|BIG canvas' from Charles Meanwell|
As I was wondering around, LOOKING, I kept trying to find the word that best summed up the benign 'neutrality' of the show. The word that bubbled up from the nether regions was 'Exact'.
It, the exhibition, is - EXACT.
Cumulatively, the melange and cross-pollination of visuals created a kind of Tarty Rigidness.
There was little there that made me air-suck with delight or WHOOP! in appreciation.
Still, the PRECISION of the whole exhibit did please, in a visceral kind of way ... Though, overall, it did not feel very much like the Hamilton most know.
Perhaps that was the point in whole, or in part.
From the liner notes for the exhibit:
Hamilton has a very rich artists’ scene, and a great number of brilliant painters. On the occasion of the AGH centennial, this exhibition features ten artists from the Greater Hamilton area, many of whom are not well-known, showcasing the diverse subject matter, techniques and materials that are of the moment in contemporary painting practices. Direct from the artist’s studios and local private collections, the exhibition includes over thirty works in landscape, portraiture and abstraction. From lush oil paintings to a sculptural installation, the range of media, form and scale is intriguing. However the psychological weight of the subject matter prevails, as it is activated by the materials. Whether an intimate portrayal of a model, or an intuitive and gestural expression of the environment, the pieces are captivating, powerful, and impressive for their ability to engage the viewer on a subconscious level.
The exhibition title is 'Painting Hamilton'. The works displayed certainly seemed to contrast to the dominate and prevailing 'Ambitious Hamilton' sentiment. Almost, at times, the items appear as art-school intrusions into an industrial place. And they seem, though often maturely executed, overly 'young' in subject matter. Little is political. Most are 'safe' art subjects.
Is THAT the Hamilton most artists' living and working in this re-surging re-energized locale know and articulate? - Didn't seem so to me.
Still, the exhibit is an useful insight into what the current curatorial staff consider 'of note' "in contemporary painting practices". That perception alone reflects what they might like Hamilton Painters to become - "on a subconscious level."
Question is: will this CARRY long term? Will this exhibition assist to DEFINE a uniquely maturing Hamilton Perspective on a national and global stage? Personally, I doubt it. There is just not quite enough of the 'rough & tumble' of Hamilton, past or present.
Don't take my word for it, check it out or yourself.
Featured talented artists are Jennifer Carvalho, Catherine Gibbon, David Hucal, Daniel Hutchinson, Charles Meanwell, Matthew Schofield, Christina Sealey, Beth Stuart, Lorne Toews and Manny Trinh. (... And no, I hadn't heard of most of them either ... )
With the passing of the Executive Torch by the incomparable and elegant Louise Dompierre as CEO and President of the Art Gallery of Hamilton, we can soon expect a NEW ERA from - and for - the AGH. It will be curious to see what 'brand' incoming Shelley Falconer will concoct for the Next Generation of attendees for this venerable institution, now 100 years young.
|Jennifer Carvalho with one of her paintings in 'Painting Hamilton'|
Afterthought: Here is how Amy Kenny of The Hamilton Spectator weighed in ...
... Much more emphasis on the curator, then the artists. And so it goes ...
Worth keeping in mind is that Hamilton City Council ratified a 30 million dollar fundraising
initiative for the Gallery, effective of late 2013. That means a WHOLE NEW look & feel, by 2019 ...
Update: Stephanie Vegh, of the Hamilton Arts Council, also weighs in on the Exhibit ...
... afraid I have no comment on that, except to share ...