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SUBJECT: Grenfell: Grenfell College Art Gallery’s first exhibition of 2009/2010 season
DATE: Sept. 21, 2009

       The first exhibition for the Grenfell College Art Gallery’s fall season will be Seven Artists/Seven Residencies: Selections from St. Michael’s Printshop’s Visiting Artist Program.

       An opening reception for the exhibition will be held Thursday, Sept. 24, 5-7 p.m. At 5:30 p.m. Michael Connolly, St. Michael’s Printshop director, will talk briefly about the visiting artists’ program at St. Michael’s. Refreshments will be served and all are welcome.

      “This season our programming focuses on artists’ response to a new location,” said Charlotte Jones, acting director of the Grenfell College Art Gallery, “particularly when that new location is Newfoundland and Labrador. 

       This first exhibition features the work of seven artists from across Canada, Europe and South America, who participated in artist residencies at St. Michael’s from 2001 to 2007. Artists in the exhibition are: Jennifer Barrett (St. John’s), Mark Bovey (Halifax), Helen Gregory (St. John’s), Vanessa Hall-Patch (Vancouver), Manuel Lau (Peru/Montreal), Peter Lazarov (Bulgaria/The Netherlands), Michael Robinson (Ontario).

       St. Michael’s Printshop was founded in 1972 in the tiny community of St. Michael’s by Don Wright and Heidi Oberheide and was supported initially by Memorial University’s Extension Service and Canada Council. Its aim was to provide a service to local artists and to attract artists from far and wide to come to Newfoundland to work. In 1986, in order to better serve the artists in the region, the printshop moved to St. John’s.

       “An artist residency can be a daunting situation where the artist must learn how to work in a new location, adjust to a new space and different equipment, deal with new people and ideas, and, in some cases, a different language,” said Ms. Jones. “All this takes place in a finite period.”

       At the same time, she added, “it can be inspiring and end up by having a lasting effect on the artist’s outlook and artwork.”

       Rather than including all the work produced in recent residencies, co-curators Michael Connolly and Charlotte Jones decided to focus on seven artists who were very productive. They looked at ‘productive’ as the artists’ producing a substantial body of work; work with challenging ideas – work with complex images and imagery – work that undertakes new approaches and ideas.

       “We will also be exhibiting selections from our permanent collection which came to us under the direction of Richard Ellis from the QEII Library in St. John’s,” said Ms. Jones. “The collection of fine art prints was assembled in the 1940s and 50s as a teaching collection for Memorial University and the St. John’s Art Club.” 

       The Fine Art of the Printed Mark: Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Etchings, Engravings and Lithographs shows fine examples of traditional printmaking techniques and includes an etching by Jean Francois Millet (1819-1875).
The exhibition closes Oct. 24.

       Gallery hours are Tuesday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday, 12 to 4 p.m. For further information visit the gallery website at: www.swgc.mun.ca/artgallery.

BIOGRAPHIES
Jennifer Barrett is a painter and a printmaker who holds a BFA from Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, Corner Brook, NL. Barrett works as a commercial screen printer and has been a member of the Board of Directors of St. Michael’s Printshop in St. John’s since 2004. Her current work revolves around the extrapolation of blind contour drawings and the modification of autobiographical comics. Barrett is represented by The Leyton Gallery of Fine Art in St. John's.

Mark Bovey is a mixed media print artist whose work has been exhibited internationally since 1998 and can be found in more than 15 public collections worldwide. Mark received a BFA in Fine Art in 1989 from Queen’s University and an MVA in printmaking in 1992 from the University of Alberta. Mark joined the faculty of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 2004 where he continues to promote mixed media print to the next generation of printmakers.

Michael Connolly (co-curator) is a visual artist born in St. John’s, Newfoundland. He received his BFA in Visual Arts from Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, Corner Brook, NL, in 2002 with an emphasis on drawing and printmaking. Michael was awarded the Don Wright Scholarship at St. and later completed residencies in Terra Nova National Park and St. Michael’s Printshop. He began working at St. Michael’s as a technician in 2004, and became the full time Executive Director the following year. Michael maintains his art practice, creating works in printmaking, drawing and mixed media which explore the natural world, often in relation to humanity’s role within it. He is represented by the Leyton Gallery of Fine Art in St. John’s.

Helen Gregory lives and works in St. John’s, Newfoundland. She holds a BFA from Concordia University in Montreal, and is currently studying towards an M.Phil in Humanities at Memorial University. Helen has exhibited across Canada, as well as in the United States and in the United Kingdom. Helen’s work explores notions of transience and permanence and nature and culture. Using painting and printmaking as a method of research, she examines how the image of the specimen can be re-presented in order to question our relationship with the natural world, and how classification and display systems used in the natural sciences can produce cultural meaning.

Vanessa Hall-Patch received her MFA in Printmaking from the University of Alberta and earned her BFA from Queen’s University. In her art practice Vanessa applies a combination of printmaking, photography and collage to create multi layered large scale images. Vanessa has exhibited her work internationally in group shows in Germany, Russia, USA, Japan and the Netherlands as well as in solo exhibitions in Edmonton and Vancouver. Vanessa is currently a faculty member at Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver, BC.

Manuel Lau grew up in Lima, Peru and currently lives in Montreal, Canada. He studied printmaking at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes in Lima. Drawing on the cultural richness of his Peruvian, Chinese and Canadian background, Manuel produces work reflecting his "personal story in each of these cultures". Manuel has exhibited in Peru, Poland, South Korea, Japan, Yugoslavia, Thailand, Germany, France, Belgium, Bulgaria, the United States and Canada and his work can be found in a number of private and public collections including worldwide.

Peter Lazarov is a Bulgarian/Dutch artist printmaker who has been living in The Netherlands since 1990. Lazarov’s work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions internationally, including recently in Shanghai, China and his works can be found in prestigious collections around the world. Lazarov is a member of the British Society of Wood engravers and is a master of printing techniques. In 2002, Lazarov founded his own private press called PEPELpress, which prints limited edition handmade books.

Michael Robinson was born in Ontario in 1948 and now lives in Keene, Ontario and Manitoulin Island. Michael worked as a glassblower from 1971 to 1986 but since 1985 has been working as an artist, printmaker and a poet. Michael attended Sheridan College School of Design as a glass major from 1969 to 1971. Michael's inspiration for his art is drawn from his spiritual beliefs. He believes that making people aware of the world around them is the only hope for the future. "It is important that we see the Earth as a living entity, only then can we understand where we fit in".

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