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Agnes brimming with new exhibitions

Queen's Gazette
17 September 2014

Riveting images from Kingston Penitentiary and a thoughtful selection of works on the theme of environmental anxiety are the focus of new exhibitions at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre this fall.

“Our slate of fall exhibitions offers a wide range of art that will appeal to many different tastes,” says Jan Allen, Director, Agnes Etherington Art Centre. “We are excited to host this season launch, which is an occasion for patrons to meet artist Geoffrey James, talk with the staff and students who have shaped the shows and, most of all, enjoy the exhibitions together.”

The centrepiece of the fall season is an exhibition of Geoffrey James’ photographs from inside Kingston Penitentiary during the institution’s final months of operation. Mr. James, a highly accomplished artist who won the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts in 2012, spent months documenting and memorializing Canada’s oldest prison.

Another new exhibition this fall is I hope humanity… developed by Queen’s graduate student Elysia French (Art History) as part of a practicum course. I hope humanity… incorporates photographs, paintings and sculptures by six artists including Kingston’s Don Maynard and Rebecca Soudant.

The exhibition takes its title from a painting by Canadian artist and novelist Douglas Coupland. Viewers can use their smartphones to scan the work, which is a colourful modernist painting in the form of a working QR code.

“The painting and the QR function within it set out the theme of the exhibition, which examines our anxieties about the degradation of the environment and our hope to reconcile our relationship with the natural world,” Ms. Allen says.

The art centre has developed multi-dimensional public programming around this exhibition with support from the Community Foundation for Kingston and Area. I hope humanity… will also serve as the focal point of the art centre’s elementary school programming throughout the fall and winter.

I hope humanity… is complemented by The Natural Order, an exhibition of European works on paper from the 17th and 18th centuries with animals as the subjects. The exhibition, curated by graduate student Nina Schroeder, explores people’s views of animals during that time period.

The Agnes Etherington Art Centre will launch The Natural Order and the other new exhibitions at an event on Thursday, Sept. 18 from 5-7 pm. Geoffrey James will attend the season launch. In addition to introducing the three new exhibitions, the launch will celebrate two continuing exhibitions: Artful Dressing: The Fashion of Agnes Etherington and Mind, Heart and Spirit: The Queens’ University Art Foundation. The launch event is free of charge, and all are welcome to attend.

-Mark Kerr, Senior Communications Officer
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