2011 Past Exhibitions

November 22, 2011 - December 22, 2011
Exhibition: Painting
Margaret Ryall, Saint Johns.

The StFX Art Gallery was please and honoured to host this exhibition by St. John’s Newfoundland artist Margaret Ryall.

"Remnants" consists of collages and assemblages. The collages are made up of pieces of wallpaper, newsprint and paint chips: the type we find during the renovation of older buildings. In addition we find a number of works consisting of bas relief wax castings of the small intimate debris one finds in collapsed buildings: door hardware, nails, bolts, washers etc. 

For her collages Margaret has used the process of image transfer producing a flat uniform surface. This uniformity is echoed by the muted encaustic surfaces of castings. By avoiding multi textured surfaces and three dimensional assemblages, her work allows us to concentrate on pictorial space and illusion. 

The pictorial is further enhanced as Ryall’s works contain painted images of well used functional objects including rope, block and tackle, a toggle, a broken table leg, an old coffee grinder, a wooden chest, and a paint brush. The depicted objects are from the same era as the wallpaper, and they aesthetically compliment the collages.

The dominating visual texture of old wallpaper evokes a deep feeling of nostalgia and the use of illusion will be soothing to some. However the paintings are not restful as Ryall’s juxtaposition of images takes us gently out of our comfort zones.

"Discarded artifacts, debris from a collapsed building, tools, household items or peeling layers of wallpaper and paint have the power to both reference life and to transport the viewer to another time. Initially an attraction to the precarious beauty of marred, everyday objects led St. John’s artist, Margaret Ryall to create Remnants, a body of work that explores themes of permanence and fragility in our lives.

The source material for this work comes from four family homes, one in St. John’s and the remaining in various communities in Bonavista Bay that are in the process of being renovated. The fifth structure, no longer in existence, was once a temporary home for the artist’s grandparents who were forced to leave Argentia in the 1940’s. The selected buildings are representative of the changes in communities in Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as the effects of the passage of time on objects and the natural world."

                                                     The Leyton Gallery http://www.theleytongallery.com

The starting point of our interpretations does indeed begin in the past aesthetic of domestic space. However by pushing the work away from the purely decorative and into the speculative and the background information, specific to place, fades.

The encoded symbolism of Ryall’s choice of imagery deliberately creates a duality between inside and outside. The era(s) which she evokes clearly held that inside the house was the domain of the female and outside that of the male. This interpretation may be simplistic but it does offer the possibility of an internal dialogue of self reflection. If we are fortunate we recognize the invitation to question our past relationships to our domestic spaces, where we are today and where we will be tomorrow.

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

October 18, 2011 - November 13, 2011
Exhibition: Fine Art Faculty Exhibition

This extraordinarily varied exhibition included new works in drawing, painting, etching, glass, batik, tapestry, pastels, watercolour and more. This show demonstrated the high level of achievement of our Art Department faculty, and provided an important opportunity for the StFX and Antigonish community to enjoy a variety of works produced by the Fine Art  faculty. The quality of the pieces that were on display is indicative of the Department’s ability to attract some of the areas best talent.

Visitors to the exhibition enjoyed 30 works by Janette Fecteau, Kate Brown Georgallas, Murray Gibson, Sharon Jan, Michael MacFarlane, Margaret Nicholson, Odile Têtu, Iris Delgado Roach, Julia Redgrave, William Rogers, Anna Syperek, and Ruth Young. The StFX University Art Gallery gratefully acknowledges our Season Sponsor: The MacLeod Group and Exhibitions Sponsor: A. A. Munro Insurance.

August 1, 2011 - October 9, 2011
Exhibition: Selections from the StFX University Permanent Collection
This exhibition showcased a variety of works from our permanent collection.

April 30, 2011 - June 3, 2011
Exhibition: "Life at the Edge"
Julia Redgrave

The StFX Art Gallery was please and honoured to host this exhibition by well known Antigonish artist Julia Redgrave.

Highly respected by her peers, Julia Redgrave has distinguished herself as an artist, an educator and as a community organizer.

Julia’s involvement with the local arts council: Antigonish Culture Alive, her leadership role on its’ board, its’ annual summer exhibition Gathering of the Arts, and its various publications has done much to raise visual awareness within the greater community.

In this, her latest series Life at the Edge, Redgrave offers an enriching observation on the journey we find ourselves taking. Whether we contemplate on the entire series or focus on a particular work, the delicious complexities and inevitabilities of life are, if only for the briefest of moments made visible and comprehendible.

The StFX Art Gallery is grateful to Julia for the opportunity to exhibit this exhibition and especially to Beth Parker and Anne Simpson for their contributions to our in-house catalogue, providing a deeper appreciation of this body of work

This exhibition has been made possible through the generous support of the StFX University, Season Sponsor: the MacLeod Group, and Exhibition Sponsor: A.A. Munro Insurance

April 26, 2011 - April 26, 2011
Exhibition: J.H. Gillis Regional High: International Baccalaureate Art Show

This exhibition featured works from students enrolled in the International Baccalaureate program at Dr. J.H. Gillis Regional High School.

April 6, 2011 - April 20, 2011
Exhibition: Art @ X Permanent Collection Show

This exhibition showcased a variety of works from our permanent collection.

March 22, 2011 - April 3, 2011
Exhibition: Art @X Art Dept. Student Show

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

March 15, 2011 - March 20, 2011
Exhibition: Art @X Student Union Photo Show

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

February 15, 2011 - March 13, 2011
Exhibition: "Materiality" Anne O'Callaghan, Toronto with Margaret Nicholson"

The StFX Art Gallery was please and honoured to host this exhibition by Irish born, Toronto based, internationally known artist Anne O’Callaghan. We are grateful to art critic, curator, and writer Dr. Tila Kellman who first proposed that Anne exhibit here in Antigonish. 

In discussing her exhibition, Anne proposed that she enter into a collaborative project with a local artist of our choice.  Unanimously Tila and I agreed to ask StFX Fine Art Instructor Margaret Nicholson to participate, as Margaret has numerous collection based pieces in her body of work. I thank Margaret for readily agreeing to be part of this wonderful project.

This exhibition has been made possible by an Artist Exhibition Grant from the Ontario Art Council and the generous support of the StFX University, Season Sponsor: the MacLeod Group, and Exhibition Sponsor: A.A. Munro Insurance

January 12, 2011 - February 15, 2011
Exhibition: Le Droit de Suite- Process Painting 1974-2011
Jeffery Spalding, Head of Jeddore.

The StFX University Art Gallery was honoured  to begin the 2011 new year with "Le Droit de Suite:  Process Painting 1975-2011" by internationally known Canadian artist Jeffrey Spalding RCA, C.M.

The exhibition consisted of an installation of paintings executed and arranged in a manner that questions and lays bare the very mechanics of creating and defining visual art.

This exhibition and, indeed, the art practice of Jeffery Spalding is rooted in an academically rigorous philosophy of conceptual art. The specific form of conceptual art that Spalding works in was born in Halifax at the College of Art and Design (NSCAD). This is the school to which I adhere and I trust that Jeff will be in agreement with much of what I now write. I would like that his installation be considered as a seminal presentation in the ongoing dialogue of developing both a formal and inclusive community art practice in Antigonish. I will now paint with very board brush stokes.

The Halifax investigation commenced in 1967 when Garry Neil Kennedy became president of that august institution, and what was the local art school for Nova Scotians morphed into an internationally recognized enclave of progressive art practice. By the mid-eighties NSCAD’s preeminence was mitigated by faculty unionization. Thankfully, the majority of Halifax conceptualists were for the most part scattered throughout “art land."

Eschewing all fixed definitions of art, fully cognizant of the histories and usages of visual communication, the currency of highest value during the NSCAD’s "golden age” was that of the intellect proofed by rigorous critique. Critique demands structure… a language… a dialectic. A metaphorical grid, perhaps begun with the squaring of the circle but most certainly informed by Greenbergian formalism and Frankfurt dialectics, descended on NSCAD. It became a framework on which we made order from the chaos of our personal experiences, all recombined within a global matrix of meanings and values. Our anthropological diggings were joined with sociological interpretations. Considerations of authenticity, expropriation, entropy, shamanism, symbolism, structuralism, socio-economic /gender and geo-politics etc, etc, entered into our practice. And yet when all was, and is, said and done, it is in those areas which cannot be explained but only experienced that our art is to be found. Can’t you see the grid?

As the art object came under scrutiny and contextualized layers of usury peeled away like so much ideological wallpaper, the object of veneration was stripped to its constituent elements. With vigor, the conceptualists of NSCAD undertook the deconstruction of the art object. Logic had long reduced a painting to paint on a surface, but now if it was painted by artists it was art, if you declared yourself an artist, you were one.  Boundaries between craft and art were exposed, erased and rewritten. The painting’s support, the canvas or panel, was now extended to the distribution system of art.  It was a system that maintained and created provenance, composed of an interdependent mix of many systems. Academic-philosophical art schools nestled in colleges, universities, stand alone public/ private galleries, foundations and trade journals, and each validated and fed their own forms of orthodoxy to adherents. The orthodoxies, unique sets of spiritual/intellectual beliefs, each backed whatever currency it could garner.

The further outside of conceptual art discourse one travels, a territory dominated by a market driven economy, the art of painting and the craft of painting become hopelessly confused. Beyond the gates of academia, outside of the walls of the enclave, it is the latter rather than the former that is rewarded. The salon is now a trade show.

As primary communication, visual linguistics is the most exploited (advertising/ art history). Visual art is the easiest to manipulate and regulate. The art experience, a preciously small proportion of what visual experience we are exposed to, becomes increasingly important given the few opportunities we have to experience it.  For the art experience to remain relevant it is the art of painting that must be seen and the seduction consensual

For me it precisely at this juncture that this show finds its beginning.

What do you want from the art experience…? I cannot answer that for you. I will however hazard, that like me, you want visual art to comfort and constantly reiterate that your world is as it should be, to be told that all is all right. Here in this place, this perfect space, is there not colour, texture, harmony and balance? Can you see the still life, the landscape, the seascape, the heroic figure on the battlefield?

I would also hope that, like me, you will defend the right for artists not to pander to our expectations of what art should be and when the occasion arises to create art that challenges and when necessary calls for societal change.

There is so much to do. 

This exhibition is made possible with the generous support of StFX University, I would especially like to thank our Season Sponsor: the MacLeod Group and Exhibition Sponsors A.A. Munroe Insurance and Central Building Supplies. Without their kind and generous support much of the culture that makes Antigonish a great place simply could not exist.