artNOW: profiles of local artists Christy Haldane, Laura Madera, and Peer Christensen

Also featuring two exhibitions at the Art Gallery of Peterborough and First Friday Peterborough

A detail from 'Fecundity' (watercolour on paper, 20" x 28") by Laura Madera, one of three local artists profiled in this month's artNOW. (Photo courtesy of the artist)
A detail from 'Fecundity' (watercolour on paper, 20" x 28") by Laura Madera, one of three local artists profiled in this month's artNOW. (Photo courtesy of the artist)

This December will be unlike any other. The myriad of performances and recitals that usually punctuate the season are on hold, and the fairs, sales, and seasonal get-togethers are either called off or happening with reduced capacity. So this month we check in with artists Christy Haldane, Laura Madera, and Peer Christensen in their studios and see how things are going as the holiday season approaches.

While the opportunities for artists to exhibit continue to be limited, the Art Gallery of Peterborough is currently showing the group show ‘Presently’ and a carefully curated selection from the permanent collection called ‘Selections from the Collection in the Time of COVID’. The gift shop is open for business with a selection of work from regional artists. On Tuesday, December 1st, the gallery is participating in Giving Tuesday with a drive for donations; if you haven’t renewed your membership, there’s no time like the present to do so (all donations are welcome).

The COVID-careful First Friday art crawl returns to downtown Peterborough on December 4th, with work by Beth McCubbin and Joe Stable at Acme Art and Sailboat Company, the 2020 Winter Market at Alelier Ludmila, the First Friday Festivus Open Studio Sale, and more.

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Christy Haldane

 Artist Christy Haldane in her studio. (Photo courtesy of the artist)

Artist Christy Haldane in her studio. (Photo courtesy of the artist)

Christy Haldane works with glass, stone, and steel to create sculptural pieces, vases and jewellery. Working with reclaimed materials in her rural studio, Haldane has become well known for her striking work which combines the translucent delicately coloured qualities of fused glass with the strength and presence of stone and metal.

Her latest venture, ‘Memory Stones’, brings a personal touch to her commission work. You can go out and find stones in places that are of personal significance, bring them to Christy Haldane’s studio then — be it sculpture, vasem or pendant — your stone will be expertly crafted into something beautiful to treasure or to commemorate someone or something.

Keep in mind her sculptural pieces can be placed outdoors or indoors because of the durable nature of the materials. If you are considering this, Haldane provides a guide to choosing stones.

During the pandemic, Haldane used the time to create a series of glass and stone vases, and upped her online game with studio-grade photos and an increased online presence. The result was a marked increase in sales which has left Haldane no longer eligible for EI or CERB.

One of Christy Haldane's stone and glass vases. (Photo courtesy of the artist)
One of Christy Haldane’s stone and glass vases. (Photo courtesy of the artist)

She then invested in the help of Amy E. Leclair Graphic Design and Brand Studio to help with marketing and branding, and secured some funding from Community Futures Peterborough to help her to transition to online sales. It worked.

“By the summer I was seeing my sales grow and I was as busy as I have ever been,” she says. “As the holiday season approaches, I am optimistic since I have seen an increased interest in buying local, thoughtful, handmade gifts,” she

This is definitely a good news story amid a sea of news to the contrary, and bodes well for the Christmas season in general.

Christy Haldane’s studio is located at 617 Golf Course Road in Douro Dummer. Call ahead to book a studio visit at 705-931-0855 or email christy@christyhaldane.com. She can be found online at www.christyhaldane.com.

 

Laura Madera

Artist Laura Madera at work. (Photo courtesy of the artist)
Artist Laura Madera at work. (Photo courtesy of the artist)

Laura Madera’s watercolour paintings have a mysterious and magical quality about them. Deep vibrant hues and bright pops of colour and light draw us into an ethereal world all its own.

“In my art practice I use painting to poetically explore the natural world, its primal energies, beauty, phenomena, and to approximate something of the wonder of it,” Madera says.

Working from her Peterborough studio, Madera has developed her unique style and her work is now owned by collectors and art enthusiasts worldwide. She has an original method which creates these beautiful effects.

'Not quite day not quite night' (watercolour on paper, 18"x20") by Laura Madera. (Photo courtesy of the artist)
‘Not quite day not quite night’ (watercolour on paper, 18″x20″) by Laura Madera. (Photo courtesy of the artist)

“I paint in watercolour, in many veils of transparent pure colour,” she explains.

“The paintings are layered over time to create rich, complex and sometimes unexpected colour, form, and landscapes. I engage with gravity and the properties of water as my collaborators. I dip and tip and shimmy my paintings into being.”

During the pandemic, Madera has not slowed down, keeping up her practice and spirits by maintaining a connection with the creative community.

“I’m very glad for the artists, clients, and collectors who have stuck with me during this time,” she says. “Every purchase, collaboration, and creative conversation has been important for keeping me going in the studio.”

To see more of her work or join her art list to be the first to know about new work or sales, visit www.lauramadera.ca . Look out for a new collaboration and a group of paintings to be released in a flash sale for the holidays going live on December 5th.

Contact Laura through her website or at lauramadera@gmail.com.

 

Peer Christensen

Artist Peer Christensen at work in his studio.  (Photo courtesy of the artist)
Artist Peer Christensen at work in his studio. (Photo courtesy of the artist)

When discussing the challenges and changes of the pandemic with Peer Christensen, his positive attitude and an willingness to take things as they come are very apparent. For Christensen, the silver lining is the opportunity to focus on working in the studio and to create new work and to explore new avenues such as online sales.

Christensen is making the most of his studio time and working on a new body of oil paintings.

“There is an advantage to being a visual artist in that I can continue working and build up a body of work that will be very helpful when things turn around,” he observes. “I think we’re in a good position, all things considered.”

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Rural landscapes, cityscapes, and still-life paintings are often the focus of Christensen’s work. His latest series leans toward the industrial landscape, a theme he returns to often, depicting rail yards, ship yards, hydroelectric power stations, and dry docks.

These artful renditions present us with mechanical structures and landscapes that are part of a world which functions behind the scenes, and part of the working infrastructure that many of us may be unfamiliar with.

Christensen looks forward to participating in the Artist Project in Toronto, which has been pushed into April 2021. Hopefully things will have settled down by then, and we will be able to get back to going out into the world and attending events such as this. Christensen has seen a number of shows and art fairs cancelled or moved online during this unprecedented time.

A painting depicting the Port Weller Dry Docks in winter, from Peer Christensen's 'Port Weller Dry Dock Series'. (Photo courtesy of the artist)
A painting depicting the Port Weller Dry Docks in winter, from Peer Christensen’s ‘Port Weller Dry Dock Series’. (Photo courtesy of the artist)

A year ago he was looking forward to five shows in 2020. That number was in the end whittled down to one, which went ahead though it was moved online by the Art Gallery of Hamilton. Work still sells through the online platform, and the show was a success, but as, Christensen says, “I think people miss it you know — just going to shows and galleries. Online is fine, but It does not give you the same experience as seeing something face to face.”

On the other hand, the pandemic restrictions created a new, and in some ways more relaxed, model for studio visits during the studio tour this year. This worked out well for Christensen, who ended up scheduling one client to come through about every hour. This was a welcome change from the usual non-stop foot traffic, and in the end was a very successful tour.

Peer Christensen’s studio is located at 10 Lisburn Street in Peterborough. Appointments are welcome; to make one, call 705-876-9623 or email info@christensenfineart.com. COVID safety measures are being observed. You can also always take a peek at his work from the comfort of home by visiting www.peerchristensen.com.

 

Donate to the Art Gallery of Peterborough on Giving Tuesday. (Graphic: Art Gallery of Peterborough)
Donate to the Art Gallery of Peterborough on Giving Tuesday. (Graphic: Art Gallery of Peterborough)

Giving Tuesday (December 1) has become a worldwide event marking the beginning of the giving season around the globe, and its an opportunity to support both the arts and art institutions which have been hard hit by the pandemic.

The Art Gallery of Peterborough came to the aid of artists this year by giving them the proceeds from the gallery’s annual fundraiser, and continues to support and encourage artists in the area by promoting their work in the gift shop and by hosting artist led classes and workshops.

The gallery is a community hub, providing free programming with its Family Sunday activities for children (the activities are now available online, so you can do them in your own home, at agp.on.ca/programs/family-sundays/) and by providing free access to art shows, talks, and a library of art books.

The Art Gallery of Peterborough works hard to build community and support artists in the community. This Giving Tuesday is your chance to give back by making a donation to the gallery. Visit agp.on.ca/join-us/donate/ or call us at 705-743-9179. A charitable tax receipt will be provided.

 

Work by Tara Lynn MacDougall (back), Ale Groen, and Andrew McPhail, three of many artists whose work is being shown at 'Presently'. (Photo courtesy of Art Gallery of Peterborough)
Work by Tara Lynn MacDougall (back), Ale Groen, and Andrew McPhail, three of many artists whose work is being shown at ‘Presently’. (Photo courtesy of Art Gallery of Peterborough)

‘Presently’, on now until February 14th, is a carefully curated group show that’s a reflection of this moment in our collective history. The call for submissions was for work that resonates with the contemporary moment, and the resulting show deals with a myriad of emotions that resonate with what we have experienced in 2020.

The gallery identifies urgency, vulnerability, boredom, frustration, transition, resistance, comfort, and resilience as themes found in ‘Presently’. Definitely worth a look, and there are indeed a large number of artists participating in this show.

The show was put together by a jury of three cultural workers: Sonya Jones (curator of collections at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery), Dyan Marie (artist and founder of C-magazine, Cold City Gallery, DIG IN, Walk Here, Dupont Projects, BIG: Bloor Improvement Group, and the BIG On Bloor Festival), and Clayton Windatt (a Métis non-binary multi-artist currently executive director of the Artist-Run Centres and Collectives Conference). They had a great response, with submissions from 179 artists from across Canada, and from further afield. Drop in and check this timely exhibition out.

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Participating artists include Peter Barron, JoEllen Brydon, Tia Cavanagh, Christian Chapman, John Climenhage, Megan Cole, Tonya Corkey, Fiona Crangle, Andrew Cripps, Sadiqa de Meijer, Jordan Dunlop, Teri Donovan, Holly Edwards, Henry Fernandes, Carol Forbes, Ale Groen, Julianne Gladstone, Jessica Hanzelkova, Emma Hesse, Ashley Johnson, Darcie Kennedy, Eryn Lidster, Jane LowBeer, Tara Lynn MacDougall, Katika Marczell, Beth McCubbin, Ian McLean, Andrew McPhail, Amber Helene Müller St Thomas, Yuripman Napoles Pereira, Alissa Ohashi, Paul Oldham, Kelly O’Neill, Tristan Peirce, Nadja Pelkey, Alison Postma, Andrew Rabyniuk, Matt Rogalsky, Emma Schnurr, lo scott, Sheldon Storey, Wendy Trusler, Joel Matthew Warkentin, Jem Woolidge, Brandon Wulff, and David Yu.

The Art Gallery of Peterborough is located at 250 Crescent Street in downtown Peterborough and is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday to Sunday by appointment. Each appointment is 45 minutes long, for up to 10 visitors within the same social bubble, starting on the hour. The gallery offers free admission, barrier-free access, and a gallery shop. Parking is available in the Del Crary lot. For more information, call 705-743-9179 or visit agp.on.ca.

 

'A Print in Four Parts' by Robin Mackenzie and 'Coastal Journey #2: Past the Dog Island' by Anne Meredith Barry, two of the pieces on display in 'Selections from the Collection in the Time of COVID'. (Photo courtesy of Art Gallery of Peterborough)
‘A Print in Four Parts’ by Robin Mackenzie and ‘Coastal Journey #2: Past the Dog Island’ by Anne Meredith Barry, two of the pieces on display in ‘Selections from the Collection in the Time of COVID’. (Photo courtesy of Art Gallery of Peterborough)

To complement the group show ‘Presently’, the Art Gallery of Peterborough is displaying a selection of work from the permanent collection, guest curated by internationally acclaimed artist Jane Lowbeer. Lowbeer, who is also featured in ‘Presently’, actually bid for her opportunity to curate a show at a past fundraiser for the gallery. It is safe to say her sensibilities have made for an interesting show.

Featuring work by Jane Ash Poitras, Anne Meredith Barry, Jack Bush, Lucie Chan, Louis de Niverville, Jim Dine, Ivan Eyre, Brian Kipping, Nobuo Kubota, Robin Mackenzie, Michael Maglich, John Marok, Mimmo Paladino, Michael Poulton, Akira Yoshikawa, and Tony Urquhart, the show reflects some of the emotions elicited by COVID, but also offers a lighter uplifting message.

Some works have been selected as a reminder to smile, to inspire and to lift our spirits, and to help us through this difficult time. The show is on now until February 14th.

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The Art Gallery of Peterborough is located at 250 Crescent Street in downtown Peterborough and is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday to Sunday by appointment. Each appointment is 45 minutes long, for up to 10 visitors within the same social bubble, starting on the hour. The gallery offers free admission, barrier-free access, and a gallery shop. Parking is available in the Del Crary lot. For more information, call 705-743-9179 or visit agp.on.ca.

 

First Friday Peterborough: Beth McCubbin, Joe Stable, Atelier Ludmila’s 2020 Winter Market, and the First Friday Festivus Open Studio Sale

 One of Joe Stable's new 'Dead Flower Drawings', on display during First Friday Peterborough. (Photo courtesy of the artist)

One of Joe Stable’s new ‘Dead Flower Drawings’, on display during First Friday Peterborough. (Photo courtesy of the artist)

The COVID-careful First Friday Peterborough returns to downtown Peterborough on December 4th.

ACME Art and Sailboat Company will feature a selection of handmade pottery by artist Beth McCubbin, and a new series of Dead Flower drawings by Joe Stable.

Atelier Ludmila will also be showing some of Beth McCubbin’s work as part of the Winter Market 2020, running from Friday, December 4th until Thursday, December 24th.

This show will feature the work of seven artists including McCubbin, Charon Ackhurst, Nicole Bauberger, Mary McLaughlin, Hanna Spinney, and Shannon Taylor.

A detail of 'Peony' by Mary McLaughlin, one of seven artists whose work is on display at Atelier Ludmila during First Friday Peterborough. (Photo courtesy of Atelier Ludmila)
A detail of ‘Peony’ by Mary McLaughlin, one of seven artists whose work is on display at Atelier Ludmila during First Friday Peterborough. (Photo courtesy of Atelier Ludmila)

There’s also the First Friday Festivus Open Studio Sale at Atelier Victoria Wallace, featuring works by Victoria Wallace, Roz Hermant, Lisa Martini-Dunk, Miguel Hernandez, and Marcia Watt.

Hours are 5 to 10 p.m. on Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Stop in at all three locations and more during First Friday, which runs from 6 to 10 p.m. on December 4th. Bring masks, and prepare to wait patiently as people are being admitted on a first-come first-served basis.

Works on display during the First Friday Festivus Open Studio Sale. (Photo courtesy of Atelier Victoria Wallace)
Works on display during the First Friday Festivus Open Studio Sale. (Photo courtesy of Atelier Victoria Wallace)

Acme Art and Sailboat Company is located on the third floor of the Commerce Building (129-1/2 Hunter Street West) in downtown Peterborough, with Atelier Ludmila located on the second floor. Atelier Victoria Wallace is located in Unit 10A at 280 Perry Street in Peterborough.

For more information about First Friday Peterborough, visit firstfridayptbo.com.

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