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Ontario
Stephanie Vegh
2014 Critic's Picks
December 16, 2014

Among many Hamilton exhibitions worth revisiting at year’s end, Tyler Tekatch’s Terrors of the Breakfast Table at the Art Gallery of Hamilton casts the deepest echo back to mind. His interactive video installation resonates through the visceral experience of literally breathing oxygen into melancholy scenes of death and rebirth, and is equally significant for the opportunity offered to a local artist in the early stages of his career. Both this exhibition and the recent riches of Painting Hamilton set a promising pattern for the inclusion of local artists in the AGH beyond this centenary year.



Thea Haines, Blanket Fort

Even more emerging artists will benefit from Dr. Robert Fitzhenry’s $3 million gift to McMaster University’s Studio Art program in memory of his late wife Andrée. This unprecedented contribution allowed McMaster to break ground this summer on a long overdue renovation of Mac’s studios and presentation spaces that will also lend much needed visibility for this small yet formidable undergraduate program. I was lucky enough to attend a design charette for the new studios and atrium in February as a graduate of this program, and am still downright giddy at the prospect of inviting so much daylight into that rabbit’s warren of disjointed rooms.

While not without its flaws, I also keep thinking fondly back upon Winterlore, perhaps due to the sheer audacity of mounting an outdoor waterfront installation in the cold heart of one of the most unforgiving winters in recent memory. Curated by Tara Bursey as part of the City of Hamilton’s once staid Winterfest, this two-day exhibition restored some of the wonderment of winter by bravely exposing art to the elements. Accidental magic like the gilding of ice over Thea Haines’ embroidered tent is well worth remembering as we sink into another season of snow.


Stephanie Vegh is a Hamilton-based visual artist and writer whose criticism has appeared in Scotland's Map Magazine, Canadian Art, C Magazine, and Hamilton Arts & Letters, in addition to her own blog. Her drawings and installations have shown most recently at the upArt Contemporary Art Fair and Nathaniel Hughson Gallery in Hamilton. She is the Executive Director of the Hamilton Arts Council and a member of the Curatorial Committee for Hamilton's annual Supercrawl. She is also Akimblog's Hamilton correspondent and can be followed @Stephanie_Vegh on Twitter.

 

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