Sunday, September 26, 2010

Installation Shots from Loop Gallery's Current Show

The exhibitions of loop members Barbara Rehus and Maureen Paxton opened yesterday at loop Gallery and will continue until October 17, 2010.  The photos below are selected installation shots from Barbara Rehus show Saint's and Maureen Paxton's show Wish Well.

Icon Installation by Barbara Rehus

Calculation by Barbara Rehus

"I see you, Marguerite" by Barbara Rehus

Maureen Paxton at Loop

Maureen Paxton

Maureen Paxton at Loop

Photos by: Ester Pugliese, 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Barbara Rehus at Loop

Barbara Rehus will be exhibiting Saint's at loop Gallery in a show that opens on Saturday, September 25, 2010. Saint’s began back when Rehus was a child, fascinated by saints and their stories.  What with all the drama, tragedy and gore, these stories were better than any fairy tale!   Rehus still retains a fondness for those old saints and is drawn to icons, stylized representations of religious figures, and risas, protective coverings occasionally used.  It seems to her that risas not only protect the painting, but those figures represented as well.  

Rehus has created her own series of icons and risas.  Standard saints set the historical context for accompanying contemporary icons which place friends and family in their own risas, places where they’ve told the artist they feel safe.  Saint’s consists of portraits painted in acrylic on panel, each recessed within and cradled by a carved encaustic risa.

Presented below is an essay written by poet Terry Weber for a brochure about Barbara's exhibition Saint's. 

Nun by Barbara Rehus 2010
Acrylic on panel with carved encaustic and oil on panel, 12x12x1.75 

My great-great grandmother committed suicide.  She did this by walking into the pond on her family’s farm, late at night, perhaps early in the morning, wearing her night gown, I imagine, and drowning herself.  Maybe she took her night gown off.  Maybe she wore nothing.  It was 1903.  She was fifty-seven years old.  In the act of killing herself, she committed not just suicide but what might be the ultimate act of self preservation, of keeping her self from harm.  She was released and relieved in this final gesture of her life.

How do we protect ourselves, preserve our selves?  What keeps us safe from harm?  What talisman might we use to ward off pain, whether of the body or the soul?  These are the questions that are central to Barbara Rehus’s work.  Sometimes she is the protector.  Sometimes she is in need of protecting herself.  Sometimes she is the witness, the teller of stories.

In her latest work, “Saint’s,” Rehus explores the use of icons and risas in a contemporary way by  placing her subjects, family and friends, in risas juxtaposed with traditional icons of saints who have caught her fancy.  Her modern day saints are protected not by some religious magic but by a magic of their own making.  Rehus uses acrylic on wood panels and carved encaustic with oil on wood panels to create her icons.

We'll Keep Walking by Barbara Rehus 2010
Acrylic on panel with carved encaustic and oil on panel, 20x16x1.75

Rehus’s “The Pond Walker” was inspired by the story of that great-great grandmother‘s death.  The crows which are a part of the installation, serve as witnesses and messengers of the great shift in the world as this one woman left it.

In “Safe Houses,” Rehus uses glass to build structures that are meant to protect their occupants from the evils and horrors of war.  That protection is tenuous, however, given the fragile and transparent nature of glass.  In those safe houses, no one is ever really safe.

“Fly By” is Rehus’s expression of hope for recovery from physical illness.  The hanging glass crows suspended in a background of blue sky and clouds allow the artist to fantasize escape from physical limitations.  They allow her to fly.

In “Please and Thank You,” Rehus has created personal milagros out of glass as prayers for the people dear to her.  These milagros are symbolic of some special hope or fear the artist has for each person.

In some way, we each create our own safe place.  Rehus’s work is an exploration of how we do that and why we choose what we do.

Terry Weber

Please join the artist at the opening reception on Saturday, September 25, 2010 from 2-5 pm. The Toronto Canadian Art Hop is scheduled to stop at loop at 320 pm. There will be a question and answer session with the artist at 345 pm moderated by Antonia Lancaster. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Loop Gallery on BlogTO

BlogTO has a feature on Loop Gallery today which includes installation shots from Elizabeth Babyn and Linda Heffernan's recent show. Read the entire text written by Elena Potter here.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Upcoming Show: Maureen Paxton and Barbara Rehus

loop Gallery is pleased to announce the exhibitions of loop members Maureen Paxton: Wish Well and Barbara Rehus: Saint’s which will open Saturday, September 25, 2010.

Nine of the twelve paintings presented by Maureen Paxton in Wish Well describe variations on the locket.  Often containing images or artifacts belonging to a loved one, the locket tends to be worn at points on the body where the wearer’s pulse can be felt - over the heart, at the base of the neck, at the wrist.  A tiny wearable vessel, it might then be described as a form of life support, a memory bridge, a circuit or conduit between past and present. In this case, Paxton’s lockets are re-contextualized and re-worked excisions from older paintings.  Ovals, though not the locket, are to be found in Wish Well's three remaining paintings.

With the exhibition Saint’s, Barbara Rehus creates her own series of icons inspired by her childhood fascination with saints and their stories.  Their tales were told to Rehus by nuns who believed her desire to hear the tragic, gory tales was fueled by piety.  Rehus’ painted portraits tenderly explore how people come to put faith and hope into objects and places in order to feel safe.  The risas used as coverings in the works protect not only the paintings, but the figures represented.  Standard saints accompany contemporary icons which place friends and family in their own risas, places where they’ve told the artist they feel safe.  The portraits of Saint’s are painted in acrylic on panel, each recessed within and cradled by a carved encaustic risa.

Maureen Paxton teaches in the Animation program at Sheridan College.  She also writes.  A past member of the Tarragon Theatre’s Playwrights Unit, she is currently at work on a novel, funded by a Works-in-Progress Grant from the Ontario Arts Council.

Barbara Rehus is a St. Catharines-based visual artist, working primarily as a sculptor and painter.  She holds two degrees from Cleveland State University, as well as accreditation from Toronto School of Art.  Her work has been shown in public and commercial galleries as well as artist-run centres throughout North America and Europe. Her work is included in numerous private collections.

September 25 – October 17, 2010
Reception: Saturday, September 25, 2-5 PM

Question & Answer Session: Saturday, Sept. 25, 3:45pm
At loop Gallery with Barbara Rehus and Maureen Paxton moderated by Antonia Lancaster

Canadian Art Gallery Hop stop at Loop Gallery at 3:20 pm on Saturday, September 25, 2010

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Question and Answer Session with Elizabeth Babyn and Linda Heffernan

There will be a question and answer session with Elizabeth Babyn and Linda Heffernan moderated by Catherine Beaudette on Saturday, September 18th, 3 PM at loop.

Elizabeth Babyn’s current body of work, titled Illumination, derives its inspiration from a selection of under painted images depicting sacred geometry, sacred places and sacred architecture on raw canvas. With spontaneous large gestural brush strokes, she allows her intuition to direct her as she navigates her way through the canvas.

Linda Heffernan’s Inadvertent Intervention is a series of paintings that explores the aesthetic beauty in the potential ramifications of extreme climate change by imagining satellite views of Canfield oceans.

Catherine Beaudette was born in Montréal, Québec and currently divides her time between Toronto, Ontario and Bonavista Bay, Newfoundland. Her practice stems from both places where she collects artifacts and specimens to form the basis of her drawings, paintings and installations. Catherine studied painting in Toronto and Florence, Italy and has exhibited her work in Canada since the mid '80’s. In 1998 she received an MFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Catherine is one of the founders of Loop Gallery. Catherine is an associate professor at The Ontario College of Art and Design.

Elizabeth Babyn's and  Linda Heffernan's exhibitions at loop Gallery run until Sunday September 19th.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Review of Linda Heffernan and Elizabeth Babyn on Artsync

Artsync features a review of Linda Heffernan and Elizabeth Babyn's work currently on display at Loop Gallery. Describing their paintings as "luminously layered and ethereal", the review of their show which "explores the theme of fragile and sacred places" can be read here.

A question and answer session with the artists and moderated by Catherine Beaudette will be held Saturday September 18th, at 3pm, the day before both shows end on the 19th.