Art in the Street – April 2015

Featuring exhibits at the SPARK Photo Festival and the Art School of Peterborough Art Auction

Georgie Horton-Baptiste's work is being presented as part of the SPARK Photo Festival during the month of April, including this photo looking towards Bigfoot Pass at Badlands National Park in South Dakota (photo: Georgie Horton-Baptiste)
Georgie Horton-Baptiste's work is being presented as part of the SPARK Photo Festival during the month of April, including this photo looking towards Bigfoot Pass at Badlands National Park in South Dakota (photo: Georgie Horton-Baptiste)

SPARK is back this year with another diverse line-up of photography exhibitions all over Peterborough and throughout the Kawarthas. The third annual photo festival begins today and continues throughout April. In this month’s column, I highlight five notable SPARK exhibits and one non-SPARK event: the Art School of Peterborough’s annual fundraising art auction.


“Lucy Maud Montgomery: A Life in Pictures”

Two of the photos from SPARK's showcase exhibit "Lucy Maud Montgomery: A Life in Pictures". The first is an 1891 portrait of Montgomery at age 17. The second is Montgomery's snapshot of friend Nora Lefurgy taking photos on the Cavendish Shore in the early 1890s. (Photos printed from Archival and Special Collections, University of Guelph with permission of the Heirs of L.M. Montgomery Inc.)
Two of the photos from SPARK’s showcase exhibit “Lucy Maud Montgomery: A Life in Pictures”. The first is an 1891 portrait of Montgomery at age 17. The second is Montgomery’s snapshot of friend Nora Lefurgy taking photos on the Cavendish Shore in the early 1890s. (Photos printed from Archival and Special Collections, University of Guelph with permission of the Heirs of L.M. Montgomery Inc.)
SPARK launches with a comprehensive exhibit of photographs from Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables. Montgomery’s beautiful black and white and sepia-toned photos will no doubt be full of historic intrigue and lovely images.

“Lucy Maud Montgomery: A Life in Pictures” will be unveied during the opening reception for SPARK, from 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 1st at the Historic YMCA Building (475 George St at Murray, Peterborough). The exhibit continues at that location every day during April, from 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is free.


“Integral & Intrinsic: Mazinaakizigewan – The Art of Photography” by Georgie Horton-Baptiste and George Campana

This tipi with flag poles is from Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota (photo: George Campana)
This tipi with flag poles is from Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota (photo: George Campana)
I’m truly excited by what’s happening just down the block though. Immediately following the SPARK launch, there will be opening celebrations for Georgie Horton-Baptiste and George Campana’s “Integral & Intrinsic: Mazinaakizigewan – The Art of Photography” at the Schandry Building at 7 p.m. until whenever everyone goes home.

George Campana has covered some serious ground in his life. Over the past 18 years, he has amassed nearly 250,000 kilometres of travel all over North America, many of those travelled riding almost non-stop on his motorcycle, sometimes for days. He travels to attend gatherings of people who come from all over the world. He goes to create a record of these people and events, but also to learn from the teachings and ceremonies he shares in.

Campana himself says he is a non-native, but that he meets and blends with all people and faiths. He speaks of hundreds of people he has met and known in a way that tells me he counts them all as friends.

“In all my travels, I’ve never met a ‘savage’,” he says. “These people taught me to live.”

Anishinaabe Niigaanosekweg, Native Women Who Lead, from the Sisters in Spirit March in Peterborough (photo: Georgie Horton-Baptiste)
Anishinaabe Niigaanosekweg, Native Women Who Lead, from the Sisters in Spirit March in Peterborough (photo: Georgie Horton-Baptiste)
Horton-Baptiste is his very opposite in many ways, complementary but entirely different. Her aspect is quiet, serene, and powerful. She resides deeply in her energy whereas Campana overflows with it, telling dozens of animated stories.

Horton-Baptiste is the organizer of the Water Awareness Walks in the Kawarthas and a member of the Sacred Water Circle. The vision for the circle and the walks was inspired by traditional Indigenous teaching and the example of leading with hope and spiritual courage. I can imagine this resonating well with Jack Layton.

She and Campana are both tremendous resources. In the space of two afternoons I spent with them and some of their companions, I feel I’ve grown measurably — knowing I’ve only touched the surface of what I’ve yet to learn.

Standing and spending time in this space you can have this record pour over you. You could absorb the impressions of people, events, nature, and stories for hours. Do avail yourself of the impressive presences of Horton-Baptiste and Campana, but even without their commentary and wisdom there is a so much to be felt and experienced here.

“Kina Awiiya Nindinawemaaganag: All My Relations” in on at the Peterborough & the Kawarthas Tourism Visitor Centre (1400 Crawford Dr., Peterborough) throughout April. There is an opening reception on Wednesday, April 8th from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The centre is open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.

“Integral & Intrinsic: Mazinaakizigewin – The Art of Photography” is at the Shandry Building (459 George St. N., Peterborough) throughout April. There is an opening reception on Saturday, April 11th from 6 to 8 p.m. The exhibit is available for viewing from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday, and 12 noon to 4 p.m. on weekends.


This close-up of McClellan's HD on metal print of water and concrete takes on the kind of detail and construction of a linear painting (photo courtesy of Holly McClellan)
This close-up of McClellan’s HD on metal print of water and concrete takes on the kind of detail and construction of a linear painting (photo courtesy of Holly McClellan)
Diversity seems to be the hallmark of Holly McClellan’s artistic practice. Last May her ‘Garbage Dress Series’ was part of Public Energy’s Erring on the Mount and this year’s she’s paired up with East City Flower Shop as a Runway Challenger in their Wearable Art Show. While these are wildly different types of work united by some relationship to fashion she is also a fine artist and digital photographer, both of which she teaches at Durham College.

Her “Chemical World” is no exception to her varied modes and celebrates the changes in the evolution of photographic technology. McClellan experiments with a variety of cameras (film & digital) as well as numerous combinations of lenses, printing processes, and subject matter within the chemical theme (e.g. laundry detergent, paint, cleaners). C-prints, traditional colour photos, digital on cotton rag, HD on metal, and black-and-white photos printed at the gallery’s resident Darkroom Project studio all make an appearance.

Her work is influenced by her forays about suburban living, consumerism, and their connection to the environment. Her work serves as a reminder of Earth Day approaching on April 22nd.

“Chemical World” shows in the back gallery at Gallery in the Attic (upstairs at 140-1/2 Hunter St. W., Peterborough) and will continue throughout the month. The gallery is open from noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday. For inquiries, call 705-868-1162.


Simple and well composed, this portrait even seems to be taken an bit "out of time" with the old school in the background (photo courtesy of Wayne Eardley)
Simple and well composed, this portrait even seems to be taken an bit “out of time” with the old school in the background (photo courtesy of Wayne Eardley)
Students at Prince of Wales school are fortunate for the expert tutelage of professional photographer Wayne Eardley and photographer/artist John Marris. Both men have years of expertise in film photography and a true spirit of joy in experimentation in working in the photographic medium.

Prince of Wales students participating in the exhibition at Gallery in the Attic are Emily Pare, Shervin Khosravi, Lemi Yascini, Francis Brooks, Donovan McKnight, and Maeve Hartnett. The students explored some black-and-white photography, as well as the merits of slowing down and seeing the world at an analog speed where images are become finite, precious, and considered.

Marris has a keen eye for taking seemingly ordinary subject matter and finding a sublime and interesting way to view them (photo courtesy of John Marris)
Marris has a keen eye for taking seemingly ordinary subject matter and finding a sublime and interesting way to view them (photo courtesy of John Marris)
John Marris has made some scholastic exploration of his own working out of Traill College for the past six months. He has entries of his own work along with a Darkroom Project members’ show taking on objects of human construction as a theme. He took an interest in architecture and worked on taking one picture a day using a film camera. The cameras and formats of film themselves varied.

While not all of his photographs are from Traill, he does have it in mind to do an all-Traill exhibition at the college some day in the future.

Along with The Darkroom Project members’ small group show themed around the man-made landscape, the students’ work is on display in the main gallery at Gallery in the Attic (upstairs at 140-1/2 Hunter St. W., Peterborough) and will continue throughout the month. The gallery is open from noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday. For inquiries, call 705-868-1162.


Hailman certainly brings the electricity to this image but the deeper interpretation is a reflection on Peterborough cultural landscape (photo courtesy of Robert Hailman)
Hailman certainly brings the electricity to this image but the deeper interpretation is a reflection on Peterborough cultural landscape (photo courtesy of Robert Hailman)
Stephanie Cann and Rob Hailman also take in some architecture in their “Electric City” show, but sharpen the theme a bit to a focus on electricity and symbols of the city’s unique dynamism of arts and culture.
Cann’s images focus on some electrical matter in a literal sense as well as portraiture (photo courtesy of SPARK Photo Festival)
Cann’s images focus on some electrical matter in a literal sense as well as portraiture (photo courtesy of SPARK Photo Festival)
They are both cultural dynamos themselves. Cann has done acting, performance, and singing among her many pursuits and is a founding member of the Darkroom Project. She is also active with Trent Radio.

Hailman has pursued a career as a musician, songwriter, and recording artist; his latest project being the band No Pussyfooting. He is also a founding member of the Darkroom Project and active on Trent Radio. From what I can tell he also seems to be a polymath with vast technological skills and literary acumen.

“Electric City” is on display in the Brick Room at Gallery in the Attic (upstairs at 140-1/2 Hunter St. W., Peterborough) and will continue throughout the month. The gallery is open from noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday. For inquiries, call 705-868-1162.

With all this talk of The Darkroom Project, I cannot fail to mention their second Birthday Party on April 11th from 7:30 to 11 p.m. The fantastic synth pop arias of roboteyes will feature along with other musicians, a photo booth, and door prizes. This is a good night to come out if you have an interest in learning some things about film photography and print developing. With all this and a mere $10 cover to go to supporting the project (and paying musicians), it’s really a good night out for anyone.


Art School of Peterborough Art Auction at Princess Gardens

Watery streetscapes done in vibrant oils are among Rob Niezen’s most sought after paintings for good reasonS (photo courtesy of Art School of Peterborough)
Watery streetscapes done in vibrant oils are among Rob Niezen’s most sought after paintings for good reasonS (photo courtesy of Art School of Peterborough)
Yours truly got vaunted into celebrity status along with the likes of Carol Lawless, Faith Dickenson (of Cuddles for Cancer), Christina Abbott, Scarlett Grace, Michelle Ferrari, Kemi Akapo, and Sam Tweedle this past Sunday. I don’t quite know how I managed this coup but together we participated in painting 12″ x 12″ canvases that, when placed together, will form a large 3′ x 4′ painting that will be part of the auction.

I chose to sit alongside Ms Dickenson, which pretty much guaranteed my shaming because she’s as good at painting as she seems to be at all things. Anyway, the art auction itself features the works of a host of superb artists, 31 in all, all amid the glorious spaciousness of the Princess Gardens main atrium.

I’ve personal knowledge of Victoria Wallace, Bronson Smith, George Raab, Peer Christensen, Anne Cavanagh, Brianna Gosselin, Christy Haldane, Jenni Johnston, Jason Wilkins, and Rob Niezen’s work; and know them all to be of exceptional talent. Moreover a broad range of different styles that is bound to have something to suit just about anyone. These artists that have come together to submit work whose live auction (conducted by auctioneer Keith Monk) and other sales will go to support the Art School programming and ensure an all-inclusive environment for the community.

Brianna Gosselin and her process of intuitive painting produce dreamy acrylic paintings that are vibrant and ethereal (photo courtesy of Art School of Peterborough)
Brianna Gosselin and her process of intuitive painting produce dreamy acrylic paintings that are vibrant and ethereal (photo courtesy of Art School of Peterborough)
Read into this statement the idea that children and folks that otherwise would be precluded from being able to get involved in art making will be able to do so due to your participation. The generous donations of local businesses and individuals like you are essential to the school’s future.

Such a humanitarian efforts could hardly be more enjoyable or simple. There will also be a silent auction with artwork, local gift certificates, other surprise items. Small works on 4″ x 4″ and 4″ x 8″ canvasses will also be on sale for $20 and $40 respectively.

Delicious hors d’oeuvres will also be on offer for your noshing enjoyment generously donated by some pretty serious culinary heavyweights in the local restaurant scene (I’m not telling). Trio Al Kirby, Bill Olson, and Howard Baer — know collectively as Nassau Mills — will be entertaining with their GrassRoots renditions of traditional and original songs influenced by bluegrass, standards, folk, blues, and the history of Peterborough. Some you will have got that last bit from the name.

Peter Rotter's work is a staple at Christensen Fine Art and I love his beautiful subtle painterly landscapes (photo courtesy of Art School of Peterborough)
Peter Rotter’s work is a staple at Christensen Fine Art and I love his beautiful subtle painterly landscapes (photo courtesy of Art School of Peterborough)
The 19th annual Art School of Peterborough Art Auction: Canadiana will take place on Saturday, April 11th at the Princess Gardens (100 Charlotte St, Peterborough). Doors open at 6 p.m. and the silent auction begins straight away, so arrive early to get your bids in and get the best of the nibblies. Live auctions begins at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $8 in advance, or $10 at the door (free for members of the Art School). Advance tickets are available at The Art School of Peterborough (174 Charlotte St., Peterborough, 705-742-3221).

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