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September 23, 2015

Last week was a tough one. The news of two people passing came unexpectedly.

Mike Star (1951-2015), was an independent purveyor of vinyl records in Oshawa since 1974. He’ll be greatly missed. See 2011 post on Star Records follow:

Mike and Me (2011). Photo: Allan Frank

Mike and Me (2011). Photo: Allan Frank

Wallace “Wally” Brighton (1940-2015) served as Head of Art at Oshawa’s O’Neill CVI and local artist represented in the Station Gallery permanent collection. His work “Flying Figure Pines” (1980) continues to be an inspiration for younger artists in gallery programming. See obituary:

Wallace Brighton FLYING FIGURE-PINES, 1980 5/10 linoleumcut on paper 26 x 20 in., 66 x 50.8 cm.

Wallace Brighton
linoleumcut on paper
26 x 20 in., 66 x 50.8 cm.

May 22, 2012

Lately, I’ve enjoyed being immersed in the our collection storage and reviewing the gallery’s permanent collection along with gallery patrons and partners. This is in preparation for our upcoming Patrons’ Picks exhibition which opens on Saturday, June 2. The process has proven to be exhilarating and informative for both myself and key stakeholders making their selections. It’s trilling to make discoveries of pieces that have quietly hung on the backs of the storage racks.

As you may know, I enjoy looking for (and sometimes finding) patterns and themes. I’ve started noticing many similarities in the prints preserved in the permanent collection. For instance, there are a lion’s share of table-tops and still-lives represented. There’s a real sensuous, quirky humour that’s noticeable in the collection. Many prints invoke the levity and funky atmosphere of the late seventies and early eighties. Who knows, maybe there’s a themed show in the making. In the meantime, many of the works will see a new life until July 15 in the context of the Patrons’ Picks show. Release the collection!   


June 3, 2011

Have you ever looked back at your life and found the roots of a passion that developed later in life? I’ve recently contemplated my love of visual art and where it all began. Although I can’t remember the outing, my parents took me to a show at The Robert McLaughlin Gallery (RMG) in the Fall of 1976 called Ontario Collects. We were photographed looking at a painting by Robert Reginald Whale–a triple portrait of children. This picture appeared in the Oshawa Times. For me this clipping remains dear to my heart in many ways. It’s a document that shows an early connection with my hometown gallery.

Fast-forward thirty-five years. The RMG recently unveiled their reconditioned permanent collection space with old favorites and some new acquisitions. I was very moved and honored to have a couple of my drawings included in this re-hanging. Roman Street and Record Player are two works from 2009. Seeing these film-inspired works flanked by a Barbara Astman photo and a Norval Morrisseau painting was an eclectic and inspiring curatorial decision, offering multiple interpretive routes (thanks Linda).

Over the years, I was involved with the RMG in many ways: as a visitor, a summer student, an employee, an art instructor, and now an artist in the permanent collection. Reflecting back on this continuum, it’s important to acknowledge the importance of local galleries and the many ways they shape our cultural world view.   

Life Imitates Art - click to enlarge

January 15, 2010

Last week’s cold snap prompted me to submerge myself into Station Gallery’s collection storage and get better acquainted with our Inuit prints. The gallery’s holdings of work by northern artists is an outcome of a perfect storm between supply and demand several years ago. Many of the pieces came into the permanent collection at a time when the exchange between northern art production and southern acquisition funding was at a premium. 

Free market capitalism is so deeply entrenched and ubiquitous in our consumer-based society, it’s almost impossible to imagine another economic model in Canada. And yet in the North, traditional modes of exchange are still within lived memory – up there capitalism is the new kid on the block. 

A book that grapples with this topic was recently published and launched at YYZ, an artist-run centre in Toronto. Art and Cold Cash combines the collective efforts of artists Jack Butler, Sheila Butler, Patrick Mahon, Myrah Kukiiyaut, William Noah and writer Ruby Arngna’naaq. Graphic designer, Dale Barrett skillfully combined bilingual text (Inuktitut and English) and image. This publication is a substantial record of essays, interviews and studio production investigating capitalism’s overlap with artistic practice in Canada’s Arctic. Art and Cold Cash is a publication chronicling decades of discourse between artists living near the 49th parallel and those who live well beyond the tree line. Decade by decade, the North is slowly becoming like the South. Just as its climate changes, so too does its land and people. As the distinctions between Canada’s north and south become increasingly blurred, explorations like Art and Cold Cash hold more currency than ever.

A VIP glimpse inside Station Gallery's Permanent Collection vault.

Click here to view a VIP glimpse into the Permanent Collection at Station Gallery in Whitby, Ontario Canada.

Learn more about select feature works with Station Gallery Curator Olexander Wlasenko.