News Archive

May 10, 2012

Greg Curnoe
Sheila, Colour Wheels and The Great Canadian Sonnet
Paintings and Works on Paper
North Gallery
May 12 - June 2, 2012
Opening Reception: Saturday, May 12, 2-5pm

Greg Curnoe: Large Colour Wheel, 1980, watercolour and graphite on paper 75X75 inches

We are pleased to present Sheila, Colour Wheels and The Great Canadian Sonnet, a solo exhibition of work by Greg Curnoe.

Curnoe's work often chronicled his place, family and surrounds. Members of his family were often the subjects of his paintings and in particular his wife, Sheila. Included in the exhibition are two rarely seen major paintings of Sheila.

Also featured in the show is the important work Large Colour Wheel. Curnoe's intense interest in the circle and wheels, colour and bicycles, continued throughout his life. His passion for(these themes intermingle in this very significant work.

Featured in the exhibition is a collection of very rare drawings. Curnoe collaborated with Dave McFadden for The Great Canadian Sonnet, the small but hefty art book of stories by McFadden with drawings by Curnoe. In the 60's and 70's, Coach House Book Publishing Company in Toronto was establishing its continuing commitment to exploring new territory in publishing. Many writers, poets and artists worked closely with the press and collaborated on significant volumes. Such was the case with The Great Canadian Sonnet, first published in 1970 and 71 as 2 volumes, then in 1974 as one.

From the Coach House site: “Since its first appearance in 1974, The Great Canadian Sonnet has been a classic. Shaped like those Golden Big Little Books, it matches each page of McFadden's bizarre text with an even more bizarre drawing by Greg Curnoe. ---- Of course, the text is only the beginning. Curnoe's drawings don't just illustrate McFadden's writing - they comment on it, interact with it, riff on it. They're just plain brilliant in their own right.”

Building on his practice of print, collage, drawing and painting, performance and writing, continuing to record everyday life around his hometown of London Ontario, Curnoe traveled far and influenced many. His work is among the most important and innovative produced in Canada and still is as fresh and vital as ever. Curnoe died tragically in a cycling accident in 1992.

The Art Gallery of Ontario mounted the major retrospective, Greg Curnoe, Life & Stuff, in 2001, curated by Dennis Reid, and is a study centre for his work, with comprehensive holdings. The substantial book which was published to accompany the exhibition includes an essay by Reid, Some things I learned From Greg Curnoe, from which the following passage is taken:

“Most of Curnoe’s art, it seemed to me, the lettered pieces as well as the figurative paintings, was about momentary experience, about pausing to look at something or someone. Each work chronicles a brief passage of time turned to observation and reflection, describing both what was before the artist’s eyes at a particular juncture and was running through his mind. It struck me during my time in the studio—looking at the work amid the incredible array of objects assembled there, all souvenirs of specific experiences, one suspected, like the art--- that the richness of Curnoe’s vision, its resonance, rested on his fascination with the way things connected. In this scheme, even the most mundane observation was integral to a great web of experience, stretching out in all directions from the sensate body at the centre, familiarly ensconced at home or in the adjacent studio. This web, centrally dense and strong, more open as its outer reaches, stretched back through time as well. The work, then, the evidence of this interconnectedness, was a living, growing, increasingly rich history of a man, of a family, of a community, a city, a region, country, civilization, of the human condition.---“

Curnoe's works are included in most major public gallery collections and numerous private ones across Canada and can be seen regularly in extended installations at such galleries as the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, The Vancouver Art Gallery and Museum London, Ontario.

Recent publications include: “Cutout, Greg Curnoe, Shaped Collages, 1965-1968", the catalogue for the exhibition of the same name, exhibited at Museum London and curated by Robert Fones.

Work by Greg Curnoe was included the exhibition, Lights Out!, February 18, 2012 – April 29, 2012 at the Vancouver Art Gallery and included paintings from the 60's in the VAG's permanent collection. From the VAG's press release: “Lights Out! Canadian Painting from the 1960’s celebrates the verve and energy of this decade as expressed on canvas. Featuring nearly ninety paintings, Lights Out! reflects the vibrancy of this exceptional era”


Jaclyn Conley
The Social And The Domestic
New Paintings
South Gallery
May 12 - June 2, 2012
Opening Reception: Saturday, May 12, Artist Present 2-5pm

Jaclyn Conley The volcano, 2012, oil on canvas, 40X43 inches

We are pleased to present our first solo exhibition of the work of Jaclyn Conley, The Social And The Domestic.

In her fine paintings, Conley often quotes incidences and ephemera found on the internet. The dramatic compositions that arise from the subsequent juxtapositions make for striking paintings in the hands of this accomplished painter.

Conley has been included in many public gallery exhibitions including the “Full Circle: Ten Years of Radius” at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Connecticut. In a review of the exhibition in the New York Times, Benjamin Genocchio stated:

“Given our understanding of art has undergone tremendous upheaval in the past couple of decades, it is surprising to find so much painting in this show. It is painting, what’s more, that uses traditional art materials, mostly oil on linen, and adheres to centuries-old genres, including landscape, history painting and portraiture, It is 2009, right?

I am curious about this focus because digital technologies have radically altered how images are made and experienced. Meanwhile, our understanding of visual art has been torn from its roots in ritual and tradition and thrust into the context of mass media and cultural studies. Art today has a very different look, purpose and social position than it did a century ago, or even four decades back.

This is not to say that the work here is reactionary, for much of the painting in this show suggests a nuanced awareness of the world in which we live. For instance Jaclyn Conley’s dramatic, skillfully painted mis-en-scènes possess a real cinematic quality---“

Conley graduated from the University of Guelph with her MFA in 2004. Her undergraduate degrees are from the Nova Scotia School of Art and Design and The Ontario College of Art. Conley is also Assistant Professor of Art, Painting and Drawing, Hartford Art School, University of Hartford, CT.

Conley says of her work in a recent statement:

"The Social And The Domestic, 2012

Initially animals roamed into the composition as figures that were not aged, gendered, of a specific time or place but which held a rich history of associations within cultural narratives. Their introduction positions these accounts clearly outside of reality or the everyday and into an imagined, but nonetheless familiar, space.

In recent paintings, familial conflicts are played out by both domesticated and predatory animals. I've been focusing on the bed as a stage, seeing this as a site of significant or heightened moments of human intimacy; birth, death, sleep, reflection, illness and ecstasy. Whether suggesting bouts of passion, violence or play, these pairings bring forth the emotion characteristically felt or enacted within the domesticated space, animalizing the human and humanizing the animal."


Please note: on Saturdays, free parking for building visitors is available in the 401 Richmond building lot, located at the rear of the building. Enter off Richmond St., at the east end of the building. The building and gallery can be accessed from the back entrance, off the parking lot. There is also parking available in several lots off Peter St. and on the north side of Richmond St, across from the building.