Drawn from Wood
1 October to 20 November, 2022
Glenhyrst Art Gallery
Guest curated by Heather Smith
Produced by the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba and Glenhyrst Art Gallery.
Artist Meet-and-Greet: Sunday, October 2nd, 2:00pm – 3:30pm
Maple trees fueled the industrial revolution in Britain and colonial expansion in Canada. During World War I, maple syrup helped nationalize food production by moving away from dependence on cane sugar. When the Vimy Memorial was dedicated in France, maple trees were planted to eulogize Canadian soldiers killed, wounded, or missing. Beyond the realm of politics, commercialism, or national identity, the maple tree is also a harbinger of two seasons: Fall and Spring. It is a valuable material that posits a breadth of powerful, yet rarely explored, meanings and associations. In this timely exhibition, artists Mary Anne Barkhouse, Gary Blundell, Brad Copping, and Victoria Ward, respond to maple trees (and maple syrup) in ways not unlike the “boiling down” process. “Boiling down the pan” is what maple syrup producers argue is at the core of the distillation process—it is a reductive process, similar to evaporation, that these artists use to illuminate what is evocative about trees and syrup. Their work is not consumed with nationalistic content but instead reveals new and divergent perspectives on the meaning of maple.
About the Artists
Mary Anne Barkhouse was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, and lives in the Haliburton Highlands of Ontario in the forest on the shores of a beaver wetland. She graduated with Honours from the Ontario College of Art and Design University in Toronto and is a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. She has strong ties to both coasts as her mother is from the Nimpkish band, Kwakiutl First Nation of Alert Bay, B.C., and her father is of German and British descent from Nova Scotia. She is also a descendant of a long line of internationally recognized Northwest Coast artists that includes Ellen Neel, Mungo Martin and Charlie James. Mary Anne’s artistic practice developed out of her personal and family experience with land and water stewardship. Her work often invokes animal imagery to explore themes such as empire, survival, culture and ecological concerns. In 2020, she was the recipient of the Ontario Arts Councils Indigenous Arts Award.
Gary Blundell was born in central London, England and lived there for a few years until his family moved to Ottawa, Ontario. He was the lead singer in a psycho-billy band and later a swing band in the Ottawa area and was involved in organizing artist run center exhibitions and studio spaces in Ottawa and Toronto. He completed a BSc degree in Geotechnical Earth Sciences (now called Geological Engineering) at the University of Waterloo and became head of the research department at the Canadian Wildlife Federation in the later 1980’s and early 1990’s. The subject of his conceptual landscape painting is both deep geological time and the human connections to resource extraction. During a 2011 arts residency in Yorkshire, England, his work Bituminous Illuminations, addressed the impact of coal mining on landscape and people. This work has been widely exhibited including one installation in the Victorian coal mining buildings that are now part of the National Coal Mining Museum for England. He lives in a log cabin built in 1898 by bootleggers in a woodsy part of central Ontario, an hour north of Peterborough.
Brad Copping spent his early years in the east end of Toronto living just a suburban block from the Scarborough Bluffs overlooking Lake Ontario. After that his family bought a little cottage resort and moved to Sturgeon Lake between Lindsay and Bobcaygeon. He attended Sheridan College School of Craft and Design in the late 1980’s and then was Artist-in-Residence at the glass studio at Harbourfront Centre in the early 1990’s. His well-received mirrored glass canoe body of work began when he was Artist-in-Residence at the Canadian Canoe Museum and culminated in an exhibition at the Dutch National Glass Museum as well as the Art Gallery of Peterborough and other locations. He now lives in the community hall of an old church just outside of the village of Woodview, Ontario that sits on a limestone shelf that drops into the granite of the Canadian Shield—a beautiful and unique transitional landscape known as the Land Between.
Victoria Ward grew up in Toronto and lives in a log cabin in the Boreal Forest near Algonquin Park, Ontario. She has a BFA in theatre from York University and spent many years in Toronto working in the alternative theatre scene. She co-ran a theatre company and wrote, directed, and acted in innovative theatre and art performances. Her visual art practice remains connected to people and community and focuses on buildings and landscape. She has developed bodies of landscape work that have had interactive engagements with communities ranging from Iceland to Colbalt, Ontario, and feels her most extraordinary experience was in Barnsley, Yorkshire, England exhibiting her work during the 25-year anniversary of the coal strikes. In 2018, on Kashagawigamog Lake in Haliburton, she organized an ice fishing hut event where the community helped to build huts that served as exhibition spaces for local contemporary artists. These huts (including one exhibiting her paintings of ice huts) were part of a weekend event that Victoria instigated that attracted over a thousand people and national media attention. Her visual art is intricately tied to community engagement and landscape, and rests somewhere between storytelling, theatre, and visual art.
Glenhyrst Art Gallery acknowledges that we are on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishnaabeg, and Haudenosaunee Peoples. Brantford is situated on the Haldimand Tract, land promised to Six Nations, which includes six miles on each side of the Grand River.
Glenhyrst Art Gallery is fully accessible and includes an elevator and accessible washroom. The main entrance is accessed by a concrete pathway and may be opened with an automatic door opener. For assistance or questions about the gallery, please call us. Admission is free and everyone is welcome.