Studio 22’s posthumous exhibition of a celebrated artist

Ingeborg Mohr’s personal collection on display downtown 

A cropped image from Ingeborg Mohr’s Signs and Symbols of the Imperceptible.

Studio 22’s March exhibit gives a glimpse into the past, revealing a lively local art scene. 

The Studio’s launching its 2019 season this month with two exhibitions by vastly different artists. In one room, they display the works of L.W. Foden, a British Columbian painter and dear friend to studio owners Ally and Hersh Jacob. In the other room is the work of late artist, Ingeborg Mohr. 

This is the first time Studio 22 is exhibiting the work of a late artist, but through the help of Mohr’s daughter, it’s been made possible. 

The exhibition, Signs and Symbols of the Imperceptible, features works from Mohr’s personal collection. 

Born in Austria in 1921, Mohr spent the last 23 years of her life on Howe Island in the Thousand Islands on the St. Lawrence River—and made quite an impact on the local art scene. 

At the time, there was a widespread interest in buying original artwork with the  hopes that it’d grow in value. 

Mohr’s Kingston-based art shows attracted huge crowds from Toronto and she often had live bands play through the night for her guests. These events would last for whole weekends, never fully starting or ending on schedule. 

It was a lively scene, one that starkly contrasted Mohr’s home life. She was a hard working painter and mother, raising three daughters while she wasn’t attending her art shows and entertaining massive crowds. 

During her time living on Howe Island, Mohr established herself as a successful artist and mostly made works of abstract expressionism and collages.  

The pieces in Signs and Symbols of the Imperceptible are similar in style, though they vary in mediums and methods. 

Studio owner Ally Jacob explained that they’re unlike traditional abstract pieces, they’re abstract expressionist.

They’re not modelled after real life objects or people, and Mohr doesn’t try to convey any message or meaning in her work. 

She instead brings herself, her feelings, and her emotions to the canvas, Jacob said. 

The pieces in the exhibition allow viewers to see what they want and interpret the pieces however they’re able, like Mohr did when painting. 

The colour palette of Signs and Symbols of the Imperceptible is muted. A lot of the paintings are made in browns, greys, black, blues, and purples. 

While some paintings have the occasional burst of warm tones, they’re mostly earthy.

Mohr used oil paints to make her pieces and her methods are clear when looking closely. 

The paint is piled thick on the canvas—looking smeared rather than intentional. Ridges and grooves in the dried paint are visible and add to the rough, layered texture. 

Many of the paintings are collages. Mohr painted on pieces of paper and layered those with other distressed pieces. 

This style gives the art more complexity than what’s revealed at first glance. Mohr’s appeal is found in the way she layers her pieces—there are so many parts to look at and examine, it creates a literal depth. 

Her work has a noticable presence in aroom and draws the eye towards it. 

None of her pieces blend into their surroundings, they pop. 

The complete lack of subject matter leaves her work’s focus ambiguous, making for an intriguing viewing experience. 

This created a curiosity surrounding her work during the ’80s and ’90s during her time on Howe Island and contributed to her success.  

Jacob hopes that by displaying Mohr’swork posthumously, it’ll continue her legacy in the Kingston area and keep her name and work circulating for years to come. 

 

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