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Quest Art Upper Gallery presents

VOICES OF PAINT March 16 – May 12, 2018
SONIA HABERSTICH, FRANCES THOMAS, JENNIFER WIGMORE
curated by Jill Price

Exhibition Reception: Friday, March 23, 2018, 7 - 9 pm
Opening Remarks: 7:30 pm
Artist Panel on Contemporary Painting: Saturday, March 24, 1 – 3 pm
Curatorial talks with Jill Price: Mondays, March 19 & April 9 at 12:30 pm

Humans have been painting since nomadic times. Although still very much alive as a means of communication today, over the last century and a half, many have deemed painting to be “dead”, even more so during times of intense technological advancement. Declared, “in better health than ever” in 2015 by BBC writer Jason Forago, Voices of Paint confirms this statement by presenting three abstract bodies that are simultaneously political and personal while continuing the dialogue about painting and transcending previous or existing classifications.

Holding up the importance of process, Frances Thomas’ expressive work floats between painting, drawing and printmaking. On exhibit is a series of monotypes created while Thomas was a guest artist at Georgian College and paintings that emerged during a 2016 residency in Berlin. Intuitively pushed and pulled via additive and reductive processes, these works serve as visual journals of her everyday experiences and her responsive process, with each additional layer visualizing the passing of time. From ephemeral washes to impenetrable thick brush work, we can see the artist’s attention to space, weight and scale with each stroke. Frances shares,

My decision-making procedure usually begins with a largely intuitive application of paint, which triggers a chain of responses. I do not plan a work in advance. I prefer that the work evolve out of necessity […] There might be something anticipatory in the Berlin series, a sense of being ready to have this new place open up to me: what am I going to find? A place seeps into you, even if only from the periphery, and after the fact I can see how the restrained palette is playing the somber notes of a freighted history and dull weather.

Stemming from the realm of Arte Povera, an Italian art movement that challenged art elitism and “characterized by experimentation with simple, everyday materials”, Sonia Haberstich’s brightly coloured assemblages of upcycled substrates holds up the importance of acknowledging material and immaterial signs. Vibrating between painting, sculpture and activism, the work offers a more positive manifestation of the protest placards we see today, but metaphorically, unlike the political movements of the moment, the multiplicity and diversity of their constructions demand that they be considered both for their individuality as well as for their power in numbers.

Through protest […] there is hope for change. A piece of wood or cardboard attached to the end of a stick; words or images covering the surface, the protest sign is a peaceful, sometimes angry, always concerned voice. It is often hand-made, creative and personalized. It is carried around, high enough to be seen, denouncing social injustice, government decisions, or corporate abuse. Protestors march on, picket signs in hand.

Jennifer Wigmore holds up paint itself. Acknowledging the agency of the material in the studio and upon the environment, Wigmore embraces limitations of working with remnants of house paint and others’ painting practices. Out of these limitations Wigmore investigates the capacity of paint to take on form and exist independent of surfaces. Seated or strung between the language of textiles and sculpture, Wigmore’s weavings, casts and skins acknowledge the possibilities of the medium to roll, stretch, hold, fold and flex into new dimensions. Wigmore confides, “For me, painting is a reflexive process and almost performative in that I find myself continually responding to the material.”


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To engage in more discussion about the exhibition and politics of painting, join the exhibiting artists, curator Jill Price and special guest Renann Isaacs for a panel discussion on contemporary painting on Saturday, March 24 from 1 – 3 pm. Members $25, Non Members $30

Thank you to our exhibition sponsor: Midland Brokerlink
Funding Acknowledgement: Ontario Arts Council


Artist Bios:

Award winning artist, educator and cultural mediator, Sonia Haberstich obtained her BFA and MFA from Concordia University. From Hudson, Quebec, Haberstich has had solo exhibitions in Artmandat, France, at the Musée d'art contemporain des Laurentides and at La Centrale in Montreal and has also received public commissions. Featured in numerous group exhibitions internationally, her work was also selected for the 8th International Open at the Woman Made Gallery in Chicago and at Camac at Marnay-sur-Seine, France.

Born in Parry Sound, Frances Thomas received her BFA and MFA from York University. The 2016 recipient of the Sarick Purchase Award, Thomas currently lives in Barrie, Ontario where she manages the Royal Victoria Hospital’s permanent art collection and serves as an art consultant for the broader region. As a practitioner, Thomas has participated in residencies in Newfoundland, New York and in Berlin. Beyond a solo exhibition at the MacLaren Art Centre, Thomas has exhibited extensively publicly and privately in Barrie, Montreal, Edmonton, Toronto and New York, with works held in permanent collections at the MacLaren Art Centre, York University and BMO.

Toronto based, Jennifer Wigmore is an award winning artist and actress who completed an interdisciplinary MFA at OCAD University. A founding member of Blunt Collective, Wigmore is also an educator and activist who has curated multiple exhibitions as part of her transdisciplinary practice. Most recently, Wigmore self-published, Training Artistic Reflexivity in Visual Artists, a book outlining a series of collaborative, drawing exercises based on theatre improv to nurture instinctive and intuitive responses.


Quest Art Project Gallery presents: Portals: Julie Himel and Joanne Lomas
Two painters exploring the human condition through the depiction of out-of-reach environments.

Quest Art Atrium Gallery presents: Beyond the Brush
A community exhibition celebrating works of art that challenge the traditions of painting through process, across media and atop different surfaces.


Jill Price, MFA, OT
Curator
Quest Art School + Gallery
333 King Street, Midland, Ontario
705-526-2787, jill@questart.ca

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