Deborah Brown • Margaret Hughes • Robin Moon • Erika Olson • Lyn Rapin • Rose Stewart • Sharon Thompson • Lina Van Helvert • Jo Wren • Ron Wilkinson
October 25th to November 30th, 2014
The shag rug collective came together spontaneously through the generosity of Erica Olsen and Simon Andrew who invited some interested artists to participate in biweekly gatherings in Erica’s studio. The dominant yellow shag rug on the floor of Erica’s former studio became an obvious choice for the name of the group.
We paint and draw together using still life as a jumping off point. The diversity of responses to the same subject stimulates and revitalizes the often lonely process of art making. The group also benefits from voluntary critiques and the opportunity to share art information.
We dedicate this show to Ron Wilkinson, an original member, who died September 2013.
• Deborah Brown
Deborah Brown has been making art for as long as she can remember. Beginning with drawing and then moving to photography, fiber art, and painting. Her current works are black and white drawings emphasizing geometric forms, repetitive patterns and negative spaces. She attended New School of Art in Toronto, St. Lawrence College, and received a Masters in Fine Art from Concordia University.
• Margaret Hughes • BFA PGCE
Born in South Africa and lived in Kingston since 1968.
Producer of decorated ceramics, paintings and pastels from my studio in Kingston for about 40 years. Co-owner ( and one of the co-founders) of Cornerstone Fine Crafts in Kingston from 1981 – 2004. I exhibited my work in ceramics locally, provincially and nationally and paintings and pastels locally and in Toronto. Past teacher of ceramics and art.
After closing my ceramic studio I adapted it to serve as a painting studio and returned to painting and drawing where I had started. For a number of years I have been one of the regulars who meet at Erika Olson’s studio, the so-called Shag Rug Studio, to work on still life or whatever we choose to work on. The artist’s life is rather solitary and our regular gatherings provide opportunity to critique and receive critiques of our work from respected peers. I have found these gatherings to be stimulating, helpful and thought provoking, especially when experiencing a “dry” spell.
Ceramic pieces, often made by me, have been part of my subject matter, providing a bridge between the two media that have been part of my life for more than 50 years.
• Robin Moon
• Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours; specialty in Printmaking), Queen’s University, 1991
• Bachelor of Education (Art and Drama), University of Western Ontario, 1992
After an extended hiatus from painting, I have recently begun to re-explore a fascination with portraiture that I experienced in childhood – considering questions that emerge, fade, and then resurface around the nature of identity, of our physicality, how we connect to the inner lives of others, and how to express personal relationships with the natural and spiritual world.
I am captivated by Milan Kundera’s novel Immortality, in which the protagonist, Agnes, yearns for an afterlife as a place without faces and the author examines the “certain part of all of us that lives outside of time.” My goal is to reconcile the ideas in that book with the impulse to paint, to find in both a narrative that begins to unravel the differences between what is seen and what is shown.
• Erika Olson
Erika Olson Completed her BFA at Concordia University in 1997, and returned to Kingston where she has developed a strong following, taking many awards. With numerous solo exhibitions and group shows to her credit, Erika has shown in North America and was represented in the UK at the Innocence Gallery.
I paint as urgently as possible. Working from life, I paint what I see, but it is processed through my emotional attachment to the subject matter. All of my work evolves directly from my environment and the objects that I find in it. Appearing ordinary and dealing with subject matter like food, or the domestic sphere my work chronicles daily life and elevates these subjects to be worthy of consideration as art.
• Evelyn Rapin
Evelyn Rapin is a professional artist living in Kingston, Ontario. Her paintings are frequently based on musical themes; however, she also produces artwork inspired by a variety of subjects. Movement, expressionism and ambiguity are favoured elements seen in her work.
On display at Studio 22 are a series of works inspired by the music of David Bowie. Kandinsky (1977)* claims that “every work of art is the child of its age and, in many cases, the mother of our emotions. It follows that each period of culture produces an art of its own which can never be repeated.” On that note, these works represent a personal impression of music and its cultural evolution, a subject of infinite inspiration for the artist.
*Kandinsky, W. (1977). Concerning the spiritual in art. Toronto, ON: Dover Publications (republication)
• Rose Stewart
As well as teaching for many years in Kingston and Toronto, I have maintained a studio practice for many years. The focus of my art, in recent time, has been the arrangement of disparate old drawings (my own) as well as select colours and textures into a large body of work in the form of collage – the series entitled Contingency. The reference, in part, comments on the myriad possibilities, the often chance occurances involved in the process of art making. Further, my curiosity is with the integrity of mark making. During our shag rug studio days, I draw exclusively and fragments of these drawings
often end up in my collages.
My work, prior to present day collage art, employed the medium of oil painting
• Sharon Thompson
What I care about in this recent series of garden paintings is how light, space, fluidity and colour work together to create the impression and sense of the garden I am painting.
I begin the painting in the garden, but I spend much time with it later in the studio creating a whole, mainly by ‘feeling’ the relationships and how they belong in the painting’s overall structure. This second stage is very influenced by my long apprenticeship in abstract painting.
~ Sharon Thompson, September 2014
Sharon Thompson is a Kingston (Ontario) based artist. She is an abstract painter but she also works in mixed media, and keeps a life drawing and plein air landscape practice as well. These nourish the abstract focus of her work.
She graduated from Queen’s University in 1983 with a BFA (first class honours).
Her numerous solo shows include: Robert Langen Gallery, Wilfrid Laurier University; Modern Fuel Artists Run Centre; Justina M Barnicke Gallery, Hart House, U of T; Ottawa School of Art; McLanahan Gallery, Penn State U, (Ivyside Juried National Competition); Karsh Masson Gallery, Ottawa; The Cambridge Centre for the Arts; State of Flux Gallery (MFARC). Her work has been included in numerous group shows including: Bowery Gallery New York City; Impact Artists Gallery, Buffalo NY; Sacramento Fine Arts Center.
• Lina Van Helvert
Lina has been painting for over fifty years and has explored several mediums. She has taught herself watercolour painting and acrylic, she tried very hard to master encaustic, and now she is in her element as a pastel artist. The colour intensity and layering possibilities lend themselves so well to
landscape, which has often been her first choice of subject matter. And lately these very qualities of
pastel have drawn her to portraiture and the figure. Of course she will always be trying new things,
experimenting with styles, taking courses to learn about other mediums, and just experiencing the joy
She grew up amongst an enormous family in rural southern Ontario, but has spent her adult life in and around Kingston.
• Jo Wren
Jo Wren studied Itten’s Theory of Colour at the Koffler Centre in Toronto in 1980. She began her BFA at Queen’s University in 1981, finishing in 1985. During her third year in the program, Jo studied drawing for one semester at The Boston School of Fine Art. Her work has been exhibited in galleries in Canada, England, Australia, and the United States and appears on the cover of several books, both fiction and poetry.
• Ron Wilkinson
Ron had been a frequent visitor to Studio22 for many years. He would pop in for almost every new exhibit. He would come in fresh from a long bike ride, throw down his helmet and backpack on the nearest available chair and proceed to commune with the art. He was always eager and engaged and at the end of his gallery tour, would thank us for this ‘hit’ of inspiration and sustenance.
The day after Ron learned that he had cancer, he came by for one of these regular visits. He was a bit shell shocked as he told us of this new reality but was determined to be optimistic and strong. About a week later, Ron returned, made a quick round of the exhibit he had previously pursued, and then announced that he would be purchasing 3 pieces.
Ron had enjoyed the art on our walls for many years, but had never bought anything before. He said he wanted to actively express how much our gallery meant to him by buying these pieces of art. He saw these purchases as life affirming – as something that would help him get through his days of taxing treatments and fear. This act was for him and for us.
We were very touched and grateful beyond words. Our motto is a statement by theatre artist Irwin Piscator that says of his efforts in the arts,
“I wanted to rid myself of the feeling which I had experienced that art has nothing to do with reality and is not sturdy enough to help us live up to it.”
Art is sturdy. Art is necessary. Ron knew this and he relied on it to help him face his life and, ultimately, the end of his life. Like his friends and fellow artists in the ShagRug Collective, we remember Ron’s life and honour him with this exhibit.
~ Ally & Hersh Jacob