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Transforming landscape traditions

Mehreen Shahid

By Mehreen Shahid, Orillia Packet & Times

MEHREEN SHAHID/THE PACKET & TIMES
Tradition Transformed, the 15th annual juried art exhibition inspired by the work of Franklin Carmichael, is on display at Orillia Museum of Art and History until Nov. 27. Pictured is Ninette Gyorody, executive director of the museum.

MEHREEN SHAHID/THE PACKET & TIMES Tradition Transformed, the 15th annual juried art exhibition inspired by the work of Franklin Carmichael, is on display at Orillia Museum of Art and History until Nov. 27. Pictured is Ninette Gyorody, executive director of the museum.

Artists from around Canada gave a nod to Franklin Carmichael with their interpretation of landscapes on display at the Orillia Museum of Art and History (OMAH).

Through the 15th annual exhibition titled Tradition Transformed, OMAH invited artists to produce work that offers a re-interpretation of landscape painting using a medium of choice.

“We encouraged all forms of media, so there’s photography, painting, film, sound, textile, sculpture, etc.,” said Ninette Gyorody, executive director at OMAH. “We invited artists from across Canada to submit work for consideration, received over 200 submissions and 68 were selected (for display) by a jury.”

Franklin Carmichael was born in Orillia and lived here until the age of 17. He was part of the Group of Seven, a group of trendsetting landscape painters from early 20th century, she said.

“He used watercolour as a medium,” said Gyorody. “He was also using more of an expressionistic palette, bolder colours, broader brush strokes and not necessarily painting what you see but painting what you feel about what you see.”

Before the show closes on Nov. 27, she said, OMAH is encouraging visitors to stop by to take a look at the exhibition and vote for the work they think is most exemplary of Carmichael’s values of expression of landscape. Their votes will lead to determining a winner for the People’s Choice Award.

At this year’s opening in September, two artists were recognized for their work with a $1,000 juror’s prize, which was made possible with a contribution from Lakehead University. Maggie MacInnis, from Keswick, won the award for her sculpture titled Underfoot. Julie Gemuend, of Niagara Falls, caught the jurors’ eye with her video Imprint.

“The jurors’ prize winners were selected because of how they place humanity in landscape,” said Gyorody. “It was a contemporary take on landscape.”

In her video, Gemuend becomes one with the landscape by interacting with it in various ways, for instance, by demonstrating the imprint nature leaves on skin. On the other hand, MacInnis’s work shows a glimpse of a post-apocalyptic landscape taking over of humanity, added Gyorody.

As well, on opening night, Nic Cooper of Toronto was given $1,000 as part of the Kevin Batchelor Emerging Artist Award.

“The emerging artist award looks at two-dimensional media, excluding photography. And she (Cooper) has a crisp take on urban landscape with a bold palette,” said Gyorody.

Following the Carmichael exhibition, OMAH has two more exhibitions to put on before it closes for the year. On Nov. 19, the museum inaugurates Mad Dog Monty, a show displaying original drawings by resident artist Jim Ireland, with a special reception planned for Nov. 24. The last exhibition of the year will showcase works from high school students on Dec. 2, with This is Tomorrow.

mshahid@postmedia.com

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