Saturday, 2 April 2016

Homage to Canadian Women

I went to a wonderful show at a local gallery in Dundas, Ontario. It's a lovely, old town with restored heritage buildings along the main street. The Carnegie Gallery is in a beautifully restored building which was the town's public library from 1910 to 1970. It is an example of the Beaux-Arts style commonly used by architects in the early 20th century.
 It's construction , and 111 other Ontario libraries, was partially funded by a grant from the Carnegie Foundation. It is now the home of the Dundas Art and Crafts Foundation  and an artist run gallery. 

The show was entitled Homage and consisted of 38 different necklaces designed and made by a Canadian jewelry artist, Donald A. Stuart. The collection was created as a celebration and tribute to Canadian women, past and present. Each neck piece was accompanied by a sketched portrait and biography by Susan Benson RCA, curator of the exhibition
Stuart in his own words explains his work.  “Necklaces are one of the oldest forms of human adornment and were worn by both men and women. However, from approximately the 19th century onward they were predominately worn by women to denote style, status and wealth. Necklaces are archetypal symbols of power and importance and are a fitting vehicle to represent [leading] women in Canadian history. The choices of materials for each necklace are as varied as the women themselves, each infused with meaning and significance"

Now here are the necklaces. I hope you enjoy the samples I have included here. It was a very sunny day and each necklace was behind glass so it was difficult to get clear pictures without glare. I have included the ones that appealed to me either artistically or historically, or in some cases both. The first one is a stunning piece of silver work representing Pauline Johnston (1861-1913) a Native Canadian poet and has the tip of a quill pen at one end and feather at the other. The feather is an iconic symbol of the First Nations people and it also references quill pens which were used at the time  in our history.

I'm going to let the rest speak for themselves.

Measha Brueggergosman : Opera Singer

Karen Kain ; Canadian Prima Ballerina

Lynn Johnston: award winning cartoonist

Martha Billes Co-founder and CEO of Canadian Tire ( hardware, housewares and car supply store) (that's a drill bit  hung on a steel cable and CT money which was used like loyalty cards but gave you cash value to spend in the store)

Sonja Bata : Founder of the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto
(Sterling silver shoes and chain with braided leather cord))

Haley Wickenhauser : Olympian hockey player
( sterling hockey stick and gemstone puck)

Diana Krall: Jazz singer and pianist

I found the story of this young woman quite moving and his interpretation quite powerful.

Julia Payette: Canadian astronaut

Margaret Atwood: Award winning author and activist

Emily Carr: artist inspired and influenced by native Canadian art

Founder of Moosehead Breweries (folded beer caps and brass bottle shaped charms)

Of course there was other art in the gallery. Rosemary Aicher's ceramics were also on exhibition. Beautiful work.
Rosemary Aicher’s ceramic work represents a melding of her interests in figurative drawing, archaeology and pottery:
“In this exhibition I lift images from the pages of my sketchbooks and project it onto the enduring form of the ceramic object, the timeless technology of human culture. When Gilgamesh set out to carve his story on the walls of Uruk he was searching for a kind of immortality. When I print the drawing on the surface of a ceramic vessel I seek to mark the brief moments of existence in the arc of history and to make a connection to the past permanent.”

I hope you have enjoyed my little stroll through Canadian History and culture and were as impressed by the artistry and technical expertise of the artist, Donald A. Stuart. Definitely a national treasure!