The intimate black box theatre that is the Theatre on King is a departure from the white cube that we usually associate with a gallery. But it’s the chosen venue for Drool, an exhibition of eight young artists. Alana Batten, Anwyn Climenhage, Emily Duffey, Avery Morris, Ruba Osman, Skylar Ough, Sebastian Urquhart-Beligan and Jemma Woolidge, lamenting the lack of opportunities for young artists in Peterborough, decided to mount their own group exhibition – and give us what every vital art sector needs.
The artists became acquainted at Thomas A. Stewart Secondary’s specialized Integrated Art Program, where artist / educator Cydnee Hosker gave them excellent and broad foundation skills, but they tell me most of this work was created outside of school. For most of them, this is their first exhibition. Their excitement and aura of mutual support is infectious. The work displays consistent quality and already shows significant promise. The consensus is that after graduation they would like to pursue careers in the arts farther afield, most leaning towards the Montreal area.
Avery Morris and Skylar Ough recently brought a lively selection of stickers and zines to the Artspace Book & Zine Fest. Ough has performed and stage-managed at the Theatre on King – her deadpan performance was gorgeous to watch. She is also releasing a colouring book with Peterborough’s Youth Action Group. Morris’s work illustrates serious storytelling chops and she has been a welcome intern at Artspace. Ruba Osman, whose work includes a series of fierce portraits, will continue her vibrant explorations of Pop and Black culture at Concordia in the fall. Jemma Woolidge uses the mediums of embroidery and illustration in contemporary and colourful ways. I came upon Alana Batten’s work several years ago at the former Ritz Deli North and made a note that she was one to watch. Emily Duffey offers some playful and skillful interpretations of the classic still life. My favourite combines an arrangement of fruit, shrimps and rodents on a platter. Anwyn Climenhage has an established career as drummer in the The Lonely Parade and brings a stark documentary flavour to her photos and drawings.
The Theatre on King makes a fresh venue for visual art and director Ryan Kerr hopes the exhibit will attract some new audiences to one of the most animated spaces in town.
You won’t find derivative manga, mindless 3D printing or cynicism at Drool – just solid painting, drawing, collage, printmaking and photography from these emerging artists. Be sure to check out their fresh, passionate voices before they spread their wings and fly away.
Theatre on King, 59 King Street, Suite 120 (in the parking lot behind CRUZ/Wolf)
Opening reception Thursday May 5th, 2016 at 7pm
Open Friday May 6th from 4-9pm and Saturday May 7th from 10am-6pm