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EVOLVE

A Group show featuring works by
Eva Ennist, Chung-Im Kim, Judy Martin, Liz Menard, Loree Ovens and Saskia Wassing
Organized by Loree Ovens

September 14 – October 2, 2022 | Online to November 2nd | Opening Reception: Saturday, September 17, 2 – 5 pm

Evolve is a glimpse into the world of six resilient female artists who continue to show ingenuity and strength through their creative practice. To evolve is to constantly learn, adapt and take on challenges. Resolutions are found, perfected and the evolution continues.

EVA ENNIST

Almost overnight, our concept of shelter became more primal than it was prior to the outset of the pandemic of early 2020. Those without it are increasingly vulnerable. Many, many others are dealing with the base-level challenges that the rest of the animal kingdom has always faced during an upheaval: to find, to build anew or simply hang on to what they have.

Fundamentally, shelter is safety – from the elements and from others. This security creates a place for hope and confidence. A stable place to nurture and be nurtured.The encaustic / mixed media pieces in the Shelter series reference various structures created by birds, insects, animals and humans. They are densely layered with textiles, leaves and found scraps – fragile materials fused into a temporary stability

BIO
Building on her background in textiles which she studied at the Ontario College of Art, Eva Ennist has continued to explore a range of art disciplines including papermaking, concrete sculpture, bronze casting, metal arts, encaustic painting, and printmaking. Her extensive travels in North and Central America, Europe and Southeast Asia and her participation in international residence programs continue to have a significant influence on her artwork.

Ennist’s work in encaustic painting, mixed media assemblage and sculpture has been exhibited in public and private galleries and artist-run centres in Canada and abroad. Her work is included in many private and corporate collections and she has been awarded numerous grants to create and exhibit her work.

Ennist was a faculty member at OCAD University in Toronto for over 30 years, teaching a variety of courses in the Material Art & Design Program. She has found great satisfaction in leading workshops for students at all levels, from grade one to seniors. Ennist retired from teaching to pursue a full-time art practice in 2013. She lives and works in beautiful Prince Edward County.

CHUNG-IM KIM

Certain forms found in the natural world fascinate me a great deal as they exemplify the fundamental rules of pattern making in design and reveal the structural secrets through their architecture. This essential understanding stimulates my imagination towards building a complex undulating surface with both regular and irregular modules.  The role of mathematical thinking in my work is as inevitable as that of nature itself.  Ideally, I would like to portray a coherent philosophy rooted in both nature and science, yet I would contrarily also like to shake up their logic in the hope that my work might transcend my current knowledge.  Or perhaps be allowed to become more spontaneous and less predictable.

At the same time, in my mind, the modules represent certain growths or changes brought about through passages of time.  I imagine them symbolizing the fragments of memories that we experience through our conscious/unconscious journeys.  Through them I want to explore the chaotic order resulting from many small pieces containing image fragments. I would like to see each of the parts as an independent soul presenting unique power and energy that then together become an entity as cells to a body. I hope to evoke the birthing tension when all are gathered.

BIO

Chung-Im Kim was born in Seoul, Korea and received an MFA at Seoul Women’s University in Korea.  Kim had taught textile courses in Seoul and also worked as a freelance designer for the textile industry and illustrator for Children’s magazine until she immigrated to Canada in 1990.  Since then She has been a resident in the Textile Studio at Harbourfront Centre and a freelance designer for over fifteen years.  Kim also taught in the Textiles department at OCAD University from 1997 until she retired as an associate professor in 2021. 

She has been working solidly to find a balance between her interests in design, art, and education.  During her teaching period, Kim conducted fifteen collaborative course projects with many different institutions such as Baycrest, Toronto Western Hospital, Ontario Science Centre, and Women’s Shelter.  Kim appreciated the opportunity to connect with communities through the course projects, teaching and her own artistic interests while incorporating nature, science and medicine.  Kim also produced many commissioned works around the world creating felt sculptures for public buildings. Kim has exhibited her work nationally and internationally including in Canada, Korea, the United States, England, Holland, Belgium, Australia, France, and Italy.  Currently, Kim’s two large wall sculptures are in the travelling group exhibition ‘AE 5’ at Poikilo Museum, Finland 2021, TAMAT Museum, Belgium 2022, Dronniglund Kunstcenter, Denmark in fall 2022, and the Textilmuseum Krefeld, Germany in summer 2023.

JUDY MARTIN

I made three new hand-stitched pieces with circular motifs for this group exhibition.  

Each circle began at its outer edge with the most basic of stitches, the running stitch.  This simple stitch was continued round and round inside the circle, with each stitch carefully placed to line up with the one in the previous row, and the size of the stitches gradually decreasing as the work progressed towards the centre.  The concentration and repetition required by this way of working put me into a kind of trance.  It’s hard to explain but I also felt cared for by the slow work, as if I were hugging myself.  

Stitching as a way of mark-making is time-consuming and sensuous.  The maker’s hands touch the cloth repeatedly and create a surface that others yearn to touch.  The use of touch and the amount of meditative time contained in hand-stitched art has a mystic and healing power for me.    

credits: traditional Indian kantha (chatai wheels), the Japanese Nui Project, the whirling devotional dance of the poet and Sufi priest, Rumi.    

BIO
Canadian artist Judith E. Martin combines traditional hand stitch, local natural dyes and used domestic textiles to connect us poetically with our own interior worlds. 

Her large format textiles are included in several Ontario public art collections (Sudbury, Thunder Bay, Cambridge) as well as the International Quilt Museum in the USA and the Canada Council Art Bank.  Martin has exhibited her work internationally and holds two BA degrees in fine art; one from Canada (Lakehead 1993 chancellor’s medal) and one from the UK (Middlesex 2012 first class honours).  

The artist grew up on a large rural property in North Western Ontario ten miles from anywhere and believes that the solitude of long summers is how she discovered the inner dream world that is her subject.  For the last thirty years, Judy and her husband have continued to live far from the urban on Manitoulin Island in the Great Lake Huron.  

LIZ MENARD

Our relationship to nature shapes our sense of place and sense of self. It reflects us as a society and individuals. Watersheds are living entities with richly layered histories, narratives and morphologies. Like our climate, watersheds are experiencing change. Development has created fragmented ecologies, loss of connectivity and marginalized habitat, which threatens our environment.  I’m drawn to Toronto’s richly layered histories, narratives and morphologies and moments in time that present themselves as I wander and explore Toronto’s urban and natural environments. Protecting habitat, preserving ecosystems and sustaining biodiversity is critical. There is much to lose. I remain cautiously optimistic, as so far nature has proven resilient.  

BIO

Liz Menard is a printmaker, book and installation artist and arts educator who lives and works in Toronto, Ontario.  Recurring themes in Menard’s work include our relationship to nature and how that shapes our sense of place and sense of self.  Menard is curious about how these relationships reflect us as a society and as individuals. Menard has received many awards and fellowships.  Her exhibition record includes solo and group exhibitions throughout Canada, the United States, Europe and Asia.  Menard’s work is held in public, private and corporate collections.

LOREE OVENS

During the pandemic I began painting a new body of work combining my need to be surrounded in nature and healthy environments. Inspired by lush gardens, folk art and remote ‘travels’ through books and digital media, I find the process of creating my imaginary foliage paintings enjoyable and meditative.

The works are on Heritage Washi (handmade Japanese paper) that has been created by traditional techniques to the highest standards. This involved process is a sustainable practice and produces archival paper. I have used washi in my work for over twenty-five years and it never fails to inspire me.

BIO
Loree Ovens studied Fashion Technique and Design at Holland College. She also received an arts diploma at Sheridan College, SOCAD, majoring in fabrics and earned a BFA in Printmaking from OCADU.

Loree works in a variety of media, as a printmaker she creates works on paper that are reminiscent of old documents, aged textiles or barkcloth. She specializes in intaglio techniques; especially etching, aquatint, drypoint and collagraph. She works with Japanese Washi in both printmaking and painting. Often combining the use of surface design techniques for textiles, Loree’s fascination with line, pattern, and architecture continue to inspire her work. Loree has shown in national and international exhibitions in Canada, Japan, the United States, Taiwan, Australia and Scotland. Her work is part of both private and public collections including the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, National Bank, Art Gallery of New South Wales and SGC International.

SASKIA WASSING

My textile narratives joyfully express the imagined and the fanciful. They are grounded and intertwined with my observations, experiences and memories. My family lives across the globe, I take comfort in celebrating the connections to the people and places that I love and cherish. Birds capture my imagination with their colourful plumage, habitats & habits, often becoming playful characters in my work, the NZ Fantail is a favourite. 

My process starts by drawing, and collecting my ideas and observations in sketchbooks. I then use my basic domestic sewing machine as a drawing tool. I stitch freely, embroidering onto a layered textile ground, building up with thread the images, patterns & textures that communicate my colourful textile narrative.

BIO

Saskia Wassing is an artist trained in Embroidered & Woven Textiles at the Glasgow School of Art, Scotland. Originally from England, Saskia came to live in Toronto more than 25 years ago. She has exhibited her work extensively over the years, most recently at the Toronto Outdoor Art Fair in July. She creates original embroidered works that communicate her joyful textile narratives inspired by past experiences, memory, connection, and personal identity.

Photos from Opening Reception on Saturday, October 17, 2022

Gallery tour video

Special thanks to our community partners and sponsors. 

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