Portraits North of 17 – A Group Exhibition Touring Northern Ontario – 2018-2020

A Group Exhibition of Contemporary Portraiture – October 27, 2018 – November 15, 2018 – NOVAH Galleries

Featured Artists: Bruce Cull, Margot Cormier Splane, Catharine Cribbs, Dermot Wilson, Iris Shields, Cesare Feraro, Reno Couchie and Sue Gamble

An Exhibition of portraits created in 2017 and early 2018 by artists from four regions of Northeastern Ontario (Timmins, Kirkland Lake, New Liskard and North Bay/Nipissing), this extensive exhibition will present a document of the true “character” of this vibrant and isolated quarter of the province. Within these thirty-two works are embedded notions of the limits of a scientific post-colonial “gaze” and the character of the land as reflected in the expressive faces of the people of Northeastern Ontario.

Eight artists came together in 2016 to develop a proposal first conceived by Earlton-area artist, Bruce Cull and New Liskeard portraitist, Iris Shields. Their concept was to band together and reinvigorate the practice of portraiture in our region, while at the same time identifying artistic styles and experiments in different media. The group has undertaken to create portraits of themselves and of “persons of interest” within their communities, north of Highway 17. A third component of the show will be an experiment illustrating how the great art masters still affect contemporary art practice and how Northern Ontario artists respond to the works of Rembrandt van Rijn.

Four pairs of artists will represent: the “Kirkland” region (Cesar Forero and Sue Gamble), the “Timmins” region (Margot Cormier Splane and Catharine Cribbs), the “Liskeard” area (Bruce Cull and Iris Shields) and the “North Bay/Nipissing” area (Dermot Wilson and Reno Couchie). The portraits created will be mostly wall works, but the show will also include contemporary “takes” on the idea and construction of portraits.

These images will be set on our northern landscapes or within contexts that reflect the characters the artists have chosen to capture in paint, found objects and digitally. Curators, Wilson and Cull, will install the finished works in such a way that the self-portraits are arranged in one area of the Gallery, the Rembrandt experiments and allusions will occupy a second section, the portraits of northerners a third component and the fourth, a sampling of works in three-dimensional or digital media, will be situated within the space and on one wall within the gallery.

This group of artists represents a very high level of artistic practice and years of experience showing across the province (and internationally). As the artists complete these new works and move through the tasks assigned, the co-curators will visit studios to provide encouragement and develop strong ideas about how to create a cohesive, exciting installation. Portraits North of 17 will knit our communities together as they move from North Bay to Temiskaming to Kirkland Lake to Timmins. Family resemblances, shared histories and recognition of extended families will mark the exhibit from the audience’s point of view.

For many of the artists, this exercise of “going back” to the portrait will create it’s own excitement and will undoubtedly lead to beautiful innovations upon the genre. At the same time it will be a snapshot of the “characters” of our current society and the effects of the environment upon those who live in this place.

ArtJam – The Four Seasons of ArtJam, 2017

Area artists come together to support local yoga studio and a new “curatorial” collective.

PRESS RELEASE – October, 2017 – ArtJam3 is happening this Saturday and Sunday. The popular multi-arts “happening” is the brainchild of local arts entrepreneur, Richard Fortin. This incarnation of the performance and arts activism event has expanded to two days and will feature over 50 local and regional artists. It’s a “family-friendly” arts event that runs from 6pm to 9pm on Saturday, October 22nd and from 10am to 2pm on Sunday, October 23rd.

ArtJam3 is also a benefit and fundraiser for two very good “cultural” causes. Vinyasa Yoga is a central component of the cultural spirit of North Bay. Their community has identified a need for a warmer, more responsive floor for the space. This will add to the ambience of the studio and be conducive to a more relaxing and pleasurable experience for yoga practitioners and for the other groups who use the space. Proceeds from the ArtJam3 event will go towards the purchase and installation of this new floor.

As well, the upcoming ArtJam event will donating a portion of the proceeds to the Nipissing Region Curatorial Collective, a new group of artists in town dedicated to creating arts projects across the region and to paying all artists professional fees for the public exhibition of their work. The event will also be an Open House for the new collective, as their project studio space will be open throughout the weekend.

ArtJam3 is also an Open House for the new arts activism entity called RFP Media. Richard Fortin’s new promotion and production agency will be opening up the new recording studio/creation space at 176 Lakeshore to the public. RFP Media is the main organizer and producer for all of the ArtJam events so far. ArtJam3 will feature many more artists, performers, musicians, craftspeople and “makers” than in the past, but it will also mark the opening of Fortin’s new “creation space”. From this hub will come a wide array of site-specific art projects, festivals, podcasts, new media projects and art happenings. He’s calling the space, Raydiater, because so much creative energy will radiate out from this central hub to all parts of our region and beyond.

ArtJam3 will especially feature the drumming talents and many musical styles of Rob Joanisse. Joanisse left a career in Montreal which featured him in a group called Brand Van 3000, to start Vinyasa Yoga back in his home town and to play in many different musical groups here. On Saturday, we’ll see him in action with his new project, Living Room and performing a spontaneous solo work.

Other artist/performers featured on the Saturday include: Andre Fortin, Scott Aultman, Patricia Rodi,