NEW EYES: the Feature Gallery is intended as a supplementary exhibition to the Bridge Songs event that took place June 15-17 at The Avenue Anglican Parishes. The theme for this year’s Bridge Songs was NEW EYES. It was presented as an opportunity to wrestle with ideas of renewal, the tension between novel and traditional, past and future, youth and aging, and the displacement of the old by the new. Artists were invited to explore revision, both metaphorically and literally; to breathe new life into an old world, and even old work. Creatives working in multiple media – visual, literary and musical – participated.
Once again this year, the Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts generously partnered with us and provided their exhibition space for this project. The four artists chosen submitted work that explores the idea of vision, both external and internal, in addition to strong narrative elements.
Michael James’ photographs function as memorials. They picture spaces that once were home, now abandoned, or soon to be. They are sometimes filled with the remnants and traces of experience, sometimes awaiting new tenants or visitors. There is a real sense of human presence, and a recognition that these forgotten people had importance, value, dignity. Who were these people? What was their story? Where did they go from here?
Tyler Enfield’s digital prints are symbolic representations of childhood, mythological in scope. Children are often represented in film and literature as either innocent in the way they perceive the world, or as wise beyond their years and more attentive to the subtleties and nuances of relating to the world and each other. These pieces are at once otherworldly – almost like fairy tales – and portentous.
Sara McKarney’s rubbings and traces document the history of humble objects; objects which are anchors for stories shared between people, between family members. The physically memorialize the human presences and activities that occurred around the table. They are living documents, fragile yet rich with meaning.
Hilary Mussell presents a singular book, a bestiary of fantastic human/ animal hybrids. They challenge us to reconsider how we perceive ourselves, as well as our fellow creatures. They are strange yet also strangely familiar – mythical and somehow familiar. The journal format becomes a catalogue, but one that is diaristic and personal in tone.
These artists ask us to look at these images and see with new eyes, to pay attention to these stories, to reexamine the ways in which we remember and imagine. To remember that there is always the human presence, and their compelling stories.
The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes. – Marcel Proust
Edward van Vliet
The opening is Thursday, June 21 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Please join us. If you can't, please do drop by and take a look.