OCAD University’s Slow Art Day Reveals Tiny Details

OCAD University Gallery in Toronto hosted a successful second Slow Art Day in 2019. They reported that both participants and guides alike enjoyed slowing down.

Both guides and participants were encouraged to look and then talk about the artworks. They made several discoveries.

First, they found how each person’s way of seeing the world affected the experience. In other words, slowing down helped them see not only the art but themselves and each other in new ways.

They also learned how the art of slow looking can reveal even the smallest details and “nuances” that seem invisible at first and then almost magically appear the longer you look.

“In the quietness of looking, our eyes wandered and caught the tiniest details in hopes of deciphering hidden nuances.”

Khadijah Morley, OCAD University Gallery Staff Member
Installation view: How to Breathe Forever, Onsite Gallery, OCAD University, Toronto, 2019 (Photo: Yuula Benivolski)

We look forward to OCAD University’s participation in Slow Art Day 2020.

– Ashley

Insightful Slow Art Day at AMP Studio

Valerie Arntzen, assemblage artist at AMP Studio in Vancouver, Canada, invited Slow Art Day 2019 participants to look at one of two pieces of her artwork slowly and then discuss the experience.

Not surprisingly, Valerie found — as Marcel Duchamp once said — that the “spectator completes the work of the artist.” In other words, the Slow Art Day participants were active co-creators of Valerie’s art bringing new and varied meaning and perspective.

It’s great to have artists and “spectators” directly interact via slow looking. In fact, we invite artists all over the world to open up their studios for Slow Art Day and hope that more will follow Valerie’s example next year.

– Ashley

Slow Art Day with Ceramics, Glass, and Mixed Media

The Canadian Clay & Glass Gallery in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada participated in their first Slow Art Day in 2019 by inviting visitors to slow down with ceramics, glass and mixed media from Canadian artists. 

After one hour of slow looking, visitors gathered for 30 minutes to discuss their observations about the material and meaning of the works, including the hidden qualities and stories they discovered.

According to The Canadian Clay & Glass Gallery, one participant said it was “exhilarating to meet new people and share so many diverse perspectives about the artwork.”

Photo Credit: Eleanor Zhang. Instagram: @eleanor.jing_zhang

We look forward to the Canadian Clay & Glass Gallery’s participation again in 2020!

– Ashley

Kelowna Art Gallery’s First Slow Art Day

This year marked the first Slow Art Day at the Kelowna Art Gallery in Kelowna, BC, Canada. Alison Trim, visual artist and graduate student in the MFA program at UBCO in Kelowna, along with the Gallery’s Public Programming Assistant Ryan Trafananko together hosted an afternoon that combined art exploration and information about the Poetics of Space exhibition.

Trim and Trafanako reported that many participants loved learning the art of slowing down and fully experiencing art — especially with this exhibition, which focused on the experience, creation, and dynamics of space.

Participants enjoying the Poetics of Space exhibition. Slowly.

We were very happy to hear that their first Slow Art Day went well, and are looking forward to Kelowna Art Gallery’s participation in 2020.

Ashley

Notes from Hosts: Leanne Wright

notesfromhosts

Stick It To the TOM on Slow Art Day!

That which is not worth contemplating in life, is not worth recreating in art.  Ayn Rand, author

On April 12th“Stick it to the TOM on Slow Art Day” visitors will be provided with post it notes and pencils and we’ll be asking you to write down your responses to the works on view and let us know what you think of them. Following the model set up in the Convergence and Look What We Have! exhibitions, these responses will be posted on the walls next to the artworks so that other people can read and discover what moved/inspired/challenged/provoked someone else in their interaction with the art. 

We will also be offering a virtual platform for those who cannot physically visit the TOM on April 12th. On that day we will be posting images from our collection and inviting people to “Stick it to the TOM on Slow Art Day” by posting their responses to the images on our Facebook page.  We’ll be tweeting some of the post it note responses on our Twitter page with the hashtags #StickItToTheTOM and #SlowArtDay if you want to follow the dialogue there as well.

SlowArtDayThe TOM is a regional art centre and INTERNATIONAL cultural attraction dedicated to the innovative spirit of landscape artist and Canadian icon, Tom Thomson. The TOM celebrates excellence in the visual arts locally, nationally and internationally, through exhibitions of historical and contemporary art, education programs and the enrichment and interpretation of its significant permanent collection. We have one of the largest collections of Tom Thomson’s work (74 pieces including artifacts), over 90 pieces by the Group of Seven, 42 pieces by world renowned photographer Edward Burtynsky as well as work by Emily Carr, John Hartman and a substantial collection of work by women and First Nation artists. We look to engage our immediate and broader audience in meaningful ways through our exhibitions and onsite and offsite programs. The TOM is the region’s main disseminator of contemporary art.  Through excellent exhibitions, publications, and engaging social media platforms and education programs, the Gallery provides a unique experience for its audiences.

So on April 12, come down to the Gallery or visit us online and tell us what you think!

Admission to the TOM is by donation.
There’s always something going on at the TOM!

– Leanne Wright

Sign up for this event here.

 

Take a Slow Look, Canada

Slow Art Day has asked its 2013 hosts and volunteers to write short summaries of their own experiences looking slowly at artworks of their choosing.

The day of my assignment, I strode into the gallery with purpose; J.E.H. MacDonald’s October Shower Gleam, 1922, was the only work I was going to spend time with that day.  This work did not initially outwardly appeal to me – I felt like I was up for a challenge to see what it would be like to look at it slowly.

J.E.H. MacDonald, October Shower Gleam, 1922. Image courtesy of WikiPaintings.

I set my alarm for the proscribed 10 minutes, and set my eyes (and mind) to work. What initially made the painting unattractive to me, the garish 70s mix of close-to-neon colours with earthy greens and browns, I set my eye to first. Looking closely at what I read as autumnal trees and brush, I soon discovered a graceful patterning of organic shapes in the entirely unnatural colours of bright pink and teal, outlined in ultramarine blue, with a ground of gessoed and textured canvas showing through. As my eye traveled downwards, towards the reflection of the landscape in the still lake, I realized that MacDonald’s depiction of water consisted solely of a reflection of the patterning I had been closely studying.

What I read as “water”, in fact, didn’t contain something normally characteristic in depictions of water; namely the colour blue. MacDonald actually had painted a ground of light orange onto which he had then transcribed his reflected scenery. Sandwiching this mirrored landscape was a mass of roiling clouds, done in wavy lines of lavender and deep purple, as well as a rocky outcropping of land containing a few windswept trees in the foreground. They squished me into the landscape in such a way that I felt like my only escape was forward, toward the rolling hills and the two small “V’s” of clear sky – away from the October shower that was imminent, seen in the shiny wetness of the purple clouds.

My “introduction” to the work lasted a mere minute or two. After that, I was lost in the landscape, its patterns, shapes, colours, and texture, until my alarm rudely interrupted. Ten minutes felt like two; I could have easily spent another ten or twenty minutes immersed in the work.

Though not initially appealing to me, I grew, through this exercise, to appreciate aspects of the work that weren’t immediately apparent. Practicing slow looking with a work I wasn’t immediately attracted to in a positive way helped me remember that to “like” and “dislike” are fluid categories (and don’t always include “appreciate”). I was also reminded not to always take other people’s word for it – it is always more rewarding to see for yourself.

-Tori McNish, Slow Art Day volunteer

Blogging, Local Art, & Slow Art Day: an Interview with Tori & Chelsey from PrairieSeen

[In this series, we interview hosts for Slow Art Day and get their thoughts on hosting, the art of looking, and the slow art community. Today we interview Tori & Chelsey, the creators of the blog PrairieSeen and hosts of Edmonton Slow Art Day.]

Slow Art Day: This year’s Slow Art Day event will be your inaugural PrairieSeen event. But, before we get to that – tell us a bit about yourselves. You are recent graduates and art advocates, right?

Tori and Chelsey: We both graduated from the University of Alberta this past year. We also worked together at the University of Alberta’s Fine Arts Building Gallery, an on-campus space that displays mainly student work in the undergraduate and graduate Fine Art and Design programs. While working at FAB, we realized that we both have a lot to say about the local art environment in Edmonton, and about art in general. That’s how our shared blog, PrairieSeen, was born.

Slow Art Day: Now, tell us about PrairieSeen.

Tori and Chelsey: PrairieSeen was started as a way to keep our Art History degrees relevant, and also to keep ourselves in the practice of writing after graduation. Since we come from an art-historical background, we feel that we approach art and art criticism from a bit of a different perspective, and wanted to share that with the Edmonton art scene.

Slow Art Day: And it’s exciting that Slow Art Day is your first event. We have a veteran host in Rome who opened her gallery several years ago with Slow Art Day. She said it was very successful and has really shaped her whole approach to all her events. So – why did you choose to make Slow Art Day your first event?

Tori and Chelsey: The fact that it is already an established international event appealed to us, and that it is free – aside from the cost of gallery admission. We really liked that Slow Art Day promotes the idea of slow looking in the gallery, and taking your time with each piece, rather than rushing through and not really seeing the works. The discussion part of the event also appealed to us – we love talking about art exhibitions, whether we liked them or not!

Slow Art Day: You have chosen to hold Slow Art Day at Latitude 53, a local independent gallery in Alberta.  What can you tell us about that gallery?

Tori and Chelsey: Latitude 53 is a not-for-profit, artist run centre here in Edmonton. It focuses on experimental, contemporary works made by artists in Alberta and hosts a lot of fundraising events throughout the year, including a weekly “patio party” series in the summer. You can read more about Latitude 53 and its mandate here: http://www.latitude53.org/  Latitude 53 is moving into a new space this spring, and we are hoping to host the event in the brand new gallery!

Slow Art Day: One final question. We were hoping more college students would sign-up as hosts at galleries and museums all over the world. We have a large college intern team but college student hosting is still in its infancy. Do you have any tips or advice for getting more college students involved? Do you want to help reach out to more students in Canada?

Tori and Chelsey: We’d love to help reach out to more students in Canada – we’re recent University graduates ourselves and we know how hard it can be to find time to be involved in non-school related events. We will reach out to art history departments here in Canada and see if we can generate more student involvement.

Slow Art Day: That’s a wonderful offer and we’d really appreciate your help in reaching more students there in Canada. Thank you!

[Make sure to check out PrairieSeen on Tumblr and Twitter, and if you’re in the Edmonton area, sign up to attend Tori & Chelsey’s Slow Art Day Event at Latitude 53.]