Review: Unfamiliar Territories at the Lonsdale Gallery.

February 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

The Lonsdale Gallery, situated in the lovely neighbourhood of Forest Hill, has imaginatively put together a multi-artist exhibit, entitled, Unfamiliar Territories. Featuring photography-based works by Osheen Harruthoonyan and Joan Kaufman, sculpture by Jim Hake and printed silk hangings by Sally Ayre, the exhibit brings together a theme of storytelling that lets the viewer’s imagination run wild.

Take for example Sally Ayre’s ‘Sea Shadows 2’ (2006). On delicate rectangular pieces of blue and grey silk, Ayre printed the negatives of leaves, flowers, rocks and sea shells. Assembled like the bricks of a dismantled wall, superimposing themselves on one another, these shadows of natural beauty seem alive and present. But beneath the wispy silk, they also seem like they could be washed away in the waves. The combination of photographic accuracy and abstracted assemblage makes ‘Sea Shadows 2’ almost an invitation for a delightful harking back to a summer day at the beach, walking barefoot and collecting shells.

Up onto the second floor of the gallery are sculptural pieces involving carved earthenware by Jim Hake, and photography by Osheen Harruthoonyan. This self-taught photographer uses found negatives and his own photographs to create works that bring to mind collage, or even painting. ‘Transference’ (2008) is, like the rest of his works gathered here, in black and white, and shows two obscured men shaking hands in a foggy sea of photographic whiteout. It brings to mind the landscape of a dream or a forgotten memory, much like Joan Kaufman’s ‘Old Grove 1’ (2011). This glossy photograph of a forested grove is so inviting you almost feel like stepping into it, but it also retains something mystical and otherworldly thanks to the ice blue reflection of the sky in the pond or the lily pads floating peacefully.

With a space as open and vast as the Lonsdale Gallery, they were brilliant to put on a multi-artist exhibit as far reaching as Unfamiliar Territories. Its whimsical assemblage of artists with such a diversity of media, styles and personal backgrounds really allows for an interesting dialogue on memory and human experience within the exhibit. I would recommend a visit to any dreamer, young or old.

Unfamiliar Territories
runs until March 25, 2012

-Anne Deck

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