Rob Niezen: Cross Cut

Cross Cut
Rob Niezen

May 4 – July 1, 2023
Opening Reception: Saturday, May 6, 1:00-3:00 pm
Minden Hills Cultural Centre, Agnes Jamieson Gallery

The Minden Hills Cultural Centre is pleased to present Cross Cut, a solo exhibition by artist Rob Niezen. Cross Cut features a series of 24 linocuts illustrating traditional songs from rural Ontario put in contemporary context.

CBC radio host and folklorist Edith Fowke collected field recordings of folk songs in Ontario during the 1960’s. The origin of these songs dates back to the period of 1820 to 1920. Lyrics and tunes were adapted to local experiences, offering a reflection of society at different moments in history. The underlying themes are of a timeless nature, as they deal with human existence: love, deception, politics, war, immigration, work, leisure, death, etc. Rob has selected 24 songs and placed the original narrative in a contemporary context by ‘crosscutting’.

Crosscutting is a technique borrowed from film editing used to illustrate a narrative action that happens in several places at the same time, or in one place at different times. Crosscutting is also a term describing cutting wood perpendicular to the wood grain. The linocuts use both the traditional method of carving the material, and contemporary and experimental ways of mark making, including drilling, scratching, laser engraving and etching—going against the grain of the traditional technique. Linocuts, originating around 1900, and initially used in school art classes, invoke the era of the chosen traditional songs. By using innovative techniques, and adding contemporary elements to historical scenes, Rob conveys the parallels and juxtapositions of then and now. The prints are handprinted on an etching press.

Rob, along with historian and musician Dr. Allan Kirby, also wrote and produced an illustrated book that introduces Edith’s Fowke’s work, the song lyrics and their history. Traditional music group Backwoodsmen, of which Rob is a member, created contemporary arrangements for the songs, and recorded an album.

An edition of Rob’s prints, books and CD’s will be available for sale at the gallery during the exhibit. Rob would like to acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council with this exhibit.

The Agnes Jamieson Gallery is a public gallery with year-round visual exhibitions of local and regional art. The Gallery is part of the Minden Hills Cultural Centre which also includes the Heritage Village & Nature’s Place Interpretive Centre. The Gallery is fully accessible. The Minden Hills Cultural Centre is located at 176 Bobcaygeon Road, Minden, ON.

Image: Shantyboy’s Alphabet, Linocut, archival ink (Speedball Professional Super Graphic Black), on 300 gsm Legion Madison Print paper, print size 7″x 5″ / sheet size 15″ x 11″

Minden Hills Cultural Centre
176 Bobcaygeon Road, Minden, ON K0M 2K0
Open Tuesday – Sunday, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
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