Juried Art Show
By its nature, a juried show is eclectic. In this exhibition there is work in every medium imaginable, from badger skulls to recycled wood, to paint and video, to photography and found objects — and there is work that explores a full range of subjects from landscape to portraiture to still life to social issues to memory and identity to the nature of paint and painting. I’m always amazed at how an open call juried show like this one – with so many unknowns and possibilities – seems to always come together into a cohesive, engaging and exciting exhibition.
This year’s jury was made up of three of Ontario’s most well respected artists and art gallery professionals:
Ivan Jurakic: Director/Curator at the University of Waterloo Art Gallery
John Kissick: Artist and Director of the School of Fine Art and Music at the U of Guelph
Dolleen Manning: Aboriginal Artist (grew up in Lambton County), who is also a curator and PhD Candidate at the Centre for Theory and Criticism at U of W.
Excerpt from Jury comments
Juried art exhibitions are an intriguing, sometimes frustrating yet hopefully eye opening process of discovery for both the juror and the juried. The central premise is that a team of artists, arts professionals or critics is invited to take part in an independent selections process to determine a slate of artworks to be included in an exhibition. In this case, it was a two-stage process. The first round took place externally with the jury considering and honing down a shortlist out of about 200 digital submissions. A second round followed a few weeks later on site at the Gallery to determine the 26 finalists that you see in the exhibition.
We agreed to focus on contemporary art and new media. We also agreed to include multiple submissions from single artists in the interest of expanding upon the reading of their work while hopefully enhancing what might otherwise appear to be an arbitrary group show. Although we playfully accused one another of attempting to curate the exhibition at times, as a jury we actively critiqued each submission, contrasted different artworks side-by-side and made tough decisions based on a mutual interest in putting together a cohesive selection.
Here then is what we believe to be a selection of fresh, striking artworks that approach materials and media in a tactile manner and evoke a keen awareness of their surroundings and context. Ideally, these artworks appeal to the here and now and reflect the aspirations and possibilities of this new downtown gallery as a vital arts incubator for Lambton County. Congratulations to all the artists who participated in the process.”
The jury was also charged with the responsibility of choosing a 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize. And so now I’d like to announce the winners – hopefully, they are here with us today.
3rd prize ($500): Patrick Stieber, Kitchener: Monuments – Highway 86
2nd prize ($1,000): Keith Shearsby, Brantford: Useful Things: Broken Spade with Prosthetic
1st prize ($1,500): Julia Vandepolder, Hillsburgh: Unveiling Folds
There is one more prize to be determined at the end of the show and that is the People’s Choice Award ($250).
Spotlight on Steve deBruyn
London based artist, Steve deBruyn’s submission to the JNAAG Juried Art Show included an installation for the three alcoves in the administration hallway — a proposal that, rather than conforming to the constraints of the location challenged the constructed space. This caught the attention of the jury. Instead of staying within the confines of the three, spatially restrictive cubes, deBruyn boldly chose to ‘colour outside the lines’ forcing us to re-interpret the architecture of the hallway.
deBruyn sees the built environment as a space that is ripe for creation and interpretation, as an opportunity to bring new connotations to public and social spaces. The gallery is not viewed as a restrictive white box into which art must fit, but rather as a platform for play — as an opportunity to challenge and experiment, offering new ways to understand and experience our constructed spaces. It was this approach to constructed public spaces that led the gallery to invite deBruyn to also transform the second floor lecture theatre and the Gurd meeting room.
Using common household and recycled materials is an important aesthetic decision for deBruyn. It’s not uncommon for pieces of wood to have a life span of six or seven years — years of being assembled and disassembled, painted and repainted, until they naturally find the end of their life. Paint, screws, wood, forms, all gain a sentimental and historic value over time.
List of artists included in the JNAAG Juried Art Show:
Lynne Kenneith Brodgen
M. Fleur-Ange Lamothe
Svava Thordis Julusson
Josepha Van Den Anker
Pearl Van Geest