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April 19, 2012

April is the cruelest month.” Written ninety years ago, T.S. Eliot’s words only now carry a sore gravity in my heart.

Last Saturday, a great artist and good friend, Vera Jacyk passed away.

Together we worked on several projects over recent years–beginning with a solo exhibition of her work at The Robert McLaughlin Gallery (Oshawa) in the spring of 2007. This show later travelled to the MacLaren Art Centre (Barrie).

Vera’s art had a profound effect not only on me but also on everyone who experienced her work. It stayed with you. It changed you.

Vera was an exceptional artist. She brought solace, grace and peace to a broken world. During her Oshawa show, I witnessed something very rarely seen in a contemporary art gallery: tears. People were moved to tears when they experienced Vera’s art. In her artist statement, she wrote: “My work deals with that which is not in plain view… I want my art to be about the effect of keeping secrets… my art does not have to be about exposing secrets themselves.”

We will remember, share stories and celebrate Vera’s life and art in the coming days. We never imagined these days without her. We’ll miss you, Vera!

Please visit Vera’s obituary by clicking here.

Vera's glove in the artist's hand

Vera's glove in the artist's hand

January 28, 2011

One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is hearing the stories artists have to share. How did they come to be artists? What kind of twists and turns have their life paths taken and how have they intersected with other people’s journeys. Narrative is alive and well in contemporary visual culture. One artist’s story has captivated the country. Last Friday, Bowmanville-based artist Jane Eccles was featured on the front page of the Toronto Star. This was a first. You’d be hard pressed to find another instance of a living Canadian artist featured so prominently in the Canadian press. The article is immersive, even granular, detailing Jane’s “Dresses Project” in the Living Section (click here to read).

Toronto Star front page, January 21, 2011

Eccles’s series of portraits will premiere at Station Gallery in less than a month. I just love the spirit of her project; she refers to this body of work as emerging from the “closet of souls.”