homegrown Skateboards is located above LaHave’s famous bakery in an old outfitter’s building on the south shore of Nova Scotia.