The Glendon Gallery opened the doors of its beautiful new space in Glendon Manor, overlooking the rose garden, with this year’s annual student art exhibition, Theories of Expression, on March 6th. The opening gala welcomed an enthusiastic crowd of students, faculty and staff, ready to tour the displayed works and admire the new location of this important centre of cultural activities.
“The title, Theories of Expression, was chosen by the students and sets the tone for the exhibition,” said Marc Audette, visual artist and art professor at Glendon. “While this title may seem like an oxymoron, it gives expression to the complexity of creative works, and explains the diversity of media used and subjects presented by more than a dozen Glendon students: from photography to painting, from installation art to drawing.”
The participating student artists were present at the opening reception, ready to explain their work and answer questions. Students were inspired in Audette’s French-language visual arts courses, “Photographie numérique” (Digital Photography) and “Ligne et forme” (Line and Form), by the works of other artists and different techniques, including painting, collage and digital photography. Through their own art, they examined complex issues, such as body language, the socio-economic implications of advertisements during election campaigns, acts of violence, dreams…
Émelyne Calizaire’s digital photographs gave the impression of painted scenery. A view of a waterfront with dramatic clouds and soft, brownish hues evoked a Dutch landscape painted in the 17th century; while her other work was an intriguing peek through a window framed by flowing drapery, with a view of a cathedral, and a hint of something about to happen just beyond…
Kate Laird used a completely different medium and subject matter in her quartet of black-and-white portraits. Three of them appear to be ink drawings of stylized, vampish divas, Cleopatra-like, bejeweled, with low-cut dresses and head ornaments. The fourth portrait is a photo of the head of a dreamy young woman, reclining and gazing upward, her face dappled by the shadows of leaves, hinting at a tree just above. The style is high melodrama, harking back to photos of movie stars in the 1930s and 40s – Marlene Dietrich, Vivien Leigh….
Kate Laird's portrait quartet
Muhammad Umar A. Boodoo, an international student newly arrived in Toronto, expresses his bewilderment at the commands, interdictions and confusion that the many signs represent on the city’s streets. They seem like constant limitations to what is allowed and what is possible, bordering on insanity.
Marie-Ève Truchon’s photographs of a beautiful female hand allow the viewer to escape from this bustling scene into an inner world, seemingly from another time, carefully laid out on finely folded drapery – a delicate ring on one finger. Truchon is a second-year Canadian Studies student, who takes this art course “in order to experience something different from the rest of my program, a chance to pursue my other interests in art and poetry. I love exploring the effects of light, and the narration of stories and feelings through pictures.”
Renée Gauthier’s amazing variety of materials and techniques is a highlight of this exhibition, both in the number of works she displays and the different topics she explores. Her dark green canvas with a watering can is a wonderful distillation of nature’s work. From the can’s spout it’s plant roots that pour out rather than water – a clever way of getting to the ‘root’ of things. One of her large canvasses shows a grayish black expanse with reddish newspaper clippings attached in spots. Upon closer examination, the dark surface reveals the features of a dream-like face, with eyes closed – perhaps an intimation of death, the news clippings dripping blood?
Renée Gauthier's watering can
Ah, and then there are Julien Lacaille’s grotesque nudes, large females past their prime, with pendulous breasts and protruding bellies. They show off their ostentatious jewelry, taking up flirtatious poses which caricature the traditional, voluptuous young beauties one expects.
A nude by Julien Lacaille
The displayed works reflect a great deal of thought and inner exploration on the part of the artists. They reveal ideas and messages these students want to express, this time not through words, but by means of canvas, paint, camera, pen and paper. These visual arts courses represent an important part of what a true liberal arts program should be, namely an all-around experience of the humanities: not only science, literature, history, languages, but also all art forms.
Coming next to the Glendon Gallery is Bolerama, a recent photographic series by local artist Lise Beaudry. These photos explore the inside and outside perspectives of Boler trailers, manufactured in the artist’s home town of Earlton, Ontario. The photos, accompanied by a bilingual sound installation, reveal the artist’s ethnographic approach and succeed in recreating a particular microculture.
Bolerama will be at the Glendon Gallery from March 20 to April 8. Gallery hours are Tuesdays to Fridays 12 noon to 3:00 pm, Saturdays 1:00 to 4:00 pm. Managed by director of artistic and cultural affairs Martine Rheault, the Glendon Gallery functions under the aegis of the Office of Student Services, directed by associate principal Louise Lewin. For information about the Glendon Gallery, please visit their website, www.glendon.yorku.ca/gallery or contact Martine Rheault, tel: 416-487-6859; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was submitted by Glendon communications officer Marika Kemeny.