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Megan Ellen MacDonald, Picnic, 2017, oil and acrylic on canvas

These things I have seen
Carolyn Code, Megan Ellen MacDonald, Keita Morimoto

On view April 14 to June 24, 2018
Opening Reception: Saturday April 14, 2 pm
Art Gallery of Peterborough

Through sculpture, installation, and painting, Code, MacDonald, and Morimoto explore themes of memory, nostalgia, and ideality while disrupting the embedded colonial patriarchy of the art history canon. Their works portray kitch, the domestic, or street scenes from Chinatown and Etobicoke in canonical vernaculars such as American realism and baroque still life using colour, light, and technique to render the familiar unfamiliar; to reimagine the quotidian fantastic.

What happens when kitsch is inserted into classical art; when the quaint explodes; when we accept that the present is just as susceptible to ideation as the past? Referencing and manipulating techniques from established movements whose once-contemporaneity is so long past that it is romanticized if not forgotten, the artists comment on the vulnerability of truth and the power of imagination.


Carolyn Code is a visual artist based in Peterborough, Ontario. She received her BFA from NSCAD University in Halifax with a major in jewellery and metalsmithing. Recently Carolyn has been working in sculpture and installation, with a focus on re-imagining objects in the domestic sphere. Code has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions throughout Canada and in the United States. Notable recent exhibitions include a three person show at Artspace artist-run centre and solo exhibitions at Y+ Contemporary and Modern Fuel artist-run centre. Carolyn gratefully acknowledges the support of the Ontario Arts Council.

Megan Ellen MacDonald’s work uses multiple points of reference through both technique and subject matter to dismantle, reconstruct, and subvert the visual imagery of masculinity and power in painting. While appropriating the methodologies and surface qualities of classical painting, her works simultaneously ground themselves in the present time with the use of obnoxiously chromatic and clearly synthetic colour palettes.

Classical genre painting – while both visually enchanting and narratively rich – is deeply rooted in the showcasing of power through motifs, symbols, and narratives. The significance of MacDonald’s approach is to playfully disrupt the historical context of genre painting by presenting opposing themes – depicting symbols of feminine sexuality and the female form as overpowering, and whimsical kitschy subjects as statuesque objets d’art.

Keita Morimoto’s work focuses on depicting personal experience while distilling its magical and mysterious qualities from banal and ordinary as well as decrepit and disenchanting scenes of everyday. The process begins with quick idea sketches, walking around the city to photograph a number of different scenes outside and people in his studio, then digitally collaging them together to create certain narratives. It is his intent to avoid imposing any clear-cut and straightforward narratives in his painting; he prefers to see what certain placement of the figures and scenes would interact with each other – this lets the subjects tell its own stories and bring about a sense of visual tension through the use of light and dark and compositions.


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J. C. Heywood, Memories of Paris ed. E/A, 2001, serigraph on paper
AGP Permanent Collection, gift of the artist, 2009
Photo by Lesli Michaelis Onusko

Also on view:

Light, Reflected Back featuring Peter Barron, John B. Boyle, Rowena Dykins, Laura Madera and Rebecca Padgett alongside selections from the Permanent Collection.

Carpe Diem: J.C. Heywood, from the Permanent Collection

Presence: Portraits from the Permanent Collection


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Art Gallery of Peterborough
250 Crescent Street | Peterborough, Ontario | K9J 2G1
705.743.9179 | gallery@agp.on.ca | http://agp.on.ca
Open Tuesday - Sunday, 11 – 5 | Free admission

Media contact:
Fynn Leitch, Curator
705 743 9179 ext 2023
fleitch@peterborough.ca

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