Union Gallery reopens to pay homage to local art community

Artists, employees, alumni urged to contribute to new exhibit

Re:Union exhibit at Union Gallery.
Photo: 
After closing to the public on Sept. 4, Union Gallery finally welcomed art lovers back through their doors.
 
Union Gallery, a contemporary public gallery found within Stauffer Library, recently reopened following their September 4 to 20 closure. The momentary shutdown was scheduled to give Union’s team time to install this year’s Re:UNION exhibit.
 
Re:UNION is a celebration of the gallery’s 25th anniversary, and the show honours a selection of artists that have been involved in some capacity over the years. 
 
Works on display include pieces by Queen’s Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) alumni, faculty members, and local artists from the Kingston community.
 
“We put out a call for submissions far and wide and we’ve had a pretty good response back,” said gallery director Jocelyn Purdie in an interview.
 
During the closure, few alterations were made to the space. The Re:UNION exhibit is primarily a straightforward, traditional art show. Greater changes to the main gallery will occur during the year when more installation works are on display. This will start in November, when BFA student contributors will be given the space to exhibit their works. 
 
As it stands, the main gallery consists of a large  white room filled with a number of hanging pieces across a wide range of media types. These include sculptures, videos, textiles, prints, and paintings. The pieces are colourful and vibrant, visually diverse enough to appeal to all audiences regardless of their artistic preferences.
 
The works on display have all been created within the last few years, and many represent the artistic growth of former students as they’ve become established artists. Several contributors are based across Canada, from Vancouver to Saskatchewan to Ontario. However, other contributing artists live in places as farflung as London, England and New York City. 
 
Though these artists aren’t able to make it to the gallery in person, they represent the international reach of the Queen’s Fine Arts alumni. 
 
“In terms of the [artists] themselves, the furthest back we go is 1994 with an artist with an early connection to the gallery, so approximately every five years, there’s representation,” Purdie said on the time span of the collection.
 
In addition to the Re:UNION exhibit itself, Purdie mentioned a publication would be offered containing both an essay and a timeline of the events that have taken place over the years. This will be released shortly to accompany the collection. 
 
On display in the Vitrine project space in Union Gallery are past works that were completed by students in collaboration with established members of the Kingston art scene, as well as artists on campus. The first installation project in the Vitrine was established in the early 2000s in partnership with the local Tett Centre, and later projects were implemented in the gallery by Purdie herself. 

The gallery director explained that “students applied for a proposal outlining the details of the project and then they were sent into the greater community to collaborate with local creators.”

“All the mentors that work with the students are professional artists, either within the community or from the university and there is a connection there that fosters a sense of community.”

The gallery opening reception will be held Oct. 5 from 5 to 7 p.m., and is a celebration of Queen’s BFA alumni, contributors within the faculty, and local artists, though all are welcome to attend.

Without giving away any of the evening’s programming, Purdie hinted at a few performance art pieces, as well as various talks and presentations from gallery contributors.

Though not all of the artists will be able to attend the reception, about half will be in attendance to give insight into the wide range of pieces on display.

 

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