Last weekend’s Randy & Friends opening was a big success. All four artists exceeded themselves, and the final hanging really tied the diverse work together. Over 70 people came out (I handed out that many “FRIEND” buttons). I’ve posted a gallery of photos on Flickr for those of you who couldn’t make it. The show continues until May 1 at the Niagara Artists Centre in St. Catherines, Ontario.
Ours is a world of stuff. We admire it, collect it, hoard it, and cast it off.
Four artists (Christine Cosby, Ernest Harris Jr., Melanie MacDonald and Rob Elliott) have made art to give pause for thought about our world of stuff. Meeting around a St. Catharines kitchen table back in January, we selected five objects from an assorted pile of favourite things. Each artist set off to make art inspired by these objects, creating at least four artistic responses to each item.
Settling on animal-themed stuff, five curious objects have inspired this exhibit: an otter-topped statuette with “RANDY” stamped on its base, a plastic honey-bear squeeze bottle, a handful of fishing lures, hen-shaped egg cups from the former East Germany, and a rabbit puppet head still in decades-old shrink wrap.
For the past four months,we’ve worked on paintings, drawings, watercolours, and assemblages, sharing photos of our work as it progressed and talking about what we were doing.
Entitled Randy & Friends, the exhibit offered a unique opportunity for the artists to surprise and challenge one another, and to make work that pushes in new creative directions, both in terms of subject matter and technique.
A dense and colourful riot of creative energy, Randy & Friends features the original objects alongside the multiple artistic products inspired by them. Melanie MacDonald made breakfast, served soft-boiled eggs in the egg cups, then photographed and painted the scene as a monumental landscape. Ernest Harris Jr. has painted formal watercolour studies of each of the objects. Christine Cosby and Rob Elliott have invented a 40-year history of the rabbit puppet head and have designed a parody of big museum celebrity retrospectives, complete with costumes and timeline. A pair of oversized textile fishing lures also will hang in the gallery.
Randy & Friends
Subjective Looks at Selected Objects Christine Cosby, Rob Elliott, Ernest Harris Jr. & Melanie MacDonald
Dennis Tourbin Members Gallery at the Niagara Artists Centre
354 St Paul St, St Catharines, ON
(905) 641-0331 April 18 to May 1, 2015 Reception: April 18, 7 – 10 pm
Refreshments and snacks will be served
Getting to the show: We really want you to see Randy & Friends. It’s a smart, funny show and we’re all pretty excited about it.
The Niagara Artist Centre is located in downtown St. Catharines, less than 90 minutes south of Toronto. It’s in the heart of wine country, there’s a massive flea market in town, and plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities. Make a weekend of it!
Drive: Take the QEW (exit 47). Print out this QEW Bingo card for your passengers. Bus: Megabus and Go Transit both stop in St. Catharines. Megabus is the better bet – it stops a block from NAC. Go Transit stops at Fairview Mall, so you need to take a bus or cab to NAC.
The tote board read “80” when we finally locked up NAC on Saturday night.
Small Feats, the fundraiser for the Niagara Artists Centre, was a packed house. The local arts community lined up to see and buy 150 pieces of original work and bid on some amazing pieces donated by Shary Boyle.
Work is still available for sale until Thursday at NAC during regular hours, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.