October 13 – 31, 2021
TOUCH (a way of knowing) gathers together 11 of the many talented material-based artists from the former David Kaye Gallery. Experiments with textiles, print-making, woodcarving, ceramics, silversmithing, and mixed media create art that is nuanced and tactile.
- Dorothy Caldwell
- Kai Chan
- Ann Cummings
- Susan Farquhar
- Vivienne Jones
- Susan Warner Keene
- Valerie Knapp
- Susan Lindsay
- Susan Low-Beer
- Lynne Mcllvride
- Loree Ovens
Opening Reception: Sunday, Oct. 17: 1 to 7 pm at Propeller Gallery, 30 Abell St.
Health and Safety: a maximum of 12 people will be permitted in the gallery at a time. Masks are required.
Dorothy Caldwell is a graduate of Tyler School of Art, in Philadelphia and maintains an active international teaching and exhibition schedule from her studio in Hastings, Ontario. She has carried out research projects in Japan, and India, and has worked “on-site” in the Australian outback, Newfoundland, and the Canadian Arctic. She is the recipient of Canada Council grants and other awards including the Saidye Bronfman Award. Her work is included in permanent and private collections including the American Museum of Art and Design, New York, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Canadian Museum of History, Hull, Quebec, International Quilt Museum and Study Centre, University of Nebraska, and the Canadian Department of External Affairs, Ottawa, among others.
“My work investigates how people mark the land and how we come to know “place”. I am interested in patterns of settlement and how land is structured by humans and by nature. Several years ago, a friend introduced me to the work “Ecotone”. An ecotone is an area where contrasting ecosystems butt up against one another and meet. This creates energetic space….the line where meadow meets forest, the transition of land to water, the active movement of tree lines shifting…
The works exhibited in Touch have a sense of boundaries, edges, and the meeting of two distinct communities. The works are made with earth pigments found, and collected in several remote locations.”
Kai Chan has received numerous grants from Canada Council and Ontario Arts Council and awards including the Jean A. Chalmers National Crafts Award (1998) and the Saidye Bronfman Award for Excellence in the Fine Crafts (2002). His solo exhibition at the Textile Museum of Canada will open in the fall of 2010. “Rainbow Lakes”a solo exhibition originated from the Art Gallery of Mississauga, Mississauga, London Museum and Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery, Owen Sound, Ontario, touring to Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery, Halifax, Nova Scotia; Art Gallery of Peterborough, Peterborough, Ontario; Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge, Alberta and Illingworth Kerr Gallery, Calgary, Alberta and the Art Gallery of Sudbury, Sudbury, Ontario (2001-2003) “Kai Chan: A Spider’s Logic – a 35-Year Retrospective Exhibition” originated by Textile Museum of Canada and Varley Art Gallery of Markham in 2010, toured to Musée d’art de Joliette, Juiette, Québec; Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; Cambridge Art Gallery, Cambridge, Ontario and St. Mary University Art Gallery, Halifax, Nova Scotia ( 2010-2012 )
“Starting from a Zero” is an attempt to create something new. I was experimenting with a spool of very fine wire and liked the way it could loop into small circles (zeros). This led me to use knitting and crocheting for the construction. In the end, the work is made up of a lot of “0”s.”
Ann Cummings has been working with clay for 50 years. “It’s a big part of my life. I studied fine arts in University but my real education is my curiosity and stamina for working through problems. When I say problems ceramics has many. It is by far a difficult medium, as what you see is not necessarily what you get after the firing, In all that time, I have become very interested in ceramic objects and history, especially English ceramics that are strangely sculptural and narrative. These are found mostly in the 18th century and from Staffordshire and especially Darby ware. I also collect ceramic objects which is the real reason I make sculpture rather than domestic objects. After so many years of making looking and learning about ceramic objects I find that it has given real meaning for me and I intend to never stop.”
“I have made domestic pots and love doing them, but my recent work has become more sculptural and narrative. The work in this show is about what I see around me. I live in the woods on a lake and the natural world, plants, animals and trees are what surrounds me. Mostly I enjoy putting together strange and disparate parts in unusual ways so that although on first look the work looks somewhat enchanting, but on looking closer there is often a darker side.”
Susan Farquhar received her Fine Arts degree from York University and studied lithography with a master printer at Open Studio in Toronto. She printed lithographs and etchings at Novak Graphics a publisher of international and local artists until 1989. Susan and her partner Robert Game started Atelier GF and continued in professional fine art printing until 2013. They produced fine art prints for Canadian and American artists as well as the John Lennon and Miles Davis estates. Susan has exhibited her own work in Alberta, Ontario and Newfoundland. She had solo exhibits with Ferneyhough Contemporary in North Bay and David Kaye Gallery in Toronto. Susan was awarded the Artist in Residence at the Women’s Art Association of Canada for 2018 – 2019 where she conducted printmaking workshops, gallery visits, a group print show and created WHERE IS WILD a solo exhibit considering animal life intersecting digital technology.
“Visual ideas about the physical environment and at times its stories have concerned me for a long time. My preoccupations have evolved a process-driven approach; layers of texture, colour, repeated pattern, paper-cuts and coarse mark making. In 2019 Kangaroo Island and other parts of Australia suffered catastrophic fires at an unprecedented scale. Photos of the destruction and slow recovery of land and people have driven a series of paper works I call “Are We Epicormic?” I express my hope of rebirth by recreating in paper bits of burnt, blackened destruction where close examination reveals new life beginning.
The land is altered, almost destroyed by fire but slowly growth appears. What part do I play? Am I epicormic?”
Originally from Wales, Vivienne Jones is a graduate of the Birmingham School of Jewellery and Silversmithing in Britain. Vivienne has maintained a studio practice as a contemporary jeweller in Toronto since the 1980s. She has exhibited extensively and sold her work across Canada and beyond. Vivienne explores a range of materials, both precious and non-precious. She has expanded her practice in recent years to include explorations of the non-wearable and sculptural form.
Through art and craftwork we express aesthetic values, individuality, as well as a sense of connectedness. In making her work Vivienne is exploring these ideas, interweaving material and form, nature and the human experience. Vivienne is an elected member of the Royal Canadian Academy of the Arts.
“The work I’ve made for the TOUCH exhibition is a continuation of work that references natural forms. Making things, making art, is a part of who we are, but like many artists I have become more tentative about the materials that I and we as a society value and use. I’ve chosen with this work to use only the materials I have accumulated over time and have at hand in my studio. Some natural, some not. Nature is the underlying inspiration and the concept of re-purposing interests me. These objects come from the intuitive way I work with the material to create meaning and or beauty and beyond that there is always the over arching question of how to live in balance on this planet.”
Susan Warner Keene
Susan Warner Keene is a Toronto-based artist working in handmade paper who has been exhibiting in Canada and internationally since 1980. Her work is in the collection of the Canadian Museum of History and the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Development, as well as many other public, corporate, and private collections. Keene has been active as an educator, writer, editor, curator and volunteer with such organizations as the School of Craft & Design of Sheridan College, Oakville, the Ontario Crafts Council (now Craft Ontario) and the Textile Museum of Canada. Her work has been supported by grants from the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts, and in 1991 she was presented with the Prix Saidye Bronfman Award for Excellence in the Crafts (a Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts). She was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 2005.
“I approach papermaking as both process and metaphor. I work primarily with high-shrinkage abaca and flax fiber pulps, partly because of their capacity for mark-making, partly because of the delicate, skin-like quality of the papers they make, so reminiscent of our own bodies. This dual personality of paper, comprising the cultural and the visceral, makes it seem very human to me. At the same time, I am constantly aware of the historical significance of paper in the transmission of knowledge and culture. Much of my work addresses the nature of the page as a created space.
The physical labor of transforming plant fiber into a sheet of paper offers seemingly endless opportunities to consider the material requirements and possible strategies for image-making. Focused attention is essential, with all the senses attuned to what is happening from moment to moment, as pulp becomes paper.”
In her formative years in Muskoka, Valerie Knapp explored textiles and art with influential mentors, which led her to the Fabric Studio at Sheridan College School of Craft and Design. Quick to form a company, at first, Viverie, then Valerie Knapp, she printed and manipulated textiles, creating her innovative clothing and furnishings collections, designed textiles for children’s wear, volunteered and taught. She went on to studies in education at the University of Toronto, subsequently becoming Head of Textiles, Sheridan College. Knapp actively maintains a studio creating her varied, printed and embroidered textile and paper-based works, featuring thread, cloth, paper and found materials. Recently, stitched photos, oil painting and encaustic form part of her practice. Her characteristic objects in hand-printed linen and up-cycled materials and continuing education play a vital role. Her work is found in collections in Canada, USA, New Zealand, and Italy. She is the recipient of numerous awards and grants, and has exhibited and published in Canada, USA and Australia.
“I observe and respond to what’s at hand — in the garden, the studio, family and memory, and in life as it comes and goes. Craving serenity and calm, I carve out poetic moments in delicate, precise, layered assemblages, in regard to the difficult conditions we experience, making a kind of peace. I combine the unexpected, and while sometimes I try to describe or analyze ideas, memory, or complex relationships, sometimes the work is soothing and subtle. My evocative and synergistic approach is known to draw the viewer near.”VK
Susan Lindsay is a mixed-media artist creating sculptural work with wire, wood, textiles and found objects.
In 2014 she moved from Ontario to an abandoned farmhouse in New Brunswick. Between the walls and in the attic she discovered old letters, photographs and concealed objects tracing the 140-year history of the Turner family in the village of Baie Verte. With these finds, and her own exploration of memory she continues to form narratives. After receiving a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and a Bachelor of Education, she attended Sheridan College School of Craft and Design. She has exhibited for over five decades in solo and group exhibitions across Canada, USA, UK, Europe and Japan.
“lines of wire and thread trace an image
a fragility is explored
a shadow of memory is created
a narrative is woven”
Susan Low-Beer received her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree at Mount Allison University and her Masters of Fine Arts, with a major in painting, at Cranbrook Academy of Art. In 1999 she received the Saidye Bronfman Award for Excellence in Crafts
and in 2000 was inducted into the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. She has exhibited internationally in Europe, United States, Japan and Korea, as well as nationally in both juried and invitational exhibitions, and has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards. She is represented among others, in the collections of the Museum of Civilization in Ottawa, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the National Museum of Modern Art in Japan, and the Mint Museum of Craft and Design in North Carolina. Her most recent show was a retrospective called Embodiment-30 Years of Sculpture, which was shown at the Art Gallery of Algoma, Norfolk Art Centre and the Clay and Glass Gallery.
“I’m drawn to the elemental nature of clay and while I am concerned and engaged with the formal aspects of making, I use clay to pursue philosophical and human content. Two of my sculptures are from my recent series of work Specimen, where I have entered the landscape of inside our aging bodies, its complexity of organs and tubes, twists and turns. These sculptures reference the viscera of our core, our vulnerability, humour and mortality and in a broader sense they speak to our relationships and intimacy.”
Lynne McIlvride is a mixed media artist who calls herself a “Contemporary Visionary”. She was part of the David Kaye Gallery from its inception and before that, showed at Prime Gallery. Her focus now is drawing people out to her house and studio near Port Perry, Ontario where she is attempting to slowly and thoroughly blur the line between art and environment.
“The pieces I have chosen to show in TOUCH are some of my newest works of carved painted basswood. I am a mixed media artist and I have always seen my work primarily as object. I draw inspiration from outsider art; art that straddles two and three dimensions; well-crafted art. In this time of COVID, we no longer take touch for granted and I am happy to be part of a show of material-based art, tactile to the extreme: my selfie-shtick is a staff to wear and my chess set is of course meant to be played.
My original idea for this show was to contact a few material-based artists that I revere from the former David Kaye Gallery to see if they would be interested in showing with me at Propeller Gallery. Janet Read from Propeller egged me on and Ann Cummings became my side-kick. We quickly became 11 though I could have asked 100 more material-based artists from the DKG and beyond. The group is in no way exhaustive or inclusive. I am hoping some not included in this show will start their own herds of cats and create more group shows like this one. I would like to dedicate this show to David Kaye who made it look easy.”
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, although is better known for her printmaking where 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. Primarily working with Japanese Washi and often combining the use of surface design techniques for textiles, Loree’s fascination with line, pattern, and architecture continues to inspire her work. She has shown in national and international exhibitions in Canada, Japan, 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.
“I had the urgent feeling to be surrounded/held in nature throughout the pandemic.
I needed to be grounded and recharge. So l took time to slow down, to be silent and still.
I took the time to really look at my surroundings and focus on the positive.
Slowly, these paintings emerged.”
“If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.”
Vincent Van Gogh
“Every walk in nature one receives far more than he seeks.”
John Muir, Father of the National Parks in the United States