AEAC hosts seasonal exhibition launch

Three artists display their work for 2015

Charles Stankievech’s exhibition Monument As Ruin at the season launch.
Charles Stankievech’s exhibition Monument As Ruin at the season launch.

Last Thursday night, the Agnes was a full house buzzing with chatter and excitement for their winter launch.

As a frequent gallery-goer, I’m keen on the quiet solitude a gallery space provides. It’s an environment I’ve always been fond of and never strayed away from.

Three new exhibitions filled the AEAC space this semester, awaiting its first visits from all art lovers alike: Charles Stankievech’s Monument as Ruin focusing on conflict and military forms; Artists in Amsterdam featuring paintings from the Dutch Golden Age; and The Park and the Forest, which highlights watercolours and sketches in Canada during the nineteenth century.

Having perused the gallery for 15 minutes prior to the event’s start, I was struck by the eclectic quality of the exhibitions as a whole.

To me, it was as if each exhibition catered to a different kind of art enthusiast — whether it be for the one enthralled by 17th-century Northern European art of Rembrandt and his peers, the emerging 19th- century artistic traditions of watercolour, or those multi-faceted contemporary works taking influence from 20th century war history.

Jan Allen, acting director at the Agnes, began the event by introducing the new artists and exhibits that were being showcased throughout the evening.

In one part of the gallery, Stephanie Dickey, a professor and chair of Northern Baroque Art at the Bader International Study Centre, spoke on the Artists in Amsterdam exhibition in relation to artist Rembrandt van Rijn and his school of pupils and assistants in 17th- century Amsterdam. It’s an exhibition in which guests are able to see many of the paintings that were acquired by the AEAC just last year, giving guests a familiarity from previous exhibitions.

Also garnering great attention at the Season Launch was the talk of Canadian artist Charles Stankievech. Featuring stark contrasts between 20th-century military forms and how they shape “spaces of conflict”, Monument as Ruin is the product of sound and video, black and white photography, and heavy concrete sculpture all combining together as one unified project.

“This show completes six years of fieldwork in military outpost architecture functioning as Early Warning Systems that follow a technological archeology: pre-World War II sonic, World War II visual and post-World War II electromagnetic,” said Stankievech on his final product.

In playing with the large scale of these military forms — colossal acoustic mirrors built to listen to enemy planes and Nazi-built bunkers — what results is “their meaning in relation to today’s landscape on non-territorially bounded conflict,” Stankievech said.

To Kingstonians far and wide, as well as Queen’s students and faculty, the AEAC season opener wasn’t one to be missed.

As an art history student, it was an event where I was able to not only mingle with fellow art appreciators, but to see exhibitions in a new capacity as told from the perspectives of experts and the artists themselves.

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