Union Gallery

Image of the Gallery

MAin Space

Rebecca Anweiler, Shayne Dark, Ben Darrah, Dave Gordon,
Alana Kapell, Frances Leeming, Don Maynard, Harry Symons,
Scott Wallis, Robert Wiens
June 27 - August 7, 2009
Opening Reception: June 26th, 7-9p

The Union Gallery presents Conflux, an exhibition that brings together a selection of Kingston’s established artists who are participating in a pilot project entitled, Art Shift: an Intergenerational project for creative exchange and professional development for artists. This project pairs local emerging artists with established artists in a mentorship program. It is designed to assist emerging artists in building their art practice through the development of practical and critical skills, further strengthening the artistic culture of the city. Diverse in materials, methods, and conceptual approach, the works in this exhibition offer a glimpse into the high level of accomplishment and the range of contemporary art produced in the region and serves as a meeting place and point of departure for the mentorship component of the program. Emerging artist participants include Jenny Brown, Ann Elmberg-Wright, Erin Milliken, Catherine Toews, and Kaethe Yanovsky.

The Union Gallery gratefully acknowledges support for this project from the Ontario Arts Council Visual and Media Arts Grant program, and the City of Kingston Arts Fund Project Grant program.

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Rebecca Anweiler
Rebecca Anweiler, Storm Bird II, oil on canvas, 2008

Rebecca Anweiler

Storm birds are believed by the aboriginal peoples of different continents to foreshadow coming storms by their calls or behaviour. There are many eyewitness accounts of birds and animals migrating before seismic waves, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, thereby remaining unharmed by these catastrophic events. Western science does not accept the idea of a ’sixth sense’, believing instead that animals and birds have more highly developed, but known, sensory perceptions that pick up vibrations or changes in atmospheric pressure or magnetic fields to foretell coming catastrophes in a way that humans are not able to. Nonetheless, they remain unable to explain within the framework of known forms of communication the everyday extraordinary behaviour of starlings in synchronized flight.

Much of my work has involved subverting scientific bias and exposing the limitations of that field to acknowledge or incorporate research that requires a reinvention or major overhaul of existing theory. My wonder at rare experiences and terrifying acts are the defining qualities of historic attempts to paint both the horror and harmony of the visual experience of nature.

Rebecca Anweiler has a MFA in Painting from Concordia University (2000) and has received numerous awards for her work including both Canada Council and Ontario Arts Council Grants. She has taught Drawing and Painting at Concordia University, the University of Lethbridge, Alberta, and Queen’s University, Kingston. Anweiler exhibits regularly in Kingston, Toronto and Montreal, and her paintings are in many private and several public collections including the City of Toronto, the University of Lethbridge and the Agnes Etherington Art Centre.

Shayne Dark
Shayne Dark, Untitled, wood, 2009

Shayne Dark
My work results from a rhythmic and organic process involving ideas, feelings, images, formal play, and structural necessity. Every aspect of the process has the potential to hold meaning, to draw upon and focus our general physical and perceptual experience of the world.

All my work is driven by the character of the material, but, essential as that physical aspect is, it is not the sculpture. For me, the sculpture lies somewhere between its clear identity as a physical thing and its psychological aspect, all that it suggests, evokes, resembles or aligns with. It is the embodiment of thoughts, feelings and attitudes.

Shayne Dark has exhibited widely both nationally & internationally, represented by Galerie Art Mûr in Montréal and the Edward Day Gallery in Toronto. He has recieved many international awards and honours, including winning an upcoming public art competition: a permanent site-specific sculpture installation for X - The Condominium public art project at Charles and Jarvis St in downtown Toronto scheduled for installation in the spring of 2010. Dark is currently working toward upcoming exhibitions at the The Robert McLaughlin Art Gallery in Oshawa, Ontario and the Tom Thompson Art Gallery in Owen Sound, Ontario.

Ben Darrah
Ben Darrah, Site, acrylic on cotton, 2008

Ben Darrah
Site is a part of a series of works that talk about the construct of Canada – as a country that includes wilderness as a self-identifying feature, but is also a combination of mnemonic devices that should trigger the viewer’s associations and memories – the experiences that are used in our self-identification. Just as paintings create an illusion to evoke an experience; our relationship with nature is always filtered through some form of mediation. I am interested in the manner of mediation and the (hopefully) poetic implications of this mediation.

Ben Darrah works in a range of media, including painting, assemblage, installation, print and photography. In addition to teaching, Darrah curates and writes about art. Darrah has a BFA degree from the University of Alberta, (1987, sculpture), a Master of Fine Arts Degree, (painting) from the University of Windsor in 1995, and, in 2008, a Bachelor of Education at Queen’s University. He has been exhibiting in solo and group shows locally and extraregionally since 1995, and is represented by Gallery at 129 Ossington in Toronto.

Dave Gordon
Dave Gordon, 7 Sparrows, acrylic on canvas, 2004

Dave Gordon
I paint watercolours and acrylic paintings. I have also used photography, found objects and text in my work. Since the late 90’s, in three different studios, I have made landscape paintings with other elements added in a ‘cut and paste’ sort of way.
The Spirit of Walt Whitman at Bon Echo had a large image of the poet’s disembodied head floating in the Bon Echo woods. The added elements are a way to give some extra punch and depth to the painting. My 2008 painting Chicken Weather #1 depicted a rural landscape: a field with a road and telephone poles, but the cloud in the sky above the pastoral scene took the shape of a rubber chicken. The painting 7 Sparrows is taken from a photo of the woods near Frontenac Park with the cutout silhouettes of the birds added to the image like notes on a page of music.

Dave Gordon graduated from the University of Western Ontario in 1966. He is a founding member of the Forest City Gallery in 1973 and of the Modern Fuel ARC (formerly K.A.A.I.) in 1976 and the Kingston School of Art. He has taught fine art at St. Lawrence College. His work is in the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, Museum London, the Agnes Etherington Art Gallery, the MacIntosh Gallery, U.W.O. and the Canada Council Art Bank, and private collections.

Alana Kapell
Alana Kapell, Rodney and Rope, mixed media, 2007

Alana Kapell
Rodney and Rope is part of a body of work done from art residencies in Newfoundland where I was introduced to the aesthetic and history of nautical knots.

I had the privilege of studying with one of Canada’s great colourists, Ted Godwin at the University of Regina, who said, “Whether an artist chooses to pursue landscape, still life, the figure, or whatever else, these are all just vehicles that serve to carry the real subject matter: paint.” In reference to my work, no matter what my subject matter, my prime inspiration has always been colour. Having been influenced by the New York abstract expressionist scene, my basic training was in abstract art. Upon leaving Saskatchewan I concentrated on photo realistic art subjects to improve my technique. Currently I delight in the spontaneity of laying down colour, of playing with light and texture, of arriving at a composition that works on a gut level, with a mixed medium approach. The visceral quality and scent of encaustic medium appeals in its sensuality, unpredicability and earthiness, which I also combine with digital photography, and the mosaic becomes integral to the encaustic panel. Infuenced by the cultural climate of Newfoundland, textile work though rug hooking has developed into my work. My work combines craft and fine art, with papier mache, fabrics and clay. Each work is a journey, beginning in intuition and allowing intellet to decipher the end meaning.

Alana Kapell has been a practicing artist since 1971, exhibiting at Brock Street Gallery and teaching at St. Lawrence College and Queen’s University. Kapell has taught nationally, most recently in Newfoundland, and has done several artist residencies. She is a founding director of both the Organization of Kingston Women Artists and the Kingston School of Art, has been on the board of directors for Modern Fuel Artist-Run Centre. Currently exhibiting locally at Gallery Raymond, Kingston and the Kingston Marine Museum, Alana has exhibited nationally and is in collections of Agnes Etherington Art Center, the Peterborough Art Gallery, the Mayo Clinic, and the Canadian Embassy in Russia.

Frances Leeming
Frances Leeming, Genetic Admiration, film still, 2005

Frances Leeming
Media artist Frances Leeming’s performance and film projects explore the relationship between gender, technology and consumerism. “With her collage animation
Genetic Admiration, Frances Leeming has given us a work of dark humour and rare visual pleasure. It is replete with images drawn from the high modernity of the 20th century: representations of the nuclear family, of “fun centres” such as fairgrounds and midways, of iconic Hollywood heartthrobs, and finally of science as the new god - or at least with god-like powers. Her technique - which is more Hannah Hoch and John Heartfield than Photoshop - never smoothes the seams of the cuts that allow her flattened figures and landscapes to move about. It is precisley these visible “cuts” that produce the suture effect permeating the work. It is here - in the inevitable and unhealed suture - that Leeming shows us the reversal of modernism’s 20th century”. Lisa Steele, Creative Director, Vtape. (from publication “Genetic Admiration : a collage animation by Frances Leeming”, by Vtape, 2005)

Leeming’s work has been presented and exhibited across Canada, the U.S., Britain, Poland, Cuba and Italy. Genetic Admiration (2005) won the grand prize at Images Festival in Toronto and was nominated for Best Animation at the Syracuse International Film and Video Festival. Her experimental film work is featured in Jackie Stacey’s The Cinematic Life of The Gene, forthcoming ( Duke University Press) Jennifer Fisher’s Technologies of Intuition (YYZ/MAWA/DISPLAY CULT, 2006) and her performance history appears in Johanna Householder and Tanya Mars, ed.Caught in the Act -An Anthology of Performance Art by Canadian Women (YYZ Books, 2004). Leeming teaches in the Department of Film and Media, Queen’s University, Kingston.

Don Maynard
Don Maynard, Folded Space, mixed media, 2002

Don Maynard
My work frequently addresses political and environmental concerns, such as environmental degradation and its political ramifications, and human rights issues.

I often use industrial materials to create works that address these ideas and issues. My practice involves utilizing the detritus of the modern world; I transform the cast-off material of society into work that makes reference to nature and natural phenomena. I am interested in light and the manipulation of space and form and am drawn to the aesthetic qualities intrinsic in the materials I use, so that in my work the materials have meaning in themselves both aesthetically and conceptually.

Born in Toronto in 1955 Don Maynard has exhibited across Canada and internationally. His work is in the collection of The Department of Foreign Affairs, the University of Toronto and the Canada Council Art Bank. He was the subject of a half hour segment of “Adrienne Clarkson Presents” produced by the CBC in 1998.

Harry SymonsHarry Symons, Time Travels: Forays and escapades through Kingston's Master Cultural Plan, Mixed Media, 2009

Harry Symons
My recent sculptural work has been an exploration of possibilities – a playful approach to melding notions of mapping with interpreting abstractions in a concrete form. But it is a work in progress and, as such, it is as much about a creative process as creating a particular final form. Working with a simple set of elements lent itself well to the notion of an imagined collective and repetitive exercise – something that is in flux to be built up over time. Its current form reflects a visual residue of sorts as I freely explored the realm of ideas that I imagined to be related to the subject of Kingston’s Master Cultural Plan. In my forays into the subject, I approached diverging opinions more as a dance than a battle and I was always mindful of the fact that as I tried to develop this form in such a way as to somehow better reflect the development of an idea, there will always be the possibility that these current efforts might someday be buried as the piece evolves. Time will tell.

Harry Symons graduated with a B.F.A. Honours from the University of Manitoba in 1982 and went on to receive a Master’s of Fine Arts from the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design in 1986, and has lived in Montreal and Winnipeg before moving to Kingston in 2005. He has exhibited nationally, most recently at the Sandra Whitton Gallery in Kingston, and has received support from both the Manitoba Arts Council and the Canada Council.

Scott Wallis
Scott Wallis, Untitled P.905, mixed media, 2009

Scott Wallis
Wallis’ new mixed media work combines the rigorous design and craft standards of Minimalism with a restrained charm and intimate scale. These relatively small constructions are made up of precisely fabricated cavities, employing an array of materials such as brass, aluminum and galvanized metal. Set into and beneath paper cut to an exacting match, the assembled work reveals a group of apertures inserted into the field of a white sheet, its surface painted only enough to pick out the shape and hue of the materials below. The enigmatic play of color and light generates an intimacy that lures the viewer into a closer inspection, exciting a need to get more information, more facts, on how the object works. Indebted to the legacy of Minimalism, especially the work of Don Judd, they depart from the theatricality of large installations while retaining the same interest in an expanded, activated space. Wallis’ work elicits movement, an engagement that enlivens the field of vision by their subtle response to light and architecture. Surprisingly complex and disarmingly simple, this new work offers a rare fusion aesthetic austerity and playful charm.

Scott Wallis has been exhibiting since 1994 and has received numerous awards including Canada Council and Ontario Arts Council artist creation grants. He has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions nationally and is represented in Toronto by the David Kaye Gallery.

Robert Wiens
Robert Wiens, Sugar Maple, watercolour, 2005 Coutesy of the Susan Hobbs Gallery, Toronto

Robert Wiens
Sugar Maple is a four part watercolour painting depicting the trunk of a maple tree as seen from each of the cardinal compass points. Drawn from photographic source material, each view of the tree is cropped and rendered in full scale. The work is part of an on-going project of documentation, one which is intended to form a representation of the various native tree species of the eastern North American forest.

Since 1978 the work of Robert Wiens has been presented in solo and group exhibitions internationally in Los Angeles, London, Amsterdam, Bologna and New York. In Canada he has exhibited at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; The Power Plant, Toronto; The Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; The Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge; Oakville Galleries, Oakville; The Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina; The Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Kingston; and The Art Gallery of York University, Toronto. Since 1997 his work has been concerned primarily with environmental issues; native trees being the principal subject matter of this work. He is represented by Susan Hobbs Gallery, Toronto.