From / were / are
Saturday April 29, 2017 - 2pm to 5pm
Alex Bierk | Gary Blundell | John B. Boyle | Vincent Chevalier |
John Climenhage | Christy Haldane | jes sachse | Victoria Ward
Shown with works from the Permanent Collection by:
Nicole Bauberger | Carl Beam | Michael Belmore | Jimson Bowler |
Greg Curnoe | James Lahey | Jean Nind | Sarah Nind | Dennis Tourbin |
Speaking about artist and cyclist Greg Curnoe on a 2001 panel titled Regionalism and Internationalism, Philip Monk said:
“Every artist, regionalist or not, even abstract or figurative, probably has a localism of content, but that is not primarily of importance. Do the characteristics of a region define regionalism? I think not. Curnoe’s work is made more out of his everyday activity, however defined, than by local myth. … I was thinking this morning that there is an image for this communication and solidarity in Curnoe’s work and life that relates his art broadly to all the art internationally around it – that of cycling. All around the world, guys in funny little coloured suits and caps, are all doing the same thing – purchasing and debating the same specialized commodities, recording the same obsessive mileage. Guys and their gear. Regionalism and Internationalism. It is the same everywhere.”
Is there a Peterborough regional vernacular? And if so, is that dialect somehow different from that of Ajax or Orillia or Waterloo? Is it cultivated by unemployment numbers or what the landscape looks like or how tall the buildings are? Is it the people? Is it discernible in the art we make?
The word “regional” has an interesting role in art. Aside from describing place, London Regionalism is an art movement from the 1950s and 60s with notable artists Jack Chambers and Greg Curnoe among others. The Ontario Arts Council defines one of its funding priorities that “identifies all applicants outside Toronto as a funding priority” stating that “Ontario’s regional characteristics can exert strong influences on artists.” The mandates of art institutions across the country (well, those outside of densely populated areas) are peppered with the term in an effort to situate within a loosely defined space. The operations in these locales however, are not specifically local. While we understand that the places we have been and the places we are shape our experience and inform our understanding, we also understand that our experiences are affected by a much broader and variable set of circumstances. Place is one of those, but it is one of many. Likewise, the artists living and making in a region, those exhibited, and the audiences reached might be defined along a series of lines that are far more abstract than geographical boundaries are capable of describing.
This exhibition is a microstudy, bringing together works from the AGP’s Permanent Collection alongside borrowed works, all by artists linked to this region. From / were / are is not attempting to be a final or defining stance on the possibility of Peterborough regionalism but rather explores the many expressions of lived experiences connected to this place. It brings together a cross section of lesser known and established artists who are connected to the region to present another point of departure – one that presents current practice alongside the AGP’s longstanding commitment to collecting and exhibiting artists in community.