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March 18, 2004
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Student to curate exhibition at Grenfell Gallery
The tangible abstract
Austin King
Photo by Pamela Gill
Fourth-year visual arts student Austin King of Badger's Quay was in the gallery recently positioning the prints that were installed for his first exhibition as a curator. He is curating Expressionist Print: Contemporary Abstract Expressionism at Open Studio, being shown at the Grenfell art gallery until April 8.

By Pamela Gill

Fourth-year visual arts student Austin King is turning the abstract into something a little more tangible. Last year, visual arts instructor Marlene MacCallum assigned a “virtual” exhibition project to her third-year printmaking students: if you could create your ideal print media exhibition, what would it comprise? For this class assignment Mr. King researched and compiled a theoretical exhibition of abstract expressionist prints.

Today, “what if” is about to become “what is.” Mr. King’s theoretical collection, with a few additions, is now open at the Grenfell College Art Gallery.

After attending the class presentations and commenting on the exhibitions, gallery director Gail Tuttle invited Mr. King to expand on his initial project and curate an exhibition of expressionist prints from the Open Studio archive in Toronto. The result, The Expressionist Print: Contemporary Abstract Expressionism at Open Studio, will be on display at the art gallery until April 8, along with X Folder, an exhibition of contemporary serigraphs curated by Ms. Tuttle.

“The class project was meant to stimulate the students’ interest in other print artists, to create a critical perspective and to give them an opportunity to develop a professional skill,” said Ms. MacCallum. “Gail attended the in-class presentations which increased the dynamic of this session. Gail and Austin deserve all the credit for making this exhibition a reality.”

Ms. Tuttle said Mr. King selected “an exciting body of work” by Anne Abbass, Paul Cloutier, Faye Digulla, Astrid Ho, Maggie DoRego and Heather Yamada – artists who created and editioned the prints within the Open Studio print residency program.

This is the first time that a Grenfell student has curated an exhibition at the gallery.

“It’s been an enriching experience,” said Mr. King. “It’s great that I would get to do something like this. It was an interesting project, but I never thought it would actually manifest itself this way.”

The curatorial essay for the exhibition will also be part of his course work in art history with Dr. Gerard Curtis.

Sir Wilfred Grenfell College Art Gallery gratefully acknowledges the board of directors of Open Studio, director Heather Webb and archivist Astrid Ho for their generous support of this project.

The prints were made at Open Studio, Canada’s foremost printmaking facility for artists. Open Studio offers a Visiting Artist Residency Program as well as courses and workshops on serigraphy, lithography and etching. Open Studio also operates a print sales program and gallery, which exhibits contemporary work in any print media.

 


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Next issue: April 8, 2004

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