It is with great pleasure that we are able to present the eleventh installment of our continuing partnership with Island Mountain Arts Summer School of the Arts in Wells, BC and their annual nine day artist-in-residency program in the Toni Onley Artist Project.
Each year the Penticton Art Gallery has offered one of the participants an opportunity for a solo exhibit here at the gallery. The intent to an incentive to continue developing the ideas and projects started while participating in this studio program. This ongoing partnership with Island Mountain Arts is also of great value to artists from the Okanagan as the Bernie and Toni Cattani Family Foundation has committed funds to send at least one regional artist up to Wells to participate in this program annually.
In 2015 the Toni Onley Artist Project featured Harold Klunder, RCA of Montreal and Ciara Phillips an Ottawa born artist who currently calls Glasgow, Scotland home as its mentors, and in 2016 the renowned Canadian artist, author, painter and critic Jeffery Spalding will be one of the two featured mentors. for more information on how you can apply for this years program along with scholarship information, please visit their website at:
Each year the selection of the artist for this exhibition is left up to that year’s artist mentors and when asked to describe their reasons for selecting Hazel’s work for this year’s exhibition opportunity Harold Klunder replied:
“A few words as to why Ciara Philips and I chose artist Hazel Eckert for this exhibition. I would say It was unanimous, we both felt the strength and conviction in her work. Ciara's thoughts and my thoughts are obviously not necessarily the same, I will leave it there and present my words, thoughts, and observations.
The search for a unified whole (poised balance) using diverse sometimes unrelated images and coloured shapes and bars to indicate a direction, Balanced and nuanced to bring a sense of all- of- time. Bringing the past into the present and back again.
The approach is intuitive, Intuitive constructions, ambiguous in terms of content, musings on what has been and how it now fits into a cohesive present. it doesn't take any particular image or block of colour to be about truth as much as to create a bridge between the past and possible futures. Design as art, fashion as art and the mechanics of real life as we live it. Inclusive and heavily edited at the same time A reluctance to state any position over another.
Hazel's work seems to be about constant change and the possibility of stopping for a while, putting it aside while it finds itself.
The real strength of Hazel's work (her activity) is her constant search, rather than attempting to prematurely come to a resolve, the travel time is ultimately what I feel the work is all about. We live in a time when having a solution is more problematic than presenting and accepting the manypossible solutions that present themselves along the way.
Experiencing the process and the finished work simultaneously is the most rewarding and natural way to view Hazel Eckert's work.” ~ Harold Klunder, December 5, 2015, Montreal
My practice has developed in the contexts of fine-art printmaking and commercial print production: disciplines that privilege craft and precision, repeatability and technological reproduction, and the limited edition. Until recently these tenets had determined the direction of my work, but, inspired by the fearless innovations of the historical avant-gardes, I have moved towards a more open-ended approach, working with collage and ephemera and allowing intuitive responses to materials and processes to guide the work.
Over the past year I have been working on a new collage series, in which images that once spread across two pages of a magazine are removed from their original context and recombined—mismatched—in collages that join at the gutter of my sketchbook. These centralized compositions bleed into one another and break up the surrounding negative space. For a year I have been collecting images from old and new magazines as well as pillaging the Toronto Reference Library’s picture collection, an archive that houses over a million images clipped from magazines, discontinued books, and printed photographs. After an initial period of collecting and documenting, I began experimenting with the material in order to find the right fit for each composition through the process of selecting, cutting, and joining images. I scan the unaltered original materials and by doing so generate a digital archive that parallels and preserves the physical one that I am mining for my work.
In July I participated in the Toni Onley Artist Project under the mentorship of artists Ciara Phillips and Harold Klunder. During the residency I was able to work intensively with the picture catalogue material, conceiving and transforming the project through the processes of production and dialogue. The parameters of my approach expanded: in addition to cut-out shapes anchored at the seam of my sketchbook I began joining pairs of full-page images side-by-side. Some of these collages include or are joined by the white vertical stripe that is the gutter dividing the columns in the magazine’s original layout. These gutters were intended to divide images, order information, and provide a visual pause, but I am using them to connect images and by doing so to shift the symmetry of the composition.
Each of these collages is an adaptation and manipulation of the point where two images intersect, transforming the intended layout and sequence into a new composition. The seam of a bound publication is a margin of space that images spread across, bleed into, or are lost in. Carefully choosing graphic elements for their abstract properties instead of their overt cultural references, I attempt to skirt the nostalgia inherent in the source imagery to produce nonrepresentational works. Bprocess I am attempting to explore the tension generated by combining fragments of individual narratives—giving found materials an intended design and sense of purpose.
By way of intuition and chance encounters in the collage
Hazel Eckert is an emerging artist and printer from Toronto, Ontario. She graduated from OCAD University in 2008. Having worked for ten years as a letterpress printer, Eckert uses the techniques and materials of commercial work in her own projects, which she has presented in solo and group exhibitions, including If Walls Could Talk at the Gladstone Hotel, Toronto, in 2014. In 2010, Eckert participated in Atelier Graff’s Insertion Project in Montreal, funded in part by an Ontario-Quebec Residency Grant from the Ontario Arts Council. In 2013, she received the Nick Novak Fellowship from Open Studio, where she produced a body of work for the solo exhibition Traces. In August 2014, Eckert participated in the YYZLAB residency at YYZ Artists’ Outlet, which was followed by a touring exhibition in 2015.
In July 2015 Eckert was awarded the Joseph Plaskett Scholarship, which enabled her to participate in the Toni Onley Artist’s Project for Professional and Emerging Artists, an immersive studio residency hosted by Island Mountain Arts in Wells, British Columbia. The residency was guided by senior mentors Harold Klunder and Ciara Phillips, who selected Eckert’s work for the solo exhibition Picture Catalogue at the Pentiction Art Gallery in January 2016
Picture Catalogue has been produced with funding support from the Ontario Arts Council an agency of the Government of Ontario and the Joseph Plackett Scholarship from Island Mountain Arts. This exhibition has been shaped by the collection and contemplation of found images as well as the insightful critiques provided by Harold Klunder, Ciara Phillips and the Toni Onley Artist’s Project community. Hazel Eckert would like to thank Julie Fowler, Director of Island Mountain Arts and Penticton Art Gallery Director and Curator Paul Crawford for their generosity and support.