Perspective: From the Gallery Stratford Permanent Collection


Torrie Groening, Studio Tests of the Senses … Touch, digital collage, 1999

Perspective: From the Gallery Stratford Permanent Collection

Curated by Keith and Martha Courtney

On view now till October 11, 2021
Gallery Stratford (Stratford, ON)

per.spec.tive (noun)
▪   a mental view or prospect
▪  a visible scene
▪  the interrelation in which a subject or its parts are mentally viewed
▪  the capacity to view things in their true relation or relative importance
▪  the appearance to the eye of objects in respect to their relative distance and positions
▪  the technique or process or representing on a plane or curved surface the spatial relation of objects as they might appear to the eye

Each year, as part of Gallery Stratford’s annual Gala at the Gallery fundraising event, community members are invited to bid on the opportunity to work closely with the gallery’s curatorial staff to curate an exhibition from the Permanent Collection. Martha and Keith Courtney were the successful bidders at the 2019 auction and spent early 2020 working their way through the over 1000 pieces in Gallery Stratford’s collection curating an exhibition that is filled with colour and whimsy.

Working in the early days of the pandemic, the Courtney’s found that they were drawn to work that was light-hearted, playful, and fun. Harley and Nutt’s dinosaurs, MacGregor’s melting chairs and clocks, De Forest’s fantastical landscapes where dogs become mountains and references to artists and art making abound. The work pulled together for this exhibition provided a much needed escape and a different perspective than the news that was surrounding all of us these past months.


John MacGregor, Three Chairs with Clocks, mixed-media, 1974

Perspective, which opened August 16th, brings together over 50 works by: Kim Adams, Walter Bachinski, Chris Broadhurst, Don Carr, Roy De Forest, Torrie Groening, Matt Harley, Carl Heywood, Robert Indiana, Brian Kelley, Deborah Koenker, John MacGregor, Ken Nutt, Arnold Shives, Mark Tobey, Robert Young, and John Will. This exhibition not only documents one couple’s journey into exhibition making and how personal aesthetics can merge, compliment and find interesting juxtapositions within and between selected works; this exhibition also allows the gallery to invite and engage the community in collection management, exhibition design, and curation, encouraging the development of unique and different perspectives into what we exhibit in the public gallery space and who gets to determine what appears on our gallery walls.

Martha and Keith Courtney met while working at the Art Gallery of Hamilton. Martha owns Village Studios a gallery and frame studio in downtown Stratford and Keith has worked in fundraising and nonprofit administration. Together they have built their own art collection and spend their leisure time visiting art galleries. In curating this exhibition they explained that one of the things they like about the selected work is that it shows how artists don’t have to take themselves or their work too seriously. There is no right or wrong way to be creative, or in how we see the world. Following a career working in and looking at art, they both still get excited about seeing new work and are drawn to the way art has the ability to alter, change or influence our perspective.

Perspective is sponsored by East Field Design Inc.

Gallery Stratford
54 Romeo Street S
Stratford, ON. N5A 4S9
Partially accessible venue

Gallery Hours: noon to 8 PM daily
Admission is Free thanks to the support of Orr Insurance and Investment

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Media Inquiries:
Angela Brayham
519-271-5271 x 222