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Art gallery mounts completed Ophelia project

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Cathy Dobson

With summer stretching before us and the kids out of school, the Judith and Norman Alix Art Gallery (JNAAG) has several intriguing exhibits and a family-friendly Sunday art program that might appeal.

The public gallery has remounted an exhibition from 2013 that was created for the building`s grand opening with the help of several local artists. It is now part of the JNAAG`s permanent collection.

“Blackwater Ophelia” is a tribute to an 1852 painting of Hamlet`s tragic heroine by John Everett Millais.  The painting depicts a scene featuring the heartsick Ophelia after she discovered Hamlet killed her father.

Award-winning artist Adad Hannah was inspired to recreate the painting in sculpture when he was an artist-in-residence at the former Gallery Lambton.

Hannah, who graduated from the Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design in British Columbia, made several visits to Sarnia-Lambton from 2010 to 2012. During that time, he was asked to engage the community in a contemporary artistic project.

Using studio space provided by Petrolia artists Jane Austin and Norman Barney, Hannah worked with Sarnia artist Jessica Butler to create a dress for Ophelia that replicates the one in Millais’ painting.  He recruited local artist and model Hailey McHarg to help replicate the flowers. Then McHarg participated in a 12-hour photo shoot during which she was Ophelia.

The end result is a local interpretation that has been lent to other Canadian galleries and is back on display at the local art gallery until Aug. 3.  The original items painstakingly created for the photo shoot are exhibited in the foyer, while photographs and a video explaining the making of the re-creation and the community collaboration are in the Dr. J. Telford Biehn gallery upstairs.

As assistant curator Darryn Doull puts it, this is an opportunity to see all the components of the Ophelia project “click together.”

A second exhibit, `”Alma: The Life and Art of Alma Duncan” is getting great public response this summer, says Doull.

The exhibit is a retrospect of the late Ottawa artist`s work.  Duncan was gifted in many ways and the exhibition includes her paintings, drawings, film production and puppetry.

A `Talk and Tour` with the co-curator is scheduled Thursday, July 16 at 7 p.m. to discuss Alma Duncan and her work.

That brings us to the Family Sunday Art Drop Ins that run every Sunday from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.  All activities planned for July are related to the Alma Duncan exhibit.

On July 12, the drop-in involves marionette puppet making; July 19 features oil pastels and, on July 26, participants will do still life drawings.  Adults are encouraged to see the exhibitions while the kids participate in the art programs.

Remember, all exhibitions and activities at the Judith and Norman Alix Art Gallery are free-of-charge.  The gallery is located at 147 Lochiel St. in downtown Sarnia. For further details, visit www.jnaang.ca.

 

If you know about someone or something intriguing that is contributing to Sarnia`s cultural fabric, contact Cathy Dobson at cathy.dobson”thesarniajournal.ca or 226-932-0985.

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