a quiet that stays

Curator's Talk
Sunday August 25, 2019 - 3pm to 4:30pm

Guest curated by Wendy Trusler


This exhibition considers knowing, how we know things and the power of small moments — a shimmer of sunlight on water, the sway of reeds in a wetland, clattering teacups.

In The Unbearable Lightness of Being Milan Kundera suggests “the brain appears to possess a special area which we might call poetic memory and which records everything that charms or touches us, that makes our lives beautiful…” In developing this exhibition,

Trusler and Leitch worked closely, discussing points of inspiration drawn from research, personal experience, and the Permanent Collection to compose a selection that considers the potency of poetic memory. During these discussions, Trusler shared a personal story:

The spring I graduated from art college I was diagnosed with a brain tumour. Fortunately, it was benign and operable, the challenge for my surgeons was to remove the tumour and leave my ability to speak and form memories intact. To do so, they had to operate while I was awake.  I will always be grateful to my surgeon for his skill. I am equally thankful for his kind suggestion, upon learning of my love of canoeing, to screen a slideshow during the operation depicting his white-water trip down the Nahanni River. He gave my boyfriend the task of turning the slides in the carousel so they could be viewed while semi-prone. For all the energy devoted to quieting my mind that July day, I am sorry to say I recall only one very grainy image of a canoe and packs on a shoreline. In fact, the post-operative report indicates I seized two slides into the show.

What stays with me occurred both a few minutes and decades prior to the OR slideshow.

I recall being restless and asked If I could move. My doctor softly told me to remain still. I did, especially when I heard a drill buzz followed by scraping and chipping. To my surprise, rather than fear or anxiety, the sounds triggered memories of selling lemonade at the end of my parents’ driveway. Business was slow so to pass time my younger self crouched on the curb and chipped away at the cracked cement, delighting at how far and randomly the stones flew. Back in the OR I smiled and thought the surgeons had best keep track of all the pieces. They did.

Our brains are mysterious: grasping moments and organizing things into narratives, attaching them to smells and colours and sounds. The selection includes works that depict the familiar textures of landscape and detail of the domestic alongside process-based artworks which reveal a searching for and shifting of ideas to evoke the act of careful noticing. Together they hint at the capricious way the mind works — and carry the hopeful suggestion we have the capacity to conjure a summer’s day lemonade stand when we need it most.


Wendy Trusler is an interdisciplinary visual artist, designer, curator and writer who creates site-responsive installations that incorporate drawing, painting, text, sculpture, performance, and film. Trusler is an Associate of the Ontario College of Art and holds a History degree from the University of Western Ontario. She is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, was shortlisted for the Taste Canada Food Writing Awards for Best Culinary Narrative in 2014 and awarded a Chalmers Art Fellowship in 2015. She currently works as the Public Art Facilitator for the City of Peterborough.

Regular Hours: The Art Gallery of Peterborough is OPEN Wednesday to Sunday from 11 am - 5 pm

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