past now: Meryl McMaster and Luke Parnell
November 25, 2010 to February 21, 2011
Guest Curators: Suzanne Morrissette and Lisa Myers
Public reception and panel discussion: November 25, 7:00 to 9:00 pm
Remarks 7:00 pm
This thematic double-solo exhibition features photography by Meryl McMaster (Toronto) and painted wood carvings by Luke Parnell (Vancouver). These rising Aboriginal artists address the distances to historical representations of and by indigenous people, embodying past artistic motifs in living contemporary forms.
As the curators write, “The mantle of colonialism in North America propelled photographers and artists of past centuries to pictorially ‘preserve’ indigenous cultures. Stubborn, ruinous stereotypes arose from such representations and issues surrounding their perpetuation inevitably raised questions with respect to Aboriginal agency. Two emerging Aboriginal artists—Meryl McMaster and Luke Parnell—engage their work in critical conversations with the past. From distinct perspectives, they question the life of historical images today. Through subtle variations of historical image and iconography, both exemplify past now as a creative credo. Meryl McMaster constructs images using reproductions of historical photographs and paintings to summon the sustained presence of ancestors and to redirect the function of such images. Her photographic vignettes employ props, found objects and talismans to illuminate a self-reflective passage. Through portraiture, McMaster challenges temporal boundaries. Definitive chapters of history blur and dissolve into ambiguous, residual traces. Responding both to established conventions of public display and the contemporary Aboriginal reclamation of scholarship, Luke Parnell integrates his formative influences. His works are influenced by a globalized art education and traditional apprenticeship. Parnell integrates Haida and Nisga’a carving styles, incorporating knowledge drawn from his familial heritage and the recovery of old master works. He works with and against the inherent grain of Northwest Coast design, contributing to and honouring its lineage.”
A brochure with essays by the guest curators accompanies the exhibition, published by the MacLarenArtCentre.
Meryl McMaster received her BFA from the Ontario College of Art & Design in 2010. Her work has been presented in group exhibitions including at Onsite[at]OCAD, Gallery 44, York Quay Centre and the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. McMaster is the recipient of a number of honours including the Vaughan Imagination Zone Award and the Gold Medal in Photography at OCAD University. McMaster was born in 1988 in Ottawa. She lives and works in Toronto, where she is represented by Leo Kamen Gallery. Luke Parnell received his BFA from the Ontario College of Art & Design in 2007. Parnell’s work has been exhibited in group and solo shows in Toronto at ANDPVA, A Space and XPACE Cultural Centre. He has served the arts community in various capacities as a board member and jurist. Parnell was born in 1971 in Prince Rupert, British Columbia. He currently resides in Vancouver where he is pursuing a Master of Applied Arts degree at the Emily Carr University of Art + Design.
Café Culture Panel Discussion with the past now Artists and Curators
Thursday, November 25, 7:00 pm
The Carnegie Room at the MacLaren. Admission free
Join exhibiting artists Meryl McMaster and Luke Parnell and guest curators Suzanne Morrissette and Lisa Myers in a panel moderated by MacLaren Curator Ben Portis.
Café Culture Lecture by Steven Loft
“Towards Forever… an Indigenous Art Historical Worldview”
Thursday, February 3, 2011, 7:00 pm
Rotary Education Centre at the MacLaren. Admission: $5 | free to members and students
Join Steven Loft, curator, theorist, writer and National Visiting Trudeau Fellow at Ryerson University, Toronto for this engaging lecture in conjunction with past now.
Youth Workshops with the Exhibiting Artists
Youth Workshop (ages 14 to 24) led by Luke Parnell, Friday, November 26, 3:00 to 5:00 pm, Rotary Education Centre at the MacLaren, Admission free.
Youth Workshop (ages 10 to 13) led by Meryl McMaster, presented with the Barrie Native Friendship Centre, Saturday, January 15, 10:30 am to 3:30 pm, Rotary Education Centre at the MacLaren, Registration $25.
Credits: Meryl McMaster, Ancestral 14, 2009, digital chromogenic print. Courtesy of Leo Kamen Gallery, Toronto (left). Luke Parnell, Phantom Limbs (detail), 2010, basswood and Plexiglass. Collection of the artist. Photo: Andre Beneteau (right).
About the MacLarenArtCentre
The MacLarenArtCentre is Simcoe County’s regional public art gallery. Located in downtown Barrie, the MacLaren is housed in an award-winning building that combines a renovated 1917 Carnegie library and a contemporary addition by Siamak Hariri. The complex includes multiple galleries, visible storage, an education centre, a sculpture courtyard, café, gift shop and framing department. The MacLaren presents a year-round programme of contemporary local, regional, national and international exhibitions and houses a permanent collection of over 26,000 artworks. Education provides the unifying link that activates our collection and exhibitions, and fosters an appreciation of the visual arts.
The MacLarenArtCentre gratefully acknowledges the support of its members, benefactors, partners and donors, the City of Barrie, the Ontario Arts Council, the Canada Council for the Arts, GEEP – Global Electric Electronic Processing and Harbour View Inn.
The MacLarenArtCentre is located at 37 Mulcaster Street in Barrie, 90 km north of Toronto. From highway 400 north, exit at Dunlop Street East, continue on Dunlop Street through to Mulcaster Street, and turn left. We are one block north, on the south-east corner of Collier and Mulcaster. Wheelchair accessible.
The Centre is open Monday to Friday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Saturday 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and Sunday noon to 4:00 pm. Closed December 25, 26 and January 1. Open Family Day, Monday, February 21, noon to 4 pm.
Suggested admission: $5. Café Culture: $5| Members and Students free. Family Sunday Workshops: $5 per child | free to Family Membership holders.
A free guided tour of past now is scheduled for Sunday, December 12 at 1 pm. Guided tours for groups and schools are available by appointment.
For details on exhibitions, programmes and events call 705-721-9696 or visit www.maclarenart.com