By Darren Lum
Pointing to an encased wood, with glass top case, sitting on a wooden table over what looks like the beginning of a bonfire, comprising of twigs and kindling, Rails End Gallery curator Laurie Jones lists off the details to artist David Douglas’ Flipping the Bird mixed-media installation at the Rails End Gallery in Haliburton.
Flipping the Bird is one of 63 entries created by members of the gallery to this year’s POV (Point of View) show, the Rails End Gallery’s Annual Salon Exhibition.
In the case is a Canada Goose watercolour, graphite rendering, with a bow around the neck and a set of wings, appearing as if it they sending bird upwards has been a source of interest and intrigue for Jones and for visitors. Jones said the image possesses traits that makes one think is an animal that is “manipulated” or “tamed.”
“I’ve had one lady come in and she said, ‘I love this show. But I have to say that piece is just icing on the cake,’” she said.
The image also conjures references to Canada’s colonial past and the collection of wood is constructed in reverse, with leaves on the top, then the sticks, man made sticks and the milled wood, Jones added.
From Douglas’ artist statement: “For this year’s 2022 POV theme I reworked, resized, rethemed, flipped and retitled a new work. Even put a bow on it. Perhaps a more informed POV might be in the wind? Flags flying at half mast? Graves? Which way is up? A nation upside down? Only now being recognized! Entirely self confirming for me as I’ve known most of my life the myth of it all. To put a bow on it, perhaps time is our ally for a more truthful point of view.”
The show has a collection of diverse range of media, whether it’s paintings in acrylic and oil, photography, or textile. Other notable works include County Life and Echo contributors Janet Trull, with Spreading My Wings, an acrylic painting on wood, and Deborah J. Reed, with the acrylic painting on barn board, WHICH CAME FIRST? The gallery’s curator Jones has an acrylic painting on canvas called Night Lights. It continues until April 2.
From the gallery’s website: “There are a myriad ways to interpret POV; a visual angle or style, a subjective opinion, a perspective, a narrative style… and yes, we do mean to attract as many points of view as there are entries! For that reason each Artist is invited to include a brief bit of text with their entry.”
Jones said this year’s exhibition with the theme of Point of View is in keeping with the times we are living in, with life during the pandemic. She said there was genuine interest among the POV participants to complete their artist’s statement. It’s unusual when compared to others years. The statements included a level of depth and a collection of comprehensive details not submitted in the past, Jones said.
There is an overall atmosphere of optimism, Jones said, with the gallery and its members to start the year with this show, particularly with the theme of personal perspective. There was a genuine feeling of of yeah, we’re doing something again, Jones said.
“Also, that there were enough members who wanted to respond to the theme and liked the theme and got to work when we announced it in the fall,” she said.
The gallery’s last exhibition was Local Colour by Minden painter John Lennard.
Jones said the show has reminded her of the importance to have an open mind.
“And I think we really do have to be accepting of all points of view and recognize that there are so many. And, so that’s why the POV(point of view) was the theme of the show,” she said. “I don’t think there have been too many political entries, statement entries, but there were certainly ones that took it quite literally like viewpoint, outlooks, favourite places – a lot of favourite places. Quirky things like the little girl looking at a giant bear, and then you realize, because there’s a bit of a trick in this one painting: she’s looking through a glass. At first you don’t see the glass. You don’t see the wall between them,” she said.
Last year, the gallery held its member’s exhibition, but there were limited hours for visitors, and members could book a time for them self and a guest for 30 minutes. This year the booking option returns, and operating hours have expanded, allowing more people from the public to see the members’ show.
Visitors are encouraged to vote for The People’s Choice piece.
The exhibition at the gallery located at 23 York Street is open Wednesday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 11 to 4 p.m. Cash donations are welcomed. For more information about the show and current COVID-19 protocols see website (railsendgallery.com/exhibitions).