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New exhibitions & a performance series at the Art Gallery of Peterborough

September 30, 2017 – January 7, 2018

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Brenda Francis Pelkey, Pool Stanchions, 2012–13

Brenda Francis Pelkey: A Retrospective
Curated by Catharine Mastin, PhD
Organized & circulated by the Art Gallery of Windsor

This retrospective exhibition features the work of Brenda Francis Pelkey, known for her contributions to contemporary photography since the 1980s. A career-first, the retrospective considers Francis Pelkey’s practice over nearly four decades commencing with her early black-and-white industrial subjects and continuing to her present work in Windsor, Ontario. “Very generally,” she explained in 2001, “my photographic practice has centred on subjective experience and the problematics of meaning and place.”

The works in this exhibition are informed by these biographical experiences as well as by ideas of social geography and psychology. For Francis Pelkey, social geography and psychology are the experiences of public and private spaces which are not mapped in the traditional sense, but rather have the power to create personal meaning.

From the particularized suburban front and backyards adorned with elements of personal memory and identity to eerie dark roads at night, expansive coastal ocean panoramas, empty hospital beds, strip-dance clubs, empty bars, courtrooms, and pool scenes, Francis Pelkey exposes the still-gendered and changing contours of contemporary life. Narrative tension and uncertainty are at the centre of her work, and they are explored through themes of feminism, memory, place and autobiography. The historical perception of the photograph as document, testimony to fact, is challenged to deploy the medium as one of rich social and psychological impact. Here, viewers have occasion to appreciate Brenda Francis Pelkey’s legacy within and beyond the medium of her focus and within and beyond contemporary art.

This exhibition is supported by Canadian Heritage Museums Assistance Program through the auspices of the Access to Heritage Program.


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Becky Welter-Nolan, Rocky III, 2017, quilted cotton and chip foam

Pushing It: Becky Welter-Nolan

Pushing It is a performative project featuring a roughly 200 lb quilted soft-sculpture “boulder” pushed uphill in true Sisyphean style. The sculpture entitled Rocky III takes a cushiony, enticing and unwieldy form that visitors are welcome to collapse gently into while it is installed in the gallery. Documentation of recent performances in Halifax, NS will also be exhibited. Presented as a part of the [in]Sites Performance Festival, two live public performances will explore the surrounding landscape of Del Crary Park and interior structure of the AGP ramp galleries prior to the opening. Pushing It is inspired by frustration. Testing the body and space through physical exertion, tension, and force, the work critiques labour and the narrative of success, and navigates between endurance and futility.

Born in Peterborough, ON, Becky Welter-Nolan is has been working in Halifax, NS, for over a decade and is currently based in Dartmouth, NS. Welter-Nolan’s work has been exhibited with artist-run centres such as the Centre for Art Tapes and White Rabbit Open Air Projects and recently exhibited a solo project at Dalhousie University Art Gallery with Eyelevel Gallery. As a member of the Hermes Artist Co-operative, Welter-Nolan has participated in solo and group projects since 2014. With a parallel career as an arts administrator, Welter-Nolan is an advocate of artist-run and collaborative projects in Atlantic Canada and is perhaps best known as the director/co-creator of Herding Cats, a light-hearted documentary exploring the curatorial practice of Peter Dykhuis.

This is Welter-Nolan’s first major solo exhibition in Ontario and was generously supported by Arts Nova Scotia.


[in]Sites Performance Series (September 16 – October 20, 2017) is a new site-specific performance series presented in partnership with Public Energy, Artspace, and the ReFrame Film Festival. The goal of [in]Sites is to open dialogues around the relationship between performance, site, and contemporary art practices.

For full details check http://www.publicenergy.ca/season-list-3/2017-07-10-18-42-16


Performance: Pushing It
Wednesday September 27, 3 pm & 5:30 pm

Drop in to watch, or view the live stream, as Becky Welter-Nolan pushes a 6-foot diameter textile boulder around Del Crary Park (3 pm) and through the AGP (5:30 pm) in an exploration of site and labour. A reception will follow the final performance.


Panel Talk: Call and Response | Site-specific Practice
Sunday October 1, 11 am
With Brenda Francis Pelkey, Becky Welter-Nolan, Brian Solomon and Vanessa Dion Fletcher

Panelists will discuss their work with focus on site examination, embodiment, and performance, considering their potential to amplify voices and activate change. A reception will follow.

These events are free and open to the public.


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Art Gallery of Peterborough
250 Crescent Street | Peterborough, ON | K9J 2G1
705 743 9179 | http://agp.on.ca/ | Free admission

Media contact: Fynn Leitch, Curator
fleitch@peterborough.ca

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