Agnes Art Gallery introduces three new exhibits

A look at this season's exhibits

Supplied by Agnes Etherington Art Centre

Now in its 60 year, the Agnes opened with its season launch on September 14. This semester, the gallery features both contemporary art, which will be shown until December 3, along with other continuing exhibits and its permanent Bader collection.

Sunny Kerr, curator of the season’s contemporary art exhibits, spoke to The Journal via email about his role launching the three new exhibits.

‘The Golden USB by Richard Ibghy and Marilou Lemmens and A Form of Formlessness by Teresa Carlesimo and Michael DiRisio are [some of the] new contemporary exhibitions” Kerr said.

These new exhibitions mix traditional media like video and sculpture with audio and a layout intended to evoke a larger experience than the typical viewing of paintings in a gallery.

“In The Golden USB we are shown samples from a Catalogue of Everything that is intended to invite a commercial relationship with extraterrestrials by way of the titular USB, sent into space. We imagine the gallery as a showroom or a trade show,” Kerr said about the work.

 The ‘golden’ exhibition takes inspiration from The Golden Records sent out by NASA in the ‘70s. These phonographs were 12-inch gold-plated copper disks sent on the Voyager Shuttle to portray the range and diversity of humanity on Earth. 

(Supplied by Agnes Etherington Art Centre)

Kerr continued explaining that The Golden USB is meant to comment on the downsides of modernity’s obsession with progress and expansion. So, the exhibit imagines that humanity would only reach out to extraterrestrial life for a commercial purpose.

The other work of contemporary art on display for the season is A Form of Formlessness by Teresa Carlesimo and Michael Dirisio. The exhibit takes on three separate instillations: an infinity room made with mirrors, an architectural video intervention and a platform lined with various objects made with aluminum to represent the currently depraved state of the ecosystem. By reshaping and deforming everyday building materials, the artists work to inspire an urge for repurposing and renewal.

“Their platform filled with objects seems to lend new value to construction tools and building material samples, often pieces of their own building processes, which have been configured into abstract forms” Kerr said about the pieces of aluminum.

“We continue with Alfred Bader Collects: Celebrating Fifty Years of The Bader Collection and Stories to Tell: Africans and the Diaspora Respond to the Lang Collection” he said about the art still showing at the Agnes from earlier years. 

(Supplied by Agnes Etherington Art Centre)

The final exhibit newly introduced to the Agnes this semester presents a set of paintings curated by Alice Boutilier, curator of Canadian Historical Art, titled At Home: The Interior in Canadian Art.

 The exhibit features several different artists who have all realistically depicted the inside of their home, study, office or some other space that holds special importance to them. At Home uses the Canadian domestic interior as a genre to explore the varying ways the featured artists inhibit their own domestic spaces.

Some of these works have windows and show the weather, an essential inspiration to most Canadian art and most of our everyday conversations. Meanwhile, other works explore the effects of sunlight on the atmosphere of the interior shown, and some simply show pretty couches.

What connects all these though is their use of realism to elevate the furniture beyond just being a feature of everyday life. It challenges you to think of the artists’ identity through their personal spaces, and not just a portrait.

Kerr also pointed to some important works of Carl Beam and Rebecca Belmore as a must see for any gallery visitor.

The new exhibits at the Agnes will be shown until December but the Rembrandts of the Bader collection are always free for students to see throughout the year.

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