I first learned of WAAC launching this program through a fellow artist and member of the Association who asked me to send out their call to submissions. One reply suggested I apply myself. July 2018 I was accepted as the first artist in residence of the Women’s Art Association. It was an unexpected and wonderful experience. Here is a brief summary.
WAAC AIR ARTIST STUDIO: I was given use of a studio for 10 months where I would produce an exhibit for WAAC. In return I was to engage with the artist members to encourage their artistic interests through activities I would design. I came up with the following.
STUDIO VISITS: Weekly visits to my studio allowed members discuss whatever about their work with me, ask questions and discuss suggestions I may have. These were usually one on one and allowed me to get to know some of the artist members.
GROUP VISITS TO EXHIBITS AROUND THE CITY: November to March we would met biweekly at a chosen gallery. Historical to contemporary works were seen followed by a friendly cup of java together. A few examples of shows we saw: Anthropocene at the AGO, John Hartman People and Place at Nicolas Metevier Gallery, Sir William Van Horne’s Japanese Ceramics at the Gardiner Museum, True to the Eyes: Tanenbaum Photos at Ryerson Image Centre, Crosscurrents: Canada in the Making at the Textile Museum of Canada and Toronto Through the Eyes of Women Artists at the Market Gallery. The Market Gallery exhibit was of special interest as the founding member of WAAC Mary Dignam plus other past members were featured.
PRINTMAKING WORKSHOPS: Two weekend workshops introduced printmaking to members using an automated etching press donated by a member a few years earlier. Colour relief prints made with hand cut linocut plates on japanese papers were puzzling at first but everyone soon got hold of the process. Thereafter we shared weekly one day open print sessions allowing all to continue their experiments and explorations. Soon someone suggested a print show.
WAAC PRINT WORKS 2019: The genesis of the show was employing printmaking to generate new ideas or variations of the artist’s current artistic focus. Artist members were asked to present images that were print based but evolved through their choice of alternative techniques: collage, transfer, paper cut, painting, sewing to name a few. Printmaking mediums could include etching, relief, silkscreen, solar, original digital and more as was discovered. This experimental approach proved to be impetus for individuals to nurture new directions in their work. Eighteen artists prepared two images mounted on black display boards without framing. This simplified format unified the show and emphasized the unique approach of each artist’s work. Here are a couple of short videos I took of the show – they are not professional but will give you some idea.
WASHI: ANCIENT MATERIAL, CONTEMPORARY RESOURCE: Nancy Jacobi founder of the Japanese Paper Place gave a stimulating talk about the history and current uses of washi. Nancy displayed artists’ work on washi from her collection and offered sample selections of washi for sale. She was enthusiastically received and many planned to visit the store to see JPP’s exhaustive selection of washi and related products. Do visit the Japanese Paper Place at https://www.japanesepaperplace.com but also actually visit the store.
WHERE IS WILD the Artist in Residence Exhibit: Throughout all the activity I was busy working on paper collages for my show. I developed 17 pieces various sizes largely on washi employing woodcut, soft pastel drawing, paper cut in layers creating some more 3D object like effects. I had the Dignam Gallery the flagship space of WAAC to inhabit with my animals in their digital environments. I appreciate the opportunity to show in this spacious inviting space that hosts luncheons, slideshow presentations, workshops as well as art exhibits regularly throughout the year.