Curator wins art gallery award for writing

Brock University’s Rodman Hall curator Stuart Reid has been honoured by the Ontario Association of Art Galleries for his essay on the work of aboriginal artist Mary Anne Barkhouse.

“I am really thrilled to be recognized by my peers,” he said.

The curatorial essay is in the book published by Rodman Hall in 2014 and details the outdoor sculpture installation Settlement, which has been on the grounds of the arts centre since 2012 and is now part of the permanent collection.

“In creating this new outdoor installation for Rodman Hall, Barkhouse examines issues of sovereignty and confederacy from an indigenous ecological vantage point.  As an aboriginal woman, Barkhouse is mindful of the history of conflict imprinted on this region of Ontario, particularly during this bicentennial commemoration of the War of 1812. Many of the conflicts and alliances between First Nations and settling cultures that played out 200 years ago are still unresolved today,” Reid said.

His essay also touched on a Barkhouse show called Regency that ran in the Hansen Gallery at Rodman Hall in 2013. In the exhibit, animals of the boreal forest have Victorian tea at a table.

“Working with cast bronze, glass and ceramic figures, Barkhouse creates life-size replicas of flora and fauna that transform the traditional tea party into a respected conference of animal witnesses,” Reid said.

“Both shows really look at issues of territory and relationships in the natural world,” Reid added.

Reid said Barkhouse’s artist garden Settlement, which includes two bronze statues of a badger and coyote, has been a wonderful project for Rodman Hall. Beginning with support from the Cultural Capitals of Canada designation for Niagara in 2012 and the collaboration with the Bicentennial commemoration of the War of 1812 and the 200th anniversary of Laura Secord’s walk – the project dovetailed with many significant events in Niagara, he said.

The jury that chose the award winners wrote: “The text was engaging and accessible in creating a history leading to the work. A valid and valuable project with interesting subject matter.”

This is the second time Reid has won this award in three years – he won for Curatorial Writing in 2013 for text on the work of Simone Jones for the catalogue All that is Solid published by the Robert McLaughlin Gallery 2012.

For more information on the curatorial essay click here.

Stuart Reid, director/curator of Rodman Hall.

Stuart Reid, director/curator of Rodman Hall.

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