Summer exhibitions are fine extracurricular activities for visual arts students

Students from the Department of Visual Arts, Faculty of Fine Arts, are exhibiting their work in group shows in Montreal and Toronto this summer.

Five graduate students were selected to represent York University in Fresh Paint, New Construction, an exhibition at Montreal’s Art Mûr gallery featuring the work of 25 up-and-coming artists from five universities in Ontario and Quebec. Closer to home, a group of undergraduate photography students has come together to mount an show called Wayfaring: Towards Answering A Call  at Gallery 1313 in Toronto’s West Queen West neighborhood.

Left: “Fox Truck and Slide” ink and watercolour by Catherine Lane (2008)

Now in its fourth year, Montreal’s annual Fresh Paint exhibition allows the next generation of visual artists to present their work in a highly professional context. This year, for the first time, the show encompasses sculpture, drawing and print media as well as painting. Students from Concordia University, University of Quebec at Montreal, Laval University, University of Ottawa and York University were invited to participate.

Masters students Lauren Goldman (painting), Catherine Lane (drawing), Stephanie Reynolds (painting), Kate McQuillen (print media) and Jaime Angelopoulos (sculpture) were selected for the quality of their work and also the diversity of their practice. What they have in common is a new and exciting approach to their artistic discipline.

Right: “Permiability” hemlock sculpture by Jaime Angelopoulos (2008)

York visual arts Professor Michel Daigneault was part of the Fresh Paint artist selection committee. “These young artists all show great eclecticism in their approach, insistence on the materiality of their work and a desire to occupy space in a non-traditional manner,” said Daigneault. “Despite the pluralism of the elements that make up their work, these young artists succeed in combining them within a rich and personal imaginary vocabulary.”

Fresh Paint, New Construction opened July 11 and runs to August 8 at Art Mûr, 5826 rue St-Hubert in Montreal.

While it’s certainly an honour to be selected to participate in a show like Fresh Paint, there is a special satisfaction to be gained by being out in the community making opportunities for yourself.

That’s what twelve enterprising third-year photography students from York are doing. Wayfaring: Towards Answering a Call is a collection of experimental works curated by two of the participating artists, Jessica Thalmann and Samantha Rodin, on display at Gallery 1313 in Toronto.

Left: “The Internet is My Cultural Heritage” colour print by Sara Cwynar

The title of the exhibition may be understood as the movement towards finding a niche in conceptual and aesthetic styles. The 12 artists explore their artistic personae as a rite of passage. The idea of answering a call contains a challenge, or dare, to pursue a trajectory of the artistic imagination. The works in the show reflect a consolidation of emergent stylistic elements while showcasing distinctive working methods.

"Congratulations to these talented and dedicated young photographers," said their instructor, visual arts faculty member James Gillespie. "Beyond excelling in the struggles of creation, they were determined to distill their works and correlate them stylistically for this exhibition. From finding a venue to curating and installing the show, these students have shown great initiative in making Wayfaring a reality. I know that gallery visitors will be surprised by what they see. It’s well worth a visit for anyone in Toronto with an interest in photo-media art.”

Right: “Projections (Harry) 1” colour print by Jessica Thalmann (March 2009)

“The idea for the exhibition grew out of the bond our class developed during our year together in the studio,” said Thalmann. “James has always been supportive of our passion and commitment to photography, and this exhibition couldn’t have come together without his guidance. It’s been a fantastic learning experience for us, and I hope it increases the visibility of York visual arts in the Toronto art community.”

Along with Thalmann and Rodin, the featured artists are Sara Cwynar, Katie Fife, Mark Francis, Sara Langford, Rachel Regina, Annandi Merhai, Anna Standish, Naomi Toth, Robert Walsh, and Judy Zhong.

Wayfaring: Towards Answering a Call opens July 22 and will be on view to Aug. 1 at Gallery 1313, located at 1313a Queen St. West. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 1 to 6pm.