Essay – Ron Hewson – Community GalleriesMarch 1, 2022
I’ve been putting a lot time and effort lately into a community gallery that I belong to. While doing this I’ve put some thought into why I feel it’s worth the effort. Here are some of my reasons to to belong to and participating in this endeavour.
I believe it’s important for local artists to have a place to hang their work. Putting my work on a wall in a public space means I feel that I have created something that is worthy of public display. This matters because the emotional investment in producing art needs that outlet. Showing in a gallery is the reward for the time and money put into our work. I know I would continue to work regardless of belonging to a gallery but knowing that I can share what I have made is incentive to keep working.
Belonging to the gallery means I have to finish things. Every couple months I need new framed finished work to display. As a photographer I can capture a vast number of images. However that really doesn’t mean anything if I don’t finish any of them. Sure I can do some quick editing and post them on Instagram or do some more careful work and post on a stock photo site but that’s not the same as taking the extra steps to print and frame something. The incentive to finish work is a big benefit of belonging to the gallery.
Preparing work for the community gallery on a regular basis is far less stressful that preparing for a major gallery show. I’ve done shows at “big” galleries. The thrill and sense of accomplishment that comes from that kind of show can’t be beat. But the investment in time and money can be overwhelming. Its not something that everyone is prepared to do or is willing to do and for most people its out of reach. The community gallery fills that need perfectly. It gives the opportunity to exhibit that is manageable for artists who want to exhibit without the stress of a solo show.
There are many other reason the gallery is worth my time such as the diversity of the art on display and the camaraderie of follow artists but what makes to gallery valuable to me is the incentive to keep working. I believe that everyone needs some form of incentive and that for me is to have my photography physically present in the world. While posting something online might get seen by lots of people we don’t paint or sculpt or create our art to be seen on a phone.
~ Ron HewsonRead More
Heather Franklin | FluNovember 22, 2021
Context is everything.
I first saw Flu, by Heather Franklin, in 2010. Heather, the Director of The Button Factory, Waterloo Ontario’s Community Arts Centre, made this drypoint print in 2006, drawn from a photo of three men during the Spanish Flu epidemic in 1918.
What drew me to the image was its strangeness. Three men, obviously out of doors (as indicated by the skewed horizon line, so likely to be farmers), in masks, facing an invisible, deadly threat. The title gave away the timeline and narrowed the reason for their masked anonymity to a necessity rather than a choice – they were not running from the law. But the masks still made them “others”, unrecognizable, in a situation I could not fathom. The print carried with it a sense of the uncanny, with a deep sense of foreboding.
In 2021, these men have become very knowable. They are us. They are simple people, dealing with a situation beyond their control in the simplest way they can. Now I find myself less concerned with the contagion swirling around them than with the economic straits they find themselves in, how their families are coping, whether or not they have lost loved ones. They have become human where once they were alien.
You can find more of Heather’s fine illustrations on her Instagram account @heathersphotophoto.
~ Mark WaltonRead More