During the last one and half years, all people were homebound, and many had to postpone and cancel their travel plans to comply with health and safety protocols. However, artists have found alternative ways to travel virtually or translate the feeling in their work. Thousand Island Fine Art Association (TIFAA) presents the exhibition, A Sense of Place, at Window Art Gallery of the Kingston School of Arts until Saturday, Jun. 26, both virtually and in person.
The artists have used travel and places as sources of inspiration, and have painted what is around them. Some have painted happy times they remember, and many have painted what they wish for when life returns to some form of normality.
TIFAA is an arts organization founded by Henry Vyvinkel in 1983. Since then, artists within the organization have worked in mediums such as sculpturing or painting, as well as providing education about the artwork.
“My’ sense of place’ in Kingston has always been rooted in man-made objects — the beautiful old houses, and historic public buildings — and I have painted some of the quirkier ones over the years,” said Martha Stroud, Coordinator for TIFAA.
“Last year, at the onset of the pandemic, we were blessed with a new grandson. Since my son and his family lived in Toronto, they felt that they could best protect their 3-year-old and newborn by staying with us in Brockville for a couple of months,” said artist Pat Markovich, who painted his three-year-old grandchild looking out a window, depicting life through the eyes of a child.
“During the long pandemic, I have been searching for such a place — where bold, vibrant and shimmering colors dominate imaginary landscapes, where anything is possible,” said artist Barbara Patrick of finding her ‘sense of place.’
Artist Linda Merry depicted the power of a woman in her work and said, “Being strong and loving, especially during this stressful time, is the gift women give. Never underestimate the power of a woman.”
Belia Brandow painted her garden and showcased how different elements close to us, such as gardens and home plants, can be the reason for so many memories.
“During the pandemic, I have had a sense of urgency to create a specific area in my garden where I have some sense of control and feel safe and protected. My garden is enclosed on three sides, with one side open to a view of the field behind my home,” said Brandow.
For Stroud, there was also some of the much-needed joy and light the exhibit aimed to create in creating the exhibit itself.
“I really enjoyed collecting these stories about art during COVID-19 from my colleagues, and I hope you enjoyed them too. I noticed that no one painted ‘fear, dysphoria or placelessness.’ We artists must be an optimistic lot,” she expressed.
The artist line-up for Sense of Place includes Colleen O’Connell, Doug Hall, Sheila Goertzen, Barbara Patrick, Linda Merry, Sian Tucker, Margaret Ebdon, James Curtis, Ingrid Schmidt, Belia Brandow, Alison Storey, Line Donnelly, and Helma Gansen.
The gallery has a limited capacity of seven people, and all staff are being trained on COVID-19 safety precautions to ensure a safe space. The gallery has also extended staff hours to allow their space to go above and beyond the cleaning and disinfecting protocols.
For more information on Window Art Gallery and the Kingston School of Arts, click here. For more on the Thousand Islands Fine Arts Association, click here. Window Art Gallery is located at Unit 1 of 647 Princess Street in downtown Kingston.