Road Trip: McMaster Museum of Art

This past weekend I headed to The Hammer, Hamilton, Ontario to visit with some friends. They live there but were in town so I hitched a ride with them on their way home. Our first stop was the McMaster Museum of Art, on the campus of McMaster University.
Michael Davidson, Distant Shore  2008

I was encouraged to go check the gallery out by artist and curator Michael Davidson who is currently working in Oshawa on a project. He curated an exhibition at the McMaster as a guest curator called Autoplasmic.

The exhibition explores the idea of an artist both being and making art and includes works by the curator himself alongside other Canadian and international artists. Some big names with works featured in this exhibition are Paul Klee and Auguste Rodin, whose works are sourced from the permanent collection of the McMaster Museum of Art.

In his curator's essay Davidson cites Barnett Newman’s 1945 essay The Plasmic Image: “it can be said that the artist, like a true creator is delving into chaos [and] it is precisely this that makes him an artist [trying] to wrest truth from the void.” 

Though the big art names are always cool to check out I was most taken by the artist-curator's works. His technique is a mystery to me, as it is noted as "mixed media". Ah, the elusive claim that is "mixed media"! If I was to guess I would venture to say the artist places wax on heavy paper and then uses gel transfer or another printing method  to transfer photographic works over top of this wax medium, but that is just a guess based on observation. The result is a translucent layering of image and shape that is engrossing and haunting.

Michael Davidson, Caspar   2008

While the essay and concept of the exhibition is challenging, the works appealed to the senses, creating an exhibition of unique experiences for the eye and an accessible art experience for any type of visitor. 

This exhibition took up one of four of the gallery spaces, while other travelling shows assumed other available spaces. A variety of works including sculpture, installation, video and more traditional forms such as print and painting were on view. Just the right size of space to spend an hour or two, the McMaster Museum of Art is well worth stopping into. 

The exhibitions change about every two months, plus it gives you a worthwhile excuse to feel like a student again, whilst walking around on the pretty campus.

It's a pay-what-you-can gallery on the McMaster University campus. 
Learn more about the gallery here.
Read the gallery blog here.

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