why include images of exhibition installations?
Viewing an art-work in isolation is different from viewing it in the context of a solo exhibition where proximity to related work can contribute additional meaning. Moreover, the exhibition space itself - intimate or expansive, neutral or imposing, dark or light - will also change how a work is experienced. With these things in mind, whenever possible I record images of my work in situ. Installation shots are unavailable for solo exhibitions at McIntosh (London), Hart House, (Toronto), Laurentian (Sudbury) and several at the WWG (North Bay).
Stratford Art Gallery (1975) A Four Year Survey was the first opportunity I had to install a large solo exhibition in multiple adjacent galleries - Douglas Kirton assisted me with the installation that included several themes as it brought together work from 1971-5. It was also the first time I made a visual record of a complete exhibition.
White Water Gallery, is an Alternate gallery space in North Bay and was the venue for several solo exhibitions (1977 to 1983). A single, second floor space on main street, WWG was somewhere between a domestic and a commercial space.
Anna Leonowens Gallery 3 (1996): I had requested this asymmetrical space as it provided an interesting opportunity for simultaneous viewing of many of the works on display. For this exhibition, it was appropriate that a viewer's relationship to the manikins and to the framed essay was intimate rather than remote. Hence the choice of a small space.
Sutton House (2000) built in 1535 in Hackney for the Principal Secretary of State to Henry VIII, is now owned and operated by the National Trust. Sutton House is located in a part of London where my late-19th and early-20th century ancestors lived and worked. Exhibiting in Hackney was a way to take work back in time and space. The gallery itself had a unique patina: exposed bricks, plank floor, and irregular walls: exactly what is expected from a building in the care of the National Trust. The last I heard, regrettably Sutton House seems no longer to programme any space for contemporary art.
Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (2000-1) afforded the opportunity to exhibit an expanded and more comprehensive collection of the work that was shown at Sutton House. AGNS provided a larger but still relatively intimate space appropriate to the scale and spirit of my domestically-referenced work. They also accommodated my request that the space be painted in other than typical gallery-white.
Dalhousie Art Gallery (2006) As with Stratford in 1974, these four large, adjacent spaces made possible both grouping and separation of different approaches to a common theme: compost and compost boxes. The university setting also ensured exposure of the work to an audience with broadly ranging interests.
Anna Leonowens Gallery 2 (2010): an invitation to participate in Past Practice: Contemporary Art & Archives generated a reason for me to build a large site-specific installation that was based upon emerging as well as extant genealogical research. At the time of invitation, I had the bare bones of an idea. But as research progressed, new content produced new and interesting technical challenges like building a sewing-machine-powered, Heath-Robinson-like lathe for sanding eight, seven foot columns.
The Craig Gallery (2016) is a particularly accessible space in that it is exposed to adjacent areas of the building via a glass wall, glass doors and a circular window. Alignment-Beach-Harbour brought together three series of works that focused upon ideas about the Nova Scotia shoreline. To read the wall-mounted statements, click here.
Fundy Geological Museum (2016): the Alignment and Beach Map paintings were exhibited at the museum in Parrsboro, NS under the title From Blue Sea to Western Head. It was an approach by the museum director, Tim Fedak, to bring the work to Parrsboro that made possible the contact with a new and different audience, something that always interests me. The space itself is long and narrow dimensions that are always a challenge when it comes to gaining a viewing position far enough back to see a work comfortably. In this case, it worked well as each wall provided an opportunity to view the work in series. For the installation, I was ably assisted by and am grateful to artist Ryan Josey.
The Corridor Gallery (2016): concurrent with the Parrsboro event, a group of ten small works were exhibited in the office of Visual Arts Nova Scotia (V.A.N.S.). This exhibit comprised seven Booth Maps and three Blitz Maps. As I write this, I believe these to be the two final series with genealogical content: content that surfaced in my work twenty years earlier. The statement that accompanied the installation is here.
The Craig Market Gallery (2017): late in 2016, a large display case was installed in the gallery's exterior. Even when the gallery is closed, work in the Craig Market Gallery is fully accessible to viewers. I was invited to kick off this new exhibition programme with a series of small sculptural works. Eighteen pieces: ten in part 1 (January) and eight in part 2 (February) were exhibited under the title unfinished business: parts 1 & 2. The Market Gallery now has two such display cases.
The Craig Gallery (2020): back in the main gallery for the month of January with work that harkens back to my 1970 solo show in London Ontario. It was The Last (Non) Picture Show as I had no plans to mount another solo show** and also because this work is clearly not pictorial. For those who know the movie The Last Picture Show (1971), you may recognise the poster layout for my non picture show as an homage to the original. For me, the appropriation of the poster layout provides a pleasing symmetry in that when Bogdanovich would have been filming, I would have been making the work for that first solo exhibition which was also non-pictorial. Fifty years later, here we are together again. The exhibition statement is here.
Art Lab (2021): bryan maycock: (dis)assembled comprises ten works seven of which developed ideas about form, colour and texture that began with the smaller pieces in The Last (Non) Picture Show. All but one of the ten are acrylic on carved wood. Like the small works exhibited in 2020, the starting point for each piece is a disassembled, repurposed Lazy Susan. The two larger pieces are repurposed table tops. The tryptic, pencil on mylar, dates from 2017 but had not previously been exhibited. Art Lab is an artist-run gallery so is very close to my heart in the way that, as a space and organization, it harkens back to my days with the White Water Gallery in North Bay. Art Lab's existence owes everything to the artists who give of their time and energy to provide service to their community.
Scrolling through the images below will provide an opportunity to attend many of the eighteen solo as well as a couple of group exhibitions that have occurred over a period of fifty years. I must confess that many documentary opportunities were missed. But that is water, maybe white water, under the bridge.
A detailed look at individual works is available via the illustrated buttons on the home page.