Connecting art and people in Chatham-Kent
Guest curator, Laurie Langford brings together the work of two local artists Jane Austin and Norman Barney in a collaborative exhibition which explores the world of “kitsch” - a genre associated with the gaudy and garish. Kitsch is a philosophy and art movement that is both celebrated and disdained for its sentimentality and its ability to question the high and lowbrow division in art. According to Langford – “though Norm and Jane keep fairly separate art practices with different messages, I always thought that, together, they could create a very interesting collaborative exhibition. I was intrigued that these art partners could share studio space and yet not be overtly influenced by each other’s art practices.” Both artists in the exhibition employ the same or similar objects, but represent them both in their own unique ways. Austin’s vibrant photographs present scenarios with varied objects in an assortment of complex and intriguing arrangements that put them into imagined relationships, while Barney’s satirical found object constructions comment on conditions of contemporary life.
Born in Windsor, Ontario, Jane Austin attended York University where she received an Honours BA in Fine Arts and soon after a B.Ed at The University of Western Ontario. She taught art for 30 years in the secondary school system in Lambton County, and has exhibited her work in various locations across southwestern Ontario. Norman Barney was born in Saginaw Michigan and moved with his family to Canada when he was a teenager. An artist with no formal training, Barney naturally developed his style through intense exposure to modern and contemporary art travelling throughout Europe, Canada and the United States. Both artists are currently based in Petrolia, Ontario. Guest curator Laurie Langfordwas born in Toronto, and studied at Sheridan College, and the University of Toronto. Now based in Chatham, she concentrates on assemblage and collage, into which she inserts subversive humour to comment on contemporary gender expectations. Langford has shown her work at galleries including the WKP Kennedy Gallery in North Bay, as well the Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit.