Annie E. Brown: In Memory
September 16 - October 31, 2011
Annie E. Brown: In Memory explores the mythology, ritual and reality of death. Inspired by a “true” ghost story about a Victorian woman named Annie E. Brown who lived in Bracebridge Ontario just over 100 years ago, curator Virginia Eichhorn seeks to understand how we view life and death and in what way our understanding is different from that of generations past. Eichhorn first encountered Annie E Brown in the Bracebridge cemetery where the elaborately carved tombstone commemorating Annie and her husband James stands taller than most of the surrounding markers. The discovery that she and Annie Brown shared a birthday, exactly one century apart, intrigued Eichhorn, but it was the gradual accumulation of fragments of Annie Brown’s life – a photographic portrait, letters, postcards – that convinced her to explore Annie’s life further and to collect, interpret and present her interpretation in the form of an exhibition.
In addition to the Annie-specific artefacts Eichhorn has collected a number of Victorian and Edwardian funerary and memorial items and researched their use by and meaning to the people who created them. She has also traced the changes in understanding and ritual that occurred during the long years of Victoria’s and later Edward’s reigns; and discusses these changes in relation to the different objects. Eichhorn was also interested in exploring contemporary responses and meditations on the transition from life to death and invited five contemporary artists who work in the media of clay or glass to create works exploring this subject. Laura Donefer, Karina Guevin, Paul Stankard, Catherine Vamvakas Lay and Tim Whiten considered historic artefacts and traditional rituals as well as their own experiences and personal spiritual beliefs and each has created poignant contemporary works that are displayed along with the historic materials.
This exhibition is generously sponsored by NRB Inc.; Don Loney, Lawyer; Livingston Animal Hospital; P. Tomlinson Insurance Inc.