Thunder Bay Art Gallery Fall Exhibits for 2017

Paddle to the Sea Map

THUNDER BAY – The fall exhibition season is underway at the Gallery with 4 exhibitions featuring a wide range of artistic and historical expression.

Following a long tradition of supporting local artists, in this case, two Lakehead University Visual Arts graduates, the Gallery presents two exhibitions.

On the Trail: Denise Smith – September 29 – November 26

“Denise Smith is from Thunder Bay, Ontario and is a current MFA candidate at the University of Regina. Denise received her BFA with honours from Lakehead University in Thunder Bay in 2010…. In 2012 she was selected to participate in an artist residency at The Gimhae Clayarch Ceramics Museum in Gimhae South Korea where she created a body of work and participated in the museum’s A.I.R. Group Exhibition. In September 2013 Denise was chosen as one of six emerging ceramic artists to represent the province of Ontario in HOT MUD: A National Survey of Contemporary Canadian Emerging Ceramists at the Burlington Art Centre in Burlington Ontario. This past summer she was invited to attend the Medalta International Artist Residency program in Medicine Hat, Alberta. Denise is the recipient of several academic awards at the University of Regina, a Teaching Assistantship as well as a University Teaching Fellowship.”

Thunder Bay Art Gallery
Denise Smith, West Wind, 2015, 46 cm h x 51 cm w x 51 cm d, porcelain, under-glaze, glaze and over-glaze with wooden stand

Denise talks about this exhibition: “Each of my ceramic sculptures is an intricate wilderness scene. The pieces are arranged to create a park-like installation presenting a guided experience of personal and collective narratives about the Canadian park system. I work with commercially produced ceramic molds to reference and parody the kitsch souvenir and utilize the familiarity of kitsch as an “in” for the viewer. Each sculpture is a landscape diorama in the round; the viewer must walk around the whole piece to understand the full story. The sculptures use literary devices such as dramatic irony, parody, and pathetic fallacy to set the scene and convey each narrative. The installation creates the effect of a three-dimensional storybook. Ultimately my work is not about facts so much as it is about subjective human experiences of traveling through the parks.”

“Growing up on the edge of Lake Superior, in Thunder Bay, Ontario, amongst giant tracts of wilderness; hiking, canoeing, and camping have always been an essential part of my life and practice. Recently, I have come to question my perspectives on nature, outdoor recreation, and my relationship with National or Provincial Parks. Interactions with the land in these spaces are never unmediated; conceptualizing and compartmentalizing nature for touristic consumption. The much sought after authentic back-to-nature experience is always moderated by manicured gravel covered campsites, portage-route signs, informational plaques, hiking trail maps, and corralled by the boundaries of the park Also, controversial components of the history of these landscapes are carefully curated to cushion dark truths or shameful histories.

The body of work I created for, On the Trail, focuses on two parks, Banff National Park (Alberta) and Algonquin Provincial Park (Ontario). I appreciate these spaces and consider them invaluable, irreplaceable, and uniquely Canadian. Yet, also note that the park system is often an active participant in a process of mediation, construction, containment, and concealment, resulting in unintentional effects on the landscape, the wildlife, and us. This ambivalence is the crux of my work. I am simultaneously attracted to and wary of objects designed for the tourist industry such as informational pamphlets that instruct people on how to experience a hiking trail, ceramic plates covered in bucolic illustrations of the Canadian landscape, and knick-knack miniatures of moose or grizzly bears. While I enjoy many of these objects, appreciating them on both aesthetic and nostalgic levels, I believe they fail to embody the truth about the spaces they promote….”
Denise Smith, West Wind, 2015, 46 cm h x 51 cm w x 51 cm d, porcelain, under-glaze, glaze and over-glaze with wooden stand

Kohesion: Quentin Maki – October 6 – November 19

Quentin Maki is a graduate of Lakehead University Visual Arts Department and currently teaches in the department as well.

“Inspired by the rural backdrop of his home in Kaministiqua and childhood, local artist Quentin Maki’s most recent work in the exhibition Kohesion explores composition, colour and texture. Indeed, many of the mixed media paintings in this exhibition contrast colour, brushstrokes, and patterns to reveal a deep preoccupation of the interaction of these elements.  For Maki, though this imagery is connected to his own life and experiences. His non-representational work is open to interpretation and self-reflection.

Moreover, his interest in mixed media and collage practices have allowed him “the opportunity to solidify my experiences through the forms that I create.  Many of the fractured collage elements have been retrieved from past charcoal and ink studies.”  These paintings are not only multilayered in their compositions, but also reflect an ongoing study of local landscapes that continue to evolve and change over time,” says Nadia Kurd, Curator.

Paddle to the Sea MapThe Path of the Paddle – October 4 – November 26

“Explore maps and views of the Great Trail – 1200 km of water from Thunder Bay to the Manitoba border. This exhibition features original artwork by Rejean Roy and David Lightwood as well as hand-painted maps by Hap Wilson.

David “Hap” Wilson is a Canadian naturalist, canoe tripper, author, illustrator, and photographer. He has published numerous Canadian canoe route guides and books about wilderness life.

In 2009 Hap was engaged by the Trans Canada Trail to locate 1200 km of trail between Thunder Bay and the Manitoba Border. In 2013 this trail was incorporated as the Path of the Paddle, representing 5% of the entire 24,000 km Trans Canada Trail.

The watercolours in this exhibition were created by Hap based on his concept plan.

David Lightwood studied in the 60’s at the Ontario College of Art in the Advertising and Design Department and periodically worked in the commercial art field.


In 1978-79 he earned his teaching degree at U of T qualifying to teach art, graphics and architectural drafting.  From 1980 – 2001 he was employed full time as a teacher with the Lakehead Board of Education, retiring in 2001 as the Technical Director at Churchill C&VI.

Since 2001 David has painted and drawn in many counties and other parts of Canada. Simply enjoying the process of creating he sees the images as a type of visual diary of his experiences. This work is of the Neebing area that we all enjoy so much,” shares Pam Cain, Exhibition Organizer and the Public Programming Coordinator for the Gallery.

Permanent Collection Spotlight: Angus Trudeau (1908 – 1984) September 29 – December 3

Bio: (from the web) “Angus Trudeau spent his working life as a sailor and cook aboard the Lake Huron commercial ships. He devoted his spare time and his retirement years to painting and model building. Trudeau’s language was Ojibwe and he spent virtually his whole life on or around Manitoulin Island, and in later life, on the Wikwemikong Reserve, where he was much admired by the younger generation of the Woodland School of painters.

Trudeau’s inspiration is drawn from the world of Manitoulin, although his vision is imbued with deeply personal insight. His subjects (the lake freighters and ferry boats, the bygone community buildings and events), are often portrayed through the diapason of memory or through reference materials he collected. …”

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