Visual and Creative Arts Diploma Class Exhibition
Rails End Gallery – To March 31
A review by Terrance Gavan
A yearly showstopper at the Rails End Gallery in Haliburton likes to stretch the binding on a book we’ll call Art 101.
Students in Fleming College’s Visual and Creative Arts Diploma (VCAD) program get to strut their wares annually at a quaint and quintessentially understated train station known as the Rails End Gallery in Head Lake Park.
Process 29, the show currently stirring that rumpled interior of everyone’s favorite gallery, is all about soul, and the frank churn of young artists at work. This exhibition is vast of breadth, and as usual, breathtakingly devoid of pretense. This is the fourth annual Rails End VCAD exhibition and as the gallery’s website states, “By intention, no finished work is shown.”
Call it Van Gogh with the ear still extant, and remember that even finished works are smoldered by time. This year’s show is fundamentally and frankly eclectic in its style, medium and magnitude. It is undisguised and deliriously bereft of order. Van Gogh just before the neurons truly exploded. All, by the way, good.
These shows are a favorite of the community and have been for years. The reasons for this are as myriad as the trace of the undulating line from the Rails End courtyard with a series of plastic human forms, to the shivering walls of the gallery where mosaic melds with charcoal and pastels to fill the space with noise.
One of the pieces makes a strong statement. Sculpted fists lined up on a bench with hues that trace a pale Irish fist to an ebon hand clenched and ready, we assume, to repel invaders.
The work is a stark, simple statement about racism. The language is as provocative as these times. The work appeals to my own inner anger about how people view hues as simple roadmaps for hate and hate speak.
For the silent fists are labeled with the language of denigration and the dross of indifference to basic human values.
But that was not the only piece I saw that invited such impact and introspection. There are broken mirror mosaics that a photographer investigated via flash and no flash imaging. And I became immediately aware that broken mirrors sometimes infringe too intimately upon the genteel psyche.
There is too much here to do the Rails End VCAD exhibit justice.
So we advise a visit there between now and March 31. Preserve some time and peruse at leisure. And take with a grain of salt that precursor to the show that says that these are artists in training. The work may be unfinished but that does not tarnish the brilliance of the exhibition.
The artists in no particular order are: Lauren Ogilvie, Luke Smit, Matthew W. Pearce, Mitchell Doris, Emma May Ross, Andy Anderson, Caitlyn Bloch, Aaron Jones, Megan Marie Morritt, Jessica Brabant, Magic Karpet, Rob Stock, Giuseppi Zuliani, Andrew Hamlen, Michelle Tarkington, Tsiokeriio Brant, Emily Gurr, Meghan Gale, Justine Beauregard, Colin M. Smyth, Cree Tylee, Mandy Ryan, Meghan Didier, Donald S. Fitzgerald, Trent Denne, Elise Elena Verikaitis, Jessica Beaulieu, Nicole Bruce and Jamie Smerdon.