Past & Present | Group Exhibition

Past & Present | Group Exhibition

Past & Present | Crystal Beshara, Brandon McVittie, Drew Mosley, Ava Roth and Rachael Speirs

Saturday, August 12 - 26
Watercolour Workshop with Crystal Beshara:
Tuesday, August 15 @ 1 - 3:30 pm, tickets available now! purchase HERE

Join us for a group display featuring works by Crystal Beshara, Brandon McVittie, Drew Mosley, Ava Roth, and Rachael Speirs.

Each artist in Past & Present draws from historical techniques, subjects, and artistic styles to address personal explorations in their respective mediums of embroidery, painting, and collage. Embedded with nostalgia, fantasy and the natural world, this collection of works addresses the importance of the past in informing our understanding of our present moment.

Embroidery, a method of making that was historically deemed women's labour, is celebrated and reinvented in the mixed media works of Ava Roth and Rachael Speirs. Roth deftly melds intricate embroidery with encaustic and natural raw materials such as honeycomb, horsehair, porcupine quills, driftwood, gemstones, and leaves. Embroidery, in Roth's hands, takes on a deeper appreciation of and concern for the delicate transience of nature's beauty.

(Above) Rachael Speirs, Come Now It's Not So Bad, fabric, embroidery, paper, watercolour, acrylic and gouache on canvas, 36 x 12 in.
(Right) Ava Roth, Kinsugi Magnolia Leaf, beeswax, magnolia leaf, gold leaf, gold thread, wire, Japanese paper, 6 x 6 in. 

Rachael Speirs' creates worlds of whimsical collage combining fabric, paper, paint and embroidery inspired by her grandmother's textile work and antique storybooks. Her use of embroidery appears most prominently in short phrases, such as "Oh the stories we keep...", scrawled within her compositions that hint at mystery and underlying personal and familial narratives. Speirs' works expand beyond the flat pages of a book, calling us into a world of tactile fantasy. 

(Left) Rachael Speirs, Oh the Stories We Keep, fabric, embroidery, paper, watercolour, acrylic and gouache on canvas, 36 x 48 in.

There is a distinct feeling of connection to times-past in this collection of works stemming from a desire to maintain the stylistic qualities of traditional and renaissance art. Drew Mosley and Brandon McVittie both bring traditional painting styles into their own contemporary conversations.

The stylistic qualities of the Dutch Renaissance coalesce with Drew Mosley's whimsical painted characters to address the climate crisis and balance of ecosystems. Mosley plunges us into his distinct world where personified creatures of all kinds are isolated in moments of survival and symbiotic care.

Brandon McVittie studied traditional techniques and fosters a deep appreciation for the craftsmanship of 19th Century painting and the nostalgia connected to a style associated with a particular time period. 

(Right) Drew Mosley, Old Guard, acrylic on panel, 30 x 40 in, framed by Wall Space

His vistas, grounded in imagination are compilations of memories of the Scottish, Irish, English, and Canadian countryside. He strives to incorporate his nostalgia for vintage sentiment in his painting; conveying the old as new again.

(Above) Brandon McVittie, Loch Taig, oil on panel, 36 x 18 in, framed by Wall Space

Crystal Beshara
's realistic watercolours feature rural scenes, seascapes, and vibrant floral arrangements. Beshara brings her memories of growing up in rural Ontario into striking clarity. Dappled with light and the slowly crumbling structures of old farm houses - their walls and roofs etched and weather-worn - Beshara's paintings commemorate these mainstays of the Canadian landscape that have been standing since her youth. 

Crystal Beshara, Basking in the Glow, watercolour on paper, 12 1/4 x 9 1/4 in.

Moving between the works in this show is the desire to honour ways of working amidst their adaptation; an appreciation for the old which is the seed for the new. Each of these artists create pathways through their process that connect us to the past - whether it is the familiarity of nostalgia, a matriarchal influence or an art movement that touched a generation. 

- Tiffany April 


Gallery Hours:
Monday - Friday: 10 - 6 pm 
Saturday: 10 - 5 pm 
Sunday: Closed 

Please feel free to use our customer parking located just behind the building off of Danforth Ave. We look forward to seeing you at the gallery!

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