Sites Re-seen- New exhibition!

Sites Re-seen
Tod Ainslie & Laurel Campbell
February 8th – March 31st, 2013
Opening reception: Sunday, February 10th, 2013
from 2- 4 pm
Grimsby Historical Society Talk- Speaker: Tod Ainslie
Wednesday, February 20th, 2013 at 7:30 pm

The Bicentennial of the War of 1812 encourages Canadians to consider the significant role that this conflict played in the development of Canada. Many of us have visited sites, watched re-enactments, read histories – in short tried to imagine what our predecessors in the Niagara region experienced 200 years ago. As part of the gallery’s examination of these events we invited two regional artists, Tod Ainslie, of Burlington, and Laurel Campbell, of Niagara Falls, to visit significant war related sites and document what they, as contemporary artists, experienced and observed.

Campbell has established a solid reputation for her detailed watercolour paintings and pen & ink drawings of historic structures, many from the Niagara Region. Her paintings reflect a process based on meticulous research; she has visited and painted a number of locations, with a particular emphasis on those pertaining to events that happened in and around Grimsby during the 1812 – 14 years. Both new works and a selection of  earlier pieces will be included in the exhibition. Ainslie also researches and chooses his sites with care. For this body of work he imagined a British soldier travelling down the St. Lawrence then west to Fort Meggs, Ohio and north to Fort Mackinaw, Michigan. Ainslie peered past 200 years of accumulated physical change to document the sites and structures his soldier would have experienced. He uses custom built pin-hole cameras and photographs the sites in a manner that both recognizes the current context where the past sits in juxtaposition to the present and imposes an aura of age suggesting that the images provide a glimpse back into history.

The exhibition addresses how we remember and document key events from the past; how we preserve buildings and battlegrounds but necessarily impose a contemporary narrative on them. Both Ainslie and Campbell work with the awareness that as artists they are not immune to these layers of contemporary knowledge, but each is still able to provide the viewer with a sympathetic access to human experience during the War of 1812 period.

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