July 29 – September 11, 2011
Opening reception: Friday July 29, 7 – 9 p.m.
In honour of the decisive effect that the War of 1812 had on the development of the Niagara region the gallery will, over the next few years, explore various aspects of the history and development of the Niagara region. The Combine project, and artist Steven White’s symbolic commentary on the changing nature of Ontario’s agricultural sector, is part of this exploration.
When White moved from Toronto to a property in rural Ontario he discovered a completely intact 1964 Allis-Chalmers All-Crop combine harvester – including the original owners manual – left behind by a previous owner. Over a period of 5 years, White completely dismembered the combine and used the various parts to build a large body of kinetic sculptures. Images taken from the original owner’s manual, combined with botanical drawings of crops, are lithographed onto the flat steel surfaces of the combine and painted wood panels. As White says in his artist statement:
The symbolistic potential is rich within this type of subject matter. The current fate of the family farm is uncertain, as factory-style farm operations have become one of the only ways for farming to remain profitable in our changing global economy. Large biotech companies are securing patents on genetically altered seed stock, referring to their products as “technology”. It is clear that we are in a period of rapid change and the abandoned combine harvester acts a metaphor for these changes. The interactive nature of this work brings the viewer into direct physical contact with these ideas and engages them in a playful dance. Cranks get rotated, sounds are produced and our individual roles in these complex webs are highlighted. In an age of intense digital technological development, the low-fi nature of these sculptures engages the viewer, who then becomes a collaborator in the finished work.
Steven White, from Walter’s Falls, ON, holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Queen’s University. His solo exhibition “The Combine Project” was shown at the Tom Thomson Art Gallery, Owen Sound, ON, and at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, ON. He was recently awarded a significant Project Grant from the Canada Council for the Arts, a Chalmers Arts Fellowship and an Emerging Artist grant from the Ontario Arts Council. His works are in many private and corporate collections. .
Along with White’s stunning assemblages we will present a small display of historic works from our permanent collection that illustrate rural life in Ontario during the 19th and early 20th centuries; these works will help create context for White’s contemporary pieces. Both exhibitions will be on display from July 29 to September 11, 2011
Admission is free. All are welcome!
This exhibition is generously sponsored by Dr. Paolasini; Canadian Tire RJJ Holdings; The Grimsby Historical Society