artNOW – July 2016

Our new arts columnist Shannon Taylor gives the inside scoop on outsider art

Graffiti artist JERM IX's tag on the train bridge. JERM IX has a show at Gallery in the Attic in Peterborough until July 15 (photo: David Fry)
Graffiti artist JERM IX's tag on the train bridge. JERM IX has a show at Gallery in the Attic in Peterborough until July 15 (photo: David Fry)

It’s been said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It is only fitting then that both traditional painting and street art have their places in society.

This month, there are at least two shows up in local galleries Artspace and Gallery in the Attic that can be linked to outsider art. Other shows and artists featured this month have unique styles that span the chasm between abstract and representational. Whether you consider yourself a member of the classic school, or you are on the outs with traditional artistic practices, you should find something of interest.

Outsider art is an umbrella term for a number of artistic practices categorised by either the artist’s lack of formal training or failure to conform to societal norms. Outsider artists are often self-taught and isolated. Folk art falls into this category, though one could argue that folk artists are the ultimate insiders, working from within their cultures and communities.

Street art shows us many examples of outsider art, as do underground comics and graphic novels. On the other hand, comics that enforce cultural stereotypes (such as Archie comics) do not qualify.


JERM IX Under the Microscope: an interview with JERM IX

Excerpt from "This is not my Suicide Note", on display at Peterborough's Gallery in the Attic until July 15th (photo: Shannon Taylor)
Excerpt from “This is not my Suicide Note”, on display at Peterborough’s Gallery in the Attic until July 15th (photo: Shannon Taylor)

If you frequent the highways and byways of Peterborough Ontario, you will have come across the tag JERM IX. The alleyways, bridges and city walls of our town are currently sporting the work of this “urban decorator”.

Right now, he has a show at Gallery in the Attic, on display until Friday, July 15th. Whether you are curious or enraged by the defiant act of tagging, this show provides insight into the troubled world of JERM IX. His poetry reveals an inner world frought with pain. It seems sharing his story of abuse and his struggle with mental health and addiction is both an act of bravery and a way of hanging on for JERM IX.

The opportunity arose to ask him a few questions about his relationship with Graffiti. Here is what he said.

S: How and when did you first come up with alias Jerm IX? Is there a meaning behind it?

J: The nickname Jerm was given to me in grade 9 when a friend’s mother referred to me as a germ and a bad influence on other youth and the nickname just stuck. The IX, which are Roman numerals for the number 9, represent the 9 lives, or rather incarnations of Jerm. It was originally derived from my wife’s initials.

S: How/when did you begin to graffiti? Can you describe your first graffiti experience?

J: I fell in love with graffiti when I discovered the work of uber-talented artist Thesis Sahib in the alleys of London Ontario in 2001. From there, I went on to spend a few years scouring and photographing every nook and cranny of Vancouver’s scene before finally beginning to put up my own work in 2006. I spent four years baring my soul in the form of pasted poetry scrolls on the walls of Vancouver before returning home to Peterborough and spreading my work across Ontario.

S: I hear you have tagged Vancouver as well? Where else have you “left your mark”?

J: I lived in beautiful Vancouver for 6 years and definitely did a whole lot of urban decorating, yes. I’ve also put up my work all across Ontario and into Quebec. Also, I send my work to other street artist friends globally and they do me the generous favour of pasting it up. My work has been seen on the streets of Colombia, Afghanistan, Iran, USA, UK, Germany, and more.

S: Do you intend to keep your identity a secret? Will you wear a disguise to your opening?

J: Not at all. I’ll be there, fully exposed, amongst walls draped in would-be suicide notes.

S: Who is your favourite artist or celebrity?

J: I’m not remotely into celebrity culture, but my favourite artist and graffiti icon is Calgary-based Grominate.

S: The words you have written invoke empathy and understanding, whereas tags on their own do not have that effect. How do you feel about the fact that people get angry about tagging?

J: People have always gotten angry about tagging. This is a phenomenon that dates way back to etchings on cave walls. Today, graffiti is an indication of a vibrant community, where even the disenfranchised have a voice. Every tagger has his or her reason or motivation that drives them to get their name up. Mine is personal. As a man living with bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders and constant suicidal ideation, I had never felt like I belonged. I felt out of place in someone else’s world. That is until I began tagging. It isn’t for you, it’s for me. Seeing a JERM IX tag makes me feel connected to my community. A part of it. I touched that surface, felt its texture. I’ve walked every square inch of this city several times over and truly experienced it, became one with it. If it offends or bothers you, I’m truly sorry for that, but we share this space together with the freedom to make our own decisions and take our own risks and follow our own path. This is the path I’m walking.

Take what you will from this, kawarthaNOW reader, and maybe you will have a new response next time you are faced with some incarnation of JERM IX in your day-to-day travels.

GITA will also have a member’s show opening on Friday, July 8th from 7 to 10 p.m., on display until July 30th.

Gallery In The Attic / The Peterborough Darkroom Project offers free admission, and is located up two flights of stairs at 140-1/2 Hunter St. W. in Peterborough. Hours are Tuesday to Saturday from noon to 5 p.m.


This month, the sun will set sideways at Artpace: find out what it’s all about at curator’s talk by Jon Lockyer

"Ritual and song, Comfort and religion" by Walter Scott (photo courtesy of Artspace)
“Ritual and song, Comfort and religion” by Walter Scott (photo courtesy of Artspace)
Artspace will be featuring a body of work entitled “The Sun Sets Sideways” by interdisciplinary Toronto-based artist Walter Scott.

“The Sun Sets Sideways” is a new collection of drawings, sculpture, installation and video. The exhibition encapsulates the fragmented elements of a narrative around Spike — a dog-shaped television writer living in the town of Sideways.

Walter is best known for his comic book series Wendy which has garnered international attention and been both published by and featured in numerous publications in Canada, the United States and Japan.

The position of the outsider and shape shifter are central to this body of work, as are the influence of feminist icons such as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde and artist, punk poet, experimental novelist and filmmaker Kathy Acker lingers.

The sequel, Wendy’s Revenge, will be published by Koyama Press in the fall of 2016. For more information about Walter’s work, please visit www.artspace-arc.org.

An opening reception will be held on Friday, July 15th from 7 to 10 p.m., with a corresponding curator’s talk by Jon Lockyer on Thursday, August 4th. The show will be on display until August 20th.

Artspace is located at 378 Aylmer Street in Peterborough (705-748-3883). Hours of operation are Tuesday to Friday from 12 to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 12 to 4 p.m.


Christensen Fine Art launches summer group show

Drop by Christensen Fine Art to see a wide variety of work on display in their Summer Group Show (photo courtesy of Christensen Fine Art)
Drop by Christensen Fine Art to see a wide variety of work on display in their Summer Group Show (photo courtesy of Christensen Fine Art)

Christensen Fine Art is pleased to celebrate the summer months with a revolving exhibition of new works by gallery artists. Shown above are pieces by Paul Shilling, Rebecca Last, and Susan Scott.

This popular exhibition showcases a changing selection of works in a variety of styles and mediums. The show will also include work by Melanie Browne, Joellen Brydon, Peer Christensen, Eugenie Fernandez, Sarah Gibeault, Marilyn Goslin, Christy Haldane, Spencer Harrison, Lisa Martini-Dunk, Anne Renouf, and Shannon Taylor.

A reception will be held on Friday, July 15th from 6 to 9 p.m. with artists in attendance.

Christensen Fine Art is located at 432 George Street N. in Peterborough. Gallery hours are Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For further information, please call Peer Christensen at 705-876-9623.


"A Red Canoe" by David Hickey (photo: Christy Haldane)
“A Red Canoe” by David Hickey (photo: Christy Haldane)

Up on Stony Lake at Proximity Fine Art (426 Carveth’s Marina Rd., Lakefield, 705-931-0855), the featured artist for July is David Hickey.

David is a multidisciplinary artist who creates metal sculptures and paintings that capture our Canadian landscape. To learn more about David and his process, visit Proximity Fine Art’s blog at www.proximityfineart.com, or stop into the shop at Carveth’s Marina and see the work for yourself — you just might discover a few locally made treasures.

You can also find David’s work online at www.davidhickeyartist.com.

Proximity Fine Art is open from noon to 5 p.m. from Thursday to Sunday, or by appointment.


Art Around Town: what’s up in local shops and restaurants

Detail from "Sense of Place" by Paul Nabuurs (photo: Shannon Taylor)
Detail from “Sense of Place” by Paul Nabuurs (photo: Shannon Taylor)

Exciting news: it is officially summer! So break out the pool noodles and swimsuits and, as you amble down Hunter Street in Peterborough, you will be able to appreciate art all day long — while you run errands, grab a healthy snack, and maybe even get a haircut.

The shops and restaurants of downtown Peterborough are full of art by local artists, and this July at least two of them are called Patrick.

Patrick Moore at Chasing the Cheese

"Dawn" (photo courtesy of Patrick Moore)
“Dawn” (photo courtesy of Patrick Moore)

Chasing the Cheese, currently located at 372 Water St., Peterborough (705-755-0525), will have just what you’re looking for in the cheese department, and maybe something you didn’t know you were looking for until you found it!

Chasing the Cheese is currently featuring artwork by Patrick Moore — a winter landscape sure is a refreshing sight in the heat of summer. Some would say so anyhow, but if the thought gives you the shivers,there are some more summery scenes to enjoy further down the wall.

This will be the last art show hosted by Chasing the Cheese, as they are moving soon to an exciting new location at the corner of Charlotte and Reid.

Patrick is also currently showing an impressive site-specific piece, “Song of the Cataract”, at the Art Gallery of Peterborough.

Sarah Gibeault at Union Studio

"Zing" by Sarah Gibeault (photo: Shannon Taylor)
“Zing” by Sarah Gibeault (photo: Shannon Taylor)

Why not stop in for a trim at Union Studio, a cutting-edge hair salon in the heart of downtown Peterborough (391 Water St., 705-740-2682)? There you can view the contemporary art of Sarah Gibeault while becoming more stylish by the second.

Sarah, a multidisciplinary artist living in downtown Peterborough, is a graduate of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design with a major in drawing. Her work ranges from representational to abstract.

Her studio practice has been composed of drawing, craft, painting, sound, sculpture and performance. Sarah also shows work at Proximity Fine Art, Christensen Fine Art, and the Art Gallery of Peterborough — both in the gift shop and in the show currently featured from the AGP’s permanent collection.

Patrick Holland at Food Forest

Detail from "Button" (photo courtesy of Patrick Holland)
Detail from “Button” (photo courtesy of Patrick Holland)

You might pop into Food Forest (135 Hunter St. W., Peterborough, 705-874-1888) to buy a healthy snack and check out Patrick Holland’s artwork while you’re at it.

Patrick specializes in abstracted portraits of people and animals in his signature style featuring intricate designs that create abstract patterns that also make up the features of his subjects.

To see more of Patrick Holland’s work or to purchase prints, find him on Facebook at Patrick Holland Art, or on his website www.partickhollandart.com.

Mossworks Photography at Elements Restaurant

"Urban Owl" (photo Courtesy of Mossworks Photography)
“Urban Owl” (photo Courtesy of Mossworks Photography)

If you are into fine dining, you can now sample some local photography while you eat. Elements Restaurant (140 King St, Peterborough, 705-876-1116) is now hosting monthly photography shows, an idea ignited by the SPARK photo festival this April.

Samantha Moss of Mossworks Photography will be featured this month. This show features a series of black-and-white multiple exposure photographs like “Urban Owl” shown above. They are made up of multiple images layered on top of one another, resulting in interesting and unexpected effects.

This is officially Samantha’s first photography show, and she will be contributing a portion of sales to the local Humane Society. An opening reception will be held at Elements on Thursday, July 7th from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

To see more of Samantha’s work, visit www.mossworksphotography.com.


4th Line Theatre launches art show in celebration of 25th anniversary at Black Honey

"Sense of Place" by Paul Nabuurs depicts the Winslow Farm in Millbrook, home of the 4th Line Theatre outdoor theatre company (photo: Shannon Taylor)
“Sense of Place” by Paul Nabuurs depicts the Winslow Farm in Millbrook, home of the 4th Line Theatre outdoor theatre company (photo: Shannon Taylor)

4th Line Theatre (779 Zion Line, Millbrook, 705-932-4445) has undertaken an epic project this summer.

They have built a 30-foot replica of the Peterborough clock tower for their production The Hero of Hunter Street, a play based on the infamous 1916 explosion at Quaker Oats, which claimed the lives of 24 workers and had far-reaching effects on the local community.

In “Sense of Place”, pictured above, artist Paul Nabuurs of Above Water Studio depicts this very clock tower standing tall at Winslow Farm under a colourful summer sky. This is one of a series of paintings done by local artists in celebration of the 4th Line Theatre’s 25th anniversary.

All paintings in the show are based on the history of the theatre company. They are on display at Black Honey (221 Hunter St. W., Peterborough) until July 24th. The show will then move to the Pastry Peddler (17 King St. E., Millbrook) where it will be on display from August 2nd to 28th — coinciding with the theatre’s second summer production, The Bad Luck Bank Robbers.

An opening will be held at Black Honey on Wednesday, July 6th from 1 to 2 pm. All proceeds from art sales will go directly to contributing artists. Artists include Emma Hesse, Andrew Ihamaki, Valerie Kent, Dianne Latchford, Esperanca Melo and Paul Nabuurs.

For more information about 4th Line Theatre and their summer season, visit www.4thlinetheatre.on.ca.

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