2009 Past Exhibitions

Sculpture, Gordon Kennedy, Saint Ann’s
Drawings and Prints by Adam MacDonald
Paintings Pastels, Gerard (Gerry) Collins, Saint John
Installation Mixed Media, Jeanne Thib, Toronto
Painting, Pierre Nadeau
Melpomene’s Daughters" Sarah Petite, Fredricton
Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour
Annual Art Department Faculty Exhibition
Annual Art Department Student Exhibition
Annual Student Union Photography Show
Pandora’s Box: The Descent into Depression & the Healing Return Journey. Gillian McCulloch
"The Backroads, Hay, Tools & Clay" 

December 1, 2009 - December 20, 2009
Exhibition: Sculpture
Gordon Kennedy, Saint Ann’s.

The StFX University Art Gallery concluded its 2009 exhibition year with "Another Way Of Looking”, an exciting display of recent metal constructions by Cape Breton sculptor Gordon Kennedy.

A native of British Columbia, Gordon Kennedy is a graduate (77) of the Vancouver Art School, now called the Emily Carr College of Art. After art school Gordon traveled to Europe and eventually moved to Toronto’s vibrant Queen Street art community. It was there that he met his wife, photographer Carol Kennedy. With a family underway they began looking for a place to settle and raise their family. Drawn to the beauty and potential of Cape Breton, the Kennedys settled in St. Ann’s Bay. There they built a house overlooking the North River. In 1996, the Kennedys opened Ironart & Photographs, a working forge and gallery on the Cabot Trail.

Gordon’s work is the three dimensional realization of a life long exploration of the language of form. Although Form in the broad sense of the word can be applied to anything. Kennedy uses it in a manner that is specific to art. However Gordon’s definition of art is not limited to the arena of the art gallery. Indeed, Kennedy refers to his house as his most successful sculpture. For this artist sculpture is not just something one walks around, looks at, and/or touches but is also something that can cradle and nurture a lived-life.  There is much to consider about a body of work that, consciously or not, embraces Hermes Trismegistus’ dictum, As Within So Without.

That Gordon Kennedy should now be concentrating on creating work for which he writes "I am drawn to metal because of the primal and physical force required to shape it after it is softened by the extreme heat of the forge... " calls for a rather compelling, if not poetic, consideration that this artist deals with alchemy. Not ironically, in addition to running a forge Gordon is an award winning snow sculptor. At the 1999 Quebec Winter Carnival he placed first in National and Artist Choice in International Snow Sculpting and won silver at the 2000 Harbin Festival in China.

However, in this exhibition the Artist is presenting metal works that deal with the formal properties of shape, mass, and the subtle colours of metal.  Of the work in this exhibit, the artist writes "These are ideas, sketches, and gestures in space and because sculpture is three dimensional, they are real"


Gordon’s sculptures are in the collections of the Cape Breton University, Membertou Band Council, Copeland, Duncan Law Office Toronto, M&G Steel, Mississauga, as well as many private collections throughout Canada, the U.S., and Ireland. For more information on the artist please visit: http://www.ironart.ca/ and http://vans.ednet.ns.ca/artist_pages/gkennedy.html

The StFX University Art Gallery gratefully acknowledges our Season Sponsor: The MacLeod Group, and Exhibition Sponsors: A.A. Munro Insurance and Steelmac Limited.

November 3, 2009 - November 29, 2009
Exhibition: Drawings and Prints by Adam MacDonald

"They (the images) plunge a viewer-you-into visual and emotional entanglement, probing your interior experiences and the challenge to bring them to meaning full expression”.

In the drawings and prints presented here, Adam explores a zone where an image and its' attendant components of line and texture are imbued with physiological signification.  Here the artist forgoes building images using the convention of observation.  Instead, he grows the image by reacting to a combination of immediate thought and the image as-it-is being-made.  Be they emotional or symbolic, the associations one brings to Adam's images are denied complete resolution.  Individual works are bereft of the comfort and artistic safety of a narrative save for our effort to discern the immediacy of mark-making.  We must partner with the artist, observing, and feeling, a simultaneous ebb and flow of conviction and uncertainty. 


October 6, 2009 - October 6, 2009
Exhibition: Paintings Pastels
Gerard (Gerry) Collins, Saint John

Gerard Collins has a BFA(81) from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and has studied at the St. Martin's School of Art, London, England. He has also studied with Gerhard Richter at the Dusseldorf Staatliche Kunstakademie. Collins has exhibited throughout the University Galleries and Artist-Run-Centres of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and in Toronto at Hart House, Harbourfront Centre, and Wynick Tuck Gallery. A recipient of numerous award and grants, he is recognized as an established artist by the Canada Council.  Gerard’s work is to be found in many private and public collections, including those of: the National Gallery of Canada, New Brunswick Museum, Beaverbrook Art Gallery, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Pan Canadian Airlines, McCain Foods Limited, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, and the universities of Mount Saint Vincent and Mount Allison New Brunswick.  In Halifax he is represented by Studio 21.

As a highly trained artist he is cognisant of the histories and symbolism of the various schools of painting yet Collins eschews such comparisons in favour of producing an art that is first and foremost a purely visual experience.  All else is secondary to this primary motivation yet Collins grounds us with the familiarity and comfort of our surroundings by anchoring his paintings in imagery based on the everyday yet archetypical moments. The net result is an aesthetic that is has the freshness and immediacy of the moment. Collins is recognized, admired, and collected by his peers throughout Atlantic Canada.  Gerard Collins is a painters’ painter

Collins brings to the StFX Art Gallery a body of work executed the bold colours and exquisite shorthand of his signature style.  For this exhibition the artist has created a series inspired by the views and vistas encountered in his daily journey between home and studio and the interior of his studio space. 


In his exhibition proposal he wrote "nature can still inspire us…(nature) treats us all to the same amazing slide shows.....free of charge" and of "recording as many of these moments I can".

The StFX University Art Gallery gratefully acknowledges our Season Sponsor: The MacLeod Group and exhibition sponsor AA Munro Insurance.

September 8, 2009 - October 4, 2009
Exhibition: Installation Mixed Media
Jeanne Thib, Toronto.

The StFX Art Gallery was honoured to begin the academic year 2009-2010 with “Compound: Ornament & Seduction," an exciting and challenging installation by the internationally recognized Toronto-based artist, Jeannie Thib.

We are most fortunate that our gallery can attract artists of such calibre and for this I wish to thank our guest curator Tila Kellman.

Tila’s essay on the work presented in this installation is printed here in our exhibition catalogue and will provide further insights to the important body of writings that surround this artist’s production.

Long fascinated by pattern, ornamentation and their representational functions, especially in relation to fine arts, Jeannie's investigations have taken her on a journey that has pushed the boundaries between aesthetics and use.  Her appropriation and modifications of 18th- and 19th-century maps, navigation charts, and wood block prints of the human body allowed her to explore the  language of ownership, colonization, systems of knowledge, and body politic.  Her study and use of the attendant periods' domestic textiles, tiles, and wallpapers opened an understanding of the gestalt of two-dimensional art and the dynamic between function and ornament.

As with any investigation, each advance is built upon the last and here in Antigonish we are presented with Jeannie's wonderful distillations of a piece of damask and a faience tile.  The patterns are hand-drawn, computer-scanned, adjusted and used to cut the shapes into three-dimensional pieces.  What was once essentially flat embellishment emerges into three-dimensions, what was once rather passive is actualized with the power and presence of an architectural model. 

The father of modernist architecture, Louis Henri Sullivan, coined the dictum, "Form follows function," but Thib turns this around into a MacLuhanesque "Function follows form."  Through the process of deconstruction Jeannie allows us to consider such possibilities. By looking afresh at what is taken for granted we can further understand whence we came and undertake the decisions necessary to plot where we are going.    

July 28, 2009 - August 28, 2009
Exhibition: Painting
Pierre Nadeau

Artist statement:

I have painted for more than forty years.  My oils, in fauve colors and the contrasting forms, deliver the wild beauty of a rich and intact nature.

I am strongly inspired by the work of the "Group of Seven" and particularly by Tom Thompson.  My varied interpretations of Nature come from my deep personal involvement with it.  I am constantly fascinated by the luminosity and the shadows of the landscapes, which I try to transpose on canvas with rigor and assurance.

The subjects I choose are rendered in an impressionistic style.  My interpretations of mood, movement and forms are always evident in my works.  In each of my paintings, you are constantly reminded of my trusted accomplice The Light.

June 9, 2009 - July 19, 2009
Exhibition: Melpomene’s Daughters"
Sarah Petite, Fredricton

Artist Statement
from:  http://www.sarahpetite.com

The subject of my art practice is the artifact, the ruling theme a love of history, expressed through imaginative replications in encaustic paint.  This medium is able to reproduce the minute detail of other "manufactures", through a technique rather like inlay.  Then the virtuosity of this unique paint asserts itself, injecting dry artifacts with colour and excitement.

Immersion in a medium, though seemingly of-the-shop, can take on a spiritual dimension, when studied devotedly for a long period.  Encaustic, with its antiquity, naturally had good references. But the medium, whatever it may be, becomes eventually a persona with which one dialogues in the search for integrity of theme.  As clay is to the potter, or bronze to the sculptor, wax paint has become for me.

Information taken from artist’s website


What is Encaustic?

Encaustic employs the same pigments as are used in other paints, but a different binder or medium.  Where the medium is linseed oil in oil paints, water in watercolour, or egg yolk in egg tempera, that in encaustic is beeswax, which of course must be in a molten state for painting.  The Greek word for "heat" is "encaustic", hence the name of the medium.

Encaustic painting goes back to ancient times, to the Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians

May 5, 2009 - June 5, 2009
Exhibition: Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour

Following the Remembrance Day ceremony on November 11, 1925, a group of artists met in the library of the Arts and Letters Club, a popular gathering place for practitioners in all the arts in Toronto. At that meeting 12 major Canadian talents, all passionately committed to the importance of watercolour as a medium, founded the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour.

The founding artists were: F.H. Brigden, A.J. Casson, Franklin Carmichael, C.W. Jefferys, Fred S. Haines, L.A.C. Panton, R.F. Gagen, Thomas G. Greene, Robert Holmes, Franz Johnston, Andre Lapine, and E.J. Sampson.
Their aim was to recognize, encourage and nurture excellence of work in the medium of watercolour.

April 7, 2009 - May 1, 2009
Exhibition: Annual Art Department Faculty Exhibition
The StFX Fine Art Faculty Show featured many different works by faculty members in the StFX Fine Arts Department.

March 24, 2009 - April 5, 2009
Exhibition: Annual Art Department Student Exhibition

The Art Dept Student Show featured various pieces from students at StFX who were enrolled in courses within the Art Department.

March 17, 2009 - March 22, 2009
Exhibition: Annual Student Union Photography Show

The Student Union Photo Show featured photography submitted by various students at StFX.

February 10, 2009 - March 8, 2009
Exhibition: Pandora’s Box: The Descent into Depression & the Healing Return Journey.
Gillian McCulloch

The StFX University Art Galley hosted a thoughtful and provocative exhibition of paintings by well known local artist, Gillian McCulloch, titled: Pandora’s Box: The Descent into Depression & the Healing Return Journey.

As indicated by its’ title, the exhibition is a pictorial exploration of depression based on experiences of the artist and her friends. Armed with skills developed over years of producing some of this region’s most penetrating portraits, Gillian has courageously turned her personal experience with depression into art.  In her own words Gillian describes Pandora’s Box as "designed to take the viewer gradually into the dark world of depression but then bring them back full circle to the light again." To do this, McCulloch has divided this exhibition of over 35 works into three sections: Symptoms, Medicine, and Small Blessings representative of the illness, treatment, and recovery.

Depression is a wide spread and very common illness. The disease itself and its’ sufferers are often stigmatized by a complex societal fear of any, and all, forms of mental illness. It is only through discussion at all levels of society can these attitudes change. Gillian does just this by injecting her art into this dialogue there by legitimizing this discussion via the institution of public art and its discourse.

Using her combined knowledge of symbolism, painterly realism, and psychological understanding, Gillian has created and assembled a body of work that places art and personal experience in the service of a greater good.

The production and tour of Pandora’s Box is made possible with the assistance of Nova Scotia Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia and the Pope Foundation. In Antigonish, the StFX Art Gallery gratefully acknowledges its Season Sponsor, the Macleod Group, and the Exhibition Sponsor, A.A. Munroe Insurance.


January 6, 2009 - February 8, 2009
Exhibition: "The Backroads, Hay, Tools & Clay"

The StFX University Art Gallery proudly began its 2009 exhibition year with "The Backroads, Hay, Tools, and Clay". This is an exciting exhibition by local ceramicist, Fenn Martin.  A native of Port Hood, Cape Breton, Fenn works and lives in Antigonish County’s Ohio Valley.

Nova Scotians are fortunate to have one of the best art schools in North America. In our current era, the prestigious Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University (NSCADU) has now produced at least two generations of world class designers, craftspeople and artists who have chosen to make this place their home. Combined with a growing infrastructure of public galleries, art consciousness in this province is quickly developing.

We began our 2009 exhibition season with an artist and work that embodies this new eara Fenn Martin is a native of Port Hood, Cape Breton. He went to NSCADU and now works and lives in Antigonish County’s Ohio Valley. Technically and politically savvy, "The Backroads, Hay, Tools & Clay" is a show that engages us on so many levels. It is an exhibition by and about this place, its people, and this time and it has the qualities that will transcend this moment.