Winter 2024 Exhibitions at Orillia Museum of Art & History

Reception: January 20, 2024 | 1-3 pm, remarks at 1:30 pm

Robyn Rennie, Langman Sanctuary (image 7422), 2023, Acrylic and mixed media on canvas, 36″ x 24″.

Robyn Rennie: Seeing Beyond

January 20 – April 13, 2024
Mulcahy Family Gallery

In her groundbreaking exhibition Seeing Beyond, Robyn Rennie, a low vision artist, has created her own fully accessible experience for visitors including large point font/braille labels and descriptive audio for each artwork. Using texture in her paintings, she has also created a companion piece for each artwork that she encourages viewers to experience through touch. AMI-tv, a media company that entertains, informs and empowers Canadians who are blind or partially sighted, is working with Robyn to create a documentary on the process of her exhibition. It will be presented at OMAH once completed.

For me, making art is like writing a story because it makes order out of chaos. It also underscores the importance that recording impressions and events have to our collective experience. We operate within stories in order to understand our world and our place in it. Creative expression allows me to articulate what I experience, as well as provide opportunities to unite with others.

A life-changing vision loss in 2005 has changed how I experience the world. I often continue to choose my subject matter from the landscape, but visual impairment has freed me from my former highly detailed style and created a shift toward abstraction and the visceral. While I use the same medium and grounds I once did, I now employ them to subvert popular assumptions about sight, since sight is so highly valued for sensory and aesthetic experience. –Robyn Rennie

Robyn Rennie is a Canadian painter and writer. She achieved a BA in Cultural Studies, with an emphasis in Image and Sound, from Trent University in 2005. Robyn is greatly influenced by issues of power, gender, and accessibility. Immediately following graduation, a life-changing vision loss forced Robyn to develop new methods of artistic expression. She employs acrylic grounds and mediums in her highly textural abstract works to challenge what we think to be true about sight. Iridescent and interference colours provide glimpses into how Robyn experiences the world. Even the slightest shift in position in front of a work creates a new visual experience for the viewer, embodying how new information can change a person’s point of view. For this exhibition, Robyn gratefully acknowledges support of the Canada Council for the Arts.

Sheila Thompson, Open Heart, 2023, Merino wool, found and made surface elements, wet felting and hand embroidery, 13″ x 12″ x 10″.

Sybil: Connections Fibre Artists

January 13 – May 11, 2024
Upper Gallery

Ninety-four year old Sybil Rampen is a cornerstone in the Canadian fibre art world, ensuring there is recognition of contemporary fibre art in this country. A humble, yet talented artist in her own right, Sybil has encouraged and inspired emerging artists with her generous spirit and her experimental approach to artmaking.

Sybil is an exhibition of contemporary fibre art focussing on Sybil Rampen’s life. Participating artists have chosen some aspect of Sybil they admire, are grateful for, are inspired by, or identify with in some way.

Connections Fibre Artists (CFA) are a nationally recognized group of accomplished Canadian fibre artists. The group, formed in 1999, includes members who are published authors and artists, who show both nationally and internationally, facilitate courses and workshops, have won major awards and are regarded as pioneers in the fibre art field. CFA members are juried into the group by invitation. This exhibition includes work by all twenty-four members:

Al Cote | Ann Sanders | Bethany Garner | Bev White | Chris Kummer | Dianne Gibson | Dwayne Wanner | Elizabeth Litch | Gail Rhynard | Gunnel Hag | Helen Hughes | Jacqueline Venus | Linda Janzen | Maggie Vanderweit | Micaela Fitzsimmons | Mita Giacomini | Nancy Yule Peace | Pat Hertzberg | Penny Berens | Ralph Beney | Sharron Deacon Begg | Sheila Thompson | Wen Anderson Breedveld | Wendy O Brien

Photograph of Jack Grant, filming, circa 1940’s.

Grant’s Legacy: Capturing Orillia’s History on Film

January 20 – April 20, 2024
Franklin Carmichael Gallery

OMAH is screening a series of 16mm film footage, mainly of Orillia, from 1928 through to 1964. Known as Grant’s Films, there are 34 reels of black and white documentary footage showcasing everyday life in Orillia. The reels include scenes of Lake Couchiching and Couchiching Beach Park, a hockey game played on the ice of the lake during Christmas week 1931 and footage of infrastructure enhancements in the downtown area.

This film footage was shot entirely by Jack Grant, a local amateur filmmaker. Jack and his three siblings grew up in Orillia; the parents, Louis and Daisy had emigrated from England. Louis was able to provide his family a home in Orillia on Laclie Street and a retreat property on Division Road, Township of Severn. This retreat property was eventually gifted to the Couchiching Conservancy.

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For information/Media Contact: Tanya Cunnington Arts Programming Coordinator
705 326–2159 x109 |

Orillia Museum of Art & History
30 Peter St. S.
Orillia, ON L3V 5A9
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OMAH has been the hub of art, culture, and heritage in the heart of Orillia’s Arts District for over twenty years. Located in downtown Orillia, the clocktower of the Sir Samuel Steele Memorial Building is a beacon for the museum. OMAH’s mission is to provide inclusive space to engage community, inspire creativity and celebrate culture, by exploring art and history.

The Orillia Museum of Art & History respectfully acknowledges our presence on the traditional territory of the Anishnaabeg which includes the Ojibwe, Odawa, and Pottawatomi nations, collectively known as the Three Fires Confederacy. We respect and observe the long and enduring presence of Indigenous Peoples – First Nations, Metis and Inuit – on this land. Their teachings and stewardship, culture and way of life have shaped our City’s unique identity.

Museum hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 11 am to 4 pm and Thursdays until 7 pm| Suggested Admission is $5

The museum is fully accessible.


The Orillia Museum of Art & History gratefully acknowledges the ongoing support of the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario, the City of Orillia, and our community supporters and contributors.