Sunday, 18 November 2018

Le Salon des Refusés

“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are.”
- Dumbledore, Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets

The concept of the ‘Salon des Refusés’ has been a long-standing artistic tradition since the mid-1800s. The story goes that it started in Paris (but, of course...) when the Académie des Beaux Arts made its annual choices of which artists would be exhibited in the ‘official’ Paris Salon – and which would be rejected. Being chosen for the exhibit meant an artist had ‘arrived’, resulting in sales, commissions, and adulation. Being rejected meant, well, being rejected. Cue La Vie Bohème.

As an act of defiance, many of the rejected artists would hold their own alternative exhibit – Le Salon des Refusés – a lovely flip of the finger to the art establishment.

I can’t make any such boldly principled claims about the photos that didn’t make their way into HEART & SOUL – the exhibit that Bill and I have jointly mounted at the John M. Parrott Art Gallery here in Belleville. However, I did enjoy trolling through my reject files and choosing a few to include in this blog post. I hope you enjoy them too!

Seating, 1976 Olympic Pool, Montréal

Empties, Bay of Quinte Golf Club, Belleville

Sun Rise, VIA Station, Belleville

Abandoned Chair, Memory Junction, Brighton

Bank of Montreal, Toronto

Boaters, Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra, Australia

St. James Park, Toronto

Construction Signs, Montréal

Yonge and Dundas, Toronto

Royal Bank of Canada Headquarters, Toronto

If you’re in Belleville, please visit our exhibit – Bill’s quilts; my photographs. The exhibit runs until November 29. The gallery is closed Sundays.

There are two more artists’ talks scheduled:

Thursday, November 22, 6:30 pm-7:30 pm – I discuss my photographs
Thursday, November 29, 6:30 pm-7:30 pm – on the last night of the exhibit, Bill and I plan to discuss our joint and separate journeys.

Friday, 9 November 2018

Heart & Soul: Two Men Tell Their Stories

"What I have in my heart and soul must find a way out."
- Ludwig van Beethoven

Last night, Thursday, November 8, 2018, Heart & Soul: Two Men Tell Their Stories opened at the John M. Parrott Art Gallery, 254 Pinnacle Street, Belleville, Ontario, Canada. My husband, Bill Stearman, and I are sharing the exhibit. His quilts. My photographs.

The gallery was packed with relatives, friends, and well-wishers, including many quilters and photographers. There was an abundance of love in the room. A gently persuasive force for good. 

Thank you to all those who attended. The exhibit runs until Thursday, November 29th. The gallery is closed Sundays.

On Thursday, November 15, 6:30pm-7:30pm, Bill will present an artist's talk about his quilts. 

On Thursday, November 22, 6:30pm-7:30pm, I will present an artist's talk about my photographs. 

On Thursday, November 29, 6:30pm-7:30pm, Bill and I will present a joint artists' talk about our shared and separate journeys. 

Many thanks to Susan Holland, the gifted curator of the John M. Parrott Art Gallery, for her beautiful hanging of the show. Thanks also to Mike Gaudaur of Quinte Studios (link) for printing and framing my photographs. Mike's wife, Deanna, did all the beautiful quilting on Bill's quilts.  And a big shout-out to Richard Cournyea of Signal Brewery in Corbyville (link) for supplying the celebratory beer for the opening!

What follows are my photographs in the show, plus a link to a brief YouTube video about each.  Enjoy!

LINK  to my artist's statement

 "Bay of Quinte Dragon Boaters"

"Blue Canoe, Lisdillon, Tasmania"

"Graces Road, Huon Valley, Tasmania"

"West Bank, Moira River"

"National Gallery of Canada Woman"

"Bloomfield Chairs"

"Stewart Jones' Canoe, Wellington"

"Condo, Lower Simcoe Street, Toronto"

"Susan's Bowl"

"View from the High Line, New York City"

"Yonge/Dundas Square, Toronto"

"National Gallery Melbourne, 
Shilpa Gupta's 'Untitled - 2012-2015'"

"Biker, Waterfront Trail, Belleville"

"Wind Surfing, Outlet Bay"

"Bill Stearman, Sydney Opera House Quilt, 
Old Fort Henry"

"Patriotic Restroom, Watertown, New York"

""More Than The Sum..."
Janet Battaglio's Mannequins, Consecon"

"VIA Train #61, Shannonville"

Sunday, 4 November 2018

A Weekend in the Country...

We're off on our way
What a beautiful day
For a weekend in the country
How amusing
How delightfully droll
A weekend in the country
While we're losing
Our control
A weekend in the country
How enchanting
On the manicured lawns
A weekend in the country
With the panting
And the yawns
With the crickets and the pheasants
And the orchards and the hay
With the servants and the peasants
We'll be laying our plans while we're playing croquet
For a weekend in the country...

- “A Weekend in the Country”, from A Little Night Music,
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

The concept of ‘country life’ can vary wildly depending on your perspective. If you live on a farm, ‘country life’ is the background noise of your life. It’s home, but it’s no big deal. If you live on the 50th floor of a downtown Toronto condo tower, however, ‘country life’ can seem exotic and filled with romantic notions about getting away from it all.

Which brings me to the photo challenge theme for the October meeting of the Prince Edward County Photography Club: ‘Country Life’. I love these monthly photo challenges. Over the last three years, they have helped improve both my technique and my eye for composition. Now, the County is packed with beautiful photo opportunities – literally from sheep to goats with lots of wineries thrown in for good measure – and it would have been easy to have spent a pleasant day wandering the County’s back roads with my camera. But I like to push the envelope a bit to see how far I can stretch a theme’s possibilities, which means the photos below have nothing to do with the County.

Which leads me to A) the delightful road trip to Long Island that Bill and I took at the end of August; and B) the Sondheim "A Weekend in the Country" lyrics I’ve quoted above.

We drove to Long Island on our way to a dog-sitting gig for friends in the Hamptons, near the northeast tip of Long Island. Our friends, who live in a glorious Manhattan loft, also own a beautiful place ‘in the country,’ where we dog-sat. I suspect that knowing that they own this slice of paradise in the Hamptons helps them cope with the frantic pace of New York City.

For some wealthy Manhattanites, the Hamptons are their version of ‘the country’, albeit a crowded, over-landscaped, over-boutiqued version of the country. I loved exploring the area both with Bill and with our generous friends, but I don’t think I could ever live there. After all, with the Martha Stewart crowd owning beachfront mansions nearby, the real estate values alone are nose-bleedingly high.

There also seemed to me, as an engaged observer, that despite the natural beauty of the area, many of the ‘summer people’ were caught up in their Bentleys, their spas, and their shopping. I detected a palpable ennui in the air. A realization that you could leave the big city behind, but the chattering voices in your head had made the trip with you. And that’s the feeling I get whenever I listen to Stephen Sondheim’s brilliantly biting “A Weekend in the Country” from A Little Night Music. (Link)

So...I offer these ten photos – mostly from Long Island, plus one each from Connecticut and Massachusetts – as one version of ‘Country Life’. I used five of them as my contribution to the Prince Edward County Photography Club’s October theme challenge. Enjoy!

Pool Side Vista, East Hampton

LongHouse Reserve Sculpture Garden, East Hampton

Sylvester Manor Educational Farm, Shelter Island

LongHouse Reserve Sculpture Garden, East Hampton

LongHouse Reserve Sculpture Garden, East Hampton

Amtrak Acela Train, Bridgeport, Connecticut

"Idol" by Judith Shea
LongHouse Reserve Sculpture Garden, East Hampton

Tattoo Guy, P. T. Barnum Ferry

Port Jefferson Ferry Terminal, Long Island

Otis Poultry Farm Otis, Massachusetts

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Wanderings, Part 2: Newmarket

“Photography is an art of observation. It has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”

- Elliott Erwitt, Photographer (b 1928)

This is the second of two blog posts about wandering. Spoiler alert: there will likely be more in the future. After all, one of the great joys of photography for me is the simple act of wandering.

Newmarket: a dynamic community of 85,000 souls located 50-odd kilometres north of Toronto. It is an amalgam of ‘FOOFS’ – fine old Ontario families – and a real-estate-hungry influx of Toronto commuters. As they like to say in Newmarket, it’s the best of two worlds: close to the big city, while retaining the ambience of a small town. It is, after all, proud of its status as a town, not a city.

On Thanksgiving Saturday, Bill and I drove to Newmarket to have lunch with a quilting friend of Bill’s from Newfoundland. After a fine lunch at The Maid’s Cottage (recommended, by the way) on Main Street, I left Bill and his friend to talk quilts and life while I wandered the downtown core for an hour. What fun! It was a visual smorgasbord.

I hope you enjoy the resulting photos.