ON THE WALLS | AT INGRAM
BARKER FAIRLEY and FLORENCE VALE
Arts & Letters
June 3 - 22 . 2017
Florence Vale lived at 90 Hazelton Avenue and Barker Fairley called The Annex home. Living so close to Ingram Gallery's location (24 Hazelton Avenue), they shared in even more than geography -- as they were both accomplished poets in addition to pioneering fine artists. Arts & Letters brings together for the first time at the gallery the works of Fairley and Vale alongside their numerous poems, poetry books, and other fine examples of their written word.
The exhibition is comprised of many newly available works by Florence Vale -- including works on paper, her stellar collages as well as pieces that have been part of public gallery exhibitions in the past -- including Flight to Ontario (1976) which was exhibited at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Kingston in 1980. Shown here Out for Lunch (1974) is featured on page 43 of Florence Vale - Selected Drawing & Verse (1979).
Equally exceptional are Barker Fairley's minimal and modernist landscapes, figurative works and rare still life paintings that shape the exhibition. Of interest, Fairley's life spanned the exact years, a century: 1887-1986, as fellow artist Georgie O'Keeffe -- whose iconic work is on exhibit this summer at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Of great importance to all three artists was to be who they were meant to be as creators, as thinkers, as artists -- and humans.
Here for you, timeless in its meaning and messaging -- is James Purdie's introduction to Florence Vale - Selected Drawing & Verse (1979):
Without Florence Vale, who could we turn to for the fuel that fires enough quiet passion in the blood to see us through our various losses and the long winters?
Who would call to our delighted attention the eddies of romance and laughter still to be found in an environment grown heavy with selfishness, isolation, and technological alienation?
Who would assure us that the yearning we feel for a return to true love and the faith of childhood is healthy and universal?
And who would sing, as she once did, in a work acquired by the Canada Council Art Bank, of the consummation -- sultry, languorous and Persian -- to be sensed and enjoyed in the slip-slap, click-clack action of a Chargex card being processed?
And who else would design, as she does in this book, a corrective hat for ladies or bottoms and legs of blue?
Florence Vale's art, verse or drawing, is made up of questions for the heart as well as the mind. We join minds with it, filling in answers from memory and experience.
Many new works by Travis Shilling have arrived at the gallery, including a series of works capturing the spring thaw in a most unique visual vocabulary. The series is complemented by narrative works, too -- including Rainbow featured below. Recent news from community curators, sees Shilling with two upcoming public gallery exhibitions in Ontario. Please stay tuned for more news -- as the first of these two shows is scheduled for as soon as November of this year.