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From Standpoint to Viewpoint: The Prism of Harmony 

An exhibition of paintings by three Canadian artists: Gayle Dempsey, Greg Hindle, and Kenneth G. Mills
Curated by Jennifer Murphy

March 29 – April 16, 2023
Opening Reception: Saturday, April 1, 1 – 4 pm
Online Artist Talk: Saturday, April 15, 2 – 4 pm
Free Eventbrite Registration

As we are confronted with a tide of events roaring through the news as “pandemic” and “climate change,” we are faced with increasing polarization in our viewpoints on issues that threaten our way of life. We are confronted with the need to find a harmonious standpoint, to engage the work that must be done to ensure the safety and well-being of those we love, the beautiful jewel we call home, and the myriad communities who share it with us.

Each artist in this exhibition has brought the necessary ingredients for building a foundation, a new standpoint. The primary ingredient, harmony, is intangible, yet the very stuff from which the art is made. There is a common resonance as each artist extends light, colour, and space for the viewer to find harmony.

Group Statement

The narrative paintings of Greg Hindle frequently address the degradation of the environment, greed, and social isolation. They present choices to be made and the hope of a better future, providing the opportunity to see from a different standpoint. His landscapes present an environment in which we strive to live in harmony with nature, through the use of clear, unmuddied colour and lyrical composition.

Gayle Dempsey’s soulful, abstracted landscape paintings are based on her deep roots and connection to the land and lakes of her native Muskoka. Her work addresses the threats faced by the landscapes of her home, always acknowledging its resilient spirit. It captures insights into Indigenous teachings and traditions while avoiding appropriation. One senses that her paintings are biographical, always expressing acknowledgement and appreciation of her relationships with Indigenous friends, colleagues, and community.

It is through the use of vivid colour, negative space, scale, and challenging perspective that the floral canvases of Kenneth G. Mills offer an opportunity to see from a new viewpoint. Mills avoids pedantry and invites inquiry; thus his florals may challenge viewers’ anthropocentrism with an invitation to consider the meaning of the bee’s flight to the centre of a flower. When once asked, “Is the function of the artist to make things unfamiliar? ” Kenneth Mills replied, “The function of the artist is to reveal what isn’t familiar about the familiar.”

These works are distinctive but work in harmony. It is not by chance that each artist is a musician. The musical term “fermata” means to pause on a note, giving the listener a moment to appreciate it. Like a fermata, these works invite the viewer to take a pause, to appreciate that painting is about seeing, and seeing is about understanding. It is through understanding that we find harmony. The exhibition challenges us to find the resonance that unites these works; when we meet the challenge, a unifying tone can be recognized. We are not separate from it. It is the ineffable source from which this art springs — Wonder and Harmony. 

Biographies

Gayle Dempsey, a fourth-generation Muskokan, is an award-winning artist who feels a deep connection to the spirit of the land, the lakes, the natural beauty and the peace that is Muskoka. Capturing the soul of a place in acrylic and oil, Gayle’s work connects with her roots. Loose underpaintings give way to structural details as her passion is revealed. Gayle is passionate about promoting community through the arts. She is a co-founder of Muskoka Chautauqua and her contributions to the arts in Muskoka has received grateful recognition from her community. She has exhibited widely and currently is opening a 2023 solo show at Toronto’s Arts and Letters Club on April 2, 2023.

Greg Hindle A.O.C.A  is an honours graduate of the Ontario College of Art in Toronto. He was awarded an assistantship for a graduate year of study in Florence, Italy, where he attended classes at the Accademia di Belle Arti and the British Institute of Florence. He joined the faculty of the Ontario College of Art in 1980, where he taught drawing and painting for over 25 years. He has also taught workshops for many Ontario arts organizations, including Visual Arts Mississauga, Waterloo Community Art Centre, Neilson Park Creative Centre, and the McMichael Gallery. Since 2007, he has led ‘en plein air’ painting workshops with Muskoka Chautauqua as Artist in Residence. He has led painting excursions along the French River, Hudson Valley, New York and Tuscany. Greg is Artist-in-Residence at the Gibson Cultural Centre in Alliston, Ontario, where he paints and provides mentoring to developing artists. Greg’s artwork is included in Canadian and international collections. He has been featured in Canadian and US publications and in a coffee table book titled An Artist’s and Photographer’s Guide to Wild Ontario, published by Boston Mills Press.

Recognized as a “Renaissance Man”, the career of Kenneth G. Mills spanned all of the arts: music, drama, poetry, fashion design, and architecture. His accomplishments were recognized internationally. For example in Canada, he was named the 1997 Prime Mentor of Canada. In 1998 the Senate of Canada recognized him with an Award of Excellence for Outstanding Achievement in Humanities, Education, Philosophy and Arts. Wolfe’s University awarded him an Honorary Doctorate in 1998. It was not until he was in his 70s that Dr. Mills began to paint; he was delighted to discover an immediate, intuitive connection with that form of expression. Outstanding among the many who recognized his skill as a painter was an associate of Salvador Dali, the Canadian artist Timothy Phillips, who saw symbolic, historic, and metaphysical significance in the work. Dr. Mills exhibited in both Canada and the U.S. and his work is held in private collections in both countries. When asked, “Is the function of the artist to make things unfamiliar?” Dr. Mills replied, “The function of the artist is to reveal what isn’t familiar about the familiar.”

Jennifer Murphy is an award-winning artist with solo and group exhibition history in the US, Brazil, and Canada. She has curated shows in New York and Ontario and has over 20 years of teaching experience. In 2010 she was awarded a certificate as Artist-Educator Level II by The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto.

Sponsored by The Kenneth G. Mills Foundation

Special thanks to our community partners, donors, and supporters. 

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