Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mary Peppard's Reception

OKWA member, Mary Peppard, had a well attended opening at The Mill Street Cafe/Gallery on Sunday July 25.  Martine Bresson captured a few photo opportunities.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

NEW EVENT: Mary Peppard's Reception

Mary Peppard's reception at The Mill Street Gallery is this coming SUNDAY, JULY 25 from 1 to 3pm.

The Mill Street Gallery/Cafe, 4400 Mill Street, Sydenham, Ontario
613 376 1533
Open for lunches Tuesday to Saturday 1to 4pm. Dinner Saturdays only.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

New Gallery in Yarker

New gallery and cultural center in Yarker started by Anna Rau  and Andzeij Maciejewski

2838 County Road 6 in Yarker, P.O. Box 174, K0K 3N0

e-mail: or phone: 613.877. 4532

Out in the Sticks Cultural Centre in Yarker  opened on February 2nd, 2010. The program  includes Film Discussion Club (bi-weekly film screenings with lectures and discussions), art slide-shows and photography talks. Apart from that there are plans to run a concert series, free workshops, activities for children and youth, an art gallery and annual art festival.

David Pickering opens the NEW GALLERY on August 7th, 5 to 7pm.


MEMBERSHIP 2010: Anderson, June. Back, Hanna. Bresson, Martine. Burns, Barbara. Cain, Wendy. Carr, Barb. Cassidy, Arlene. Christensen, Kathrine. Cowan, Rebecca. Crawford, Mary. Derby, Jane. Falkner, Suki. Hughes, Margaret. Jagger, Maya. Jass,Sandra. Kapell, Alana. LaRose, Michele. Lipson, Kristen. Loney, Zillah. Lyon, Sue. Milne, Sally. Morley, Peggy. Olson, Erika. Peppard, Mary. Sheedy,Su. Spielmann, Isadora. Springer, Judy. Taras, Lee-Ann. Thelwell, Jane. Thompson, Sharon. Van Dijk, Janice. Van Geest, Mieke. Vowles, Verna. Winik, J.T. Withrow, Julie.

Executive 2010: June Anderson, Michele LaRose, Hanna Back, Martine Bresson. Jane Derby. Mary Peppard. Lee-Ann Taras.


Monday, July 19, 2010



       Juror, Lauren Pierce-Hull, Jane Derby, Wendy Cain, Zillah Loney, Hanna Back

Hannah Back 2010, "Vessel"

Jane Derby 2010 "Alchemy"

Zillah Loney 2010, "Aquamarine Ballet"

"White Cape II" 2010


Martine Bresson 2007/09
Zillah Loney 2007
Hanna Back 2006 "Guardian"

Hanna Back 2004 "Golden Spiral on Double Walled Bowl"
Hanna Back 2003 "One or Two?"
Alana Kapell 2002 "My Mother's Teacup, My Grandmother's Doilie"


THE EARLY INSTIGATORS: Sarindar Dhaliwal, Jocelyn Purdie and Alana Kapell, 1980's

1980's performance art by OKWA members and supporters
"The Guerilla Girls emerged in the mid-1980's when some female artists realized that conventional methods of protest weren't working with respect to women's representation in the art community. Their approach to change is full of humour and catchy slogans such as 'Do women have to be naked to get into the Met?' ".

Beth McPhail, Malka Kauffman and Aida Sulcs McDonald performing in an early Women's Art Festival in the 80's.


Jocelyn Purdie partnered with Alana Kapell to form the Kingston Women Artists and continued devoting her efforts to incorporating the group into the Organization of Kingston Women Artists, giving many years to this group.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


OKWA exhibits annually and sometimes twice a year. The group has shown numerous times in the Wilson Room of the Kingston Public Library, in the Edward Day Gallery Kingston, The Brock Street Gallery Kingston, Gallery Raymond Kingston, the Mill Street Gallery Sydenham, and Mad Dog Gallery Picton. 

The Birkenstock Sisters performing at 1993 OKWA show at The Kingston Artists Association Inc.

Alex, Julie Withrow, Isidora Spielmann viewing the OKWA 1993 exhibition.

Installing pictures in Kingston Central Library, Wilson Room

A job well done!

       The finished products.......

Barb Carr, President and Chameleon Nation, Ashleigh Fortune getting ready to present prizes, 2009

and the lucky winner is......

J.T. Winik

Jurors (Lorraine Pierce-Hull 2010, Monica Aebisher),  
and Barb Carr, OKWA president, speaking in the Wilson Room Exhibitions.


Mary PeppardPresident & Treasurer: fall 2010 Mill Street Gallery Show, Board meetings, AGM, membership 
June Anderson, VP: jury for new members, annual scholarship, advertising contacts
Lee-Ann Taras, Secretary: minutes and records and membership lists
Barb Carr, Past President: Yahoo group and long term planning
Martine Bresson, Past President: website and blog
Jane Derby: Wilson Room 2011 Exhibition and Artists Talks
Hanna Back: Belleville Public Library Show (2011?)
Alana Kapell: blog and website, coordinator of Mill Street Gallery OKWA Project

PRESIDENT:2007 to 2010 Barb Carr and Martine Bresson2002 to 06 Sandra Jass. 1997/98 Gabrielle Sims, Cheri Evans. Maureen Sheridan 1995/1996/97/ 1989/1990/1994/1995. 1991,92,93 senior advisor, Jocelyn Purdie. 1989,1990 co-president and the works, Alana Kapell
VICEPRESIDENT: 2010 June Anderson. 2003 to 05 Delvalle.1997/1998 Jane Karchmar. Mary Peppard 1995/1996/97.
SECRETARY: 2008 to 2010 Lee-Ann Taras2002 to 07 Judy Springer. Aida Sulcs McDonald 1997/98. Joanne Marion 1995/96. Maureen Sheridan 1994/1995. 1992 Carla Miedema.1995 Peggy Morley.
TREASURER:  2002 to 2010 Mary Peppard. 1994/1995/1996/97 Carla Miedema. 1992 Janis Swaren.
NEWSLETTER: Jocelyn Purdie 1997/98.1993 Deborah Washington.
PROGRAMMING: Alana Kapell 1994/1995. 1994 Deborah Brown.
DISTRIBUTION: 1989-1991 Alana Kapell. 1992 Mary Sue Rankin.1995 Jane Fawcett, Cheri Evans, Hanna Back.
PUBLICATIONS: Cheri Evans 1996/97.Rose Stewart 1995/96. 1992/1993/1994 Lori Richards. 1992/1993 Margaret Hughes, Sharon Thompson, Carol Leonard. Rose Stewart, Cavelle Macdonell, Terry Winik 1995.1992 cover design Deborah Washington.
Editor 1992/1995 Jane Karchmar.
Sponsors Chairman: 1992 Lyn Rapin.
Chairperson: 1992 Sharon Thompson.1995 Liz Rae Dalton.
Bookkeeper: 1992 Jocelyn Purdie.

without portfolio at various times:  Margaret Hughes, Carla Miedema, Maureen Sheridan, Liz Rae, Hanna Back, Alana Kapell, Gabrielle Sims, Mary Sue Rankin, Zillah Loney, Jane Derby, Bernadette Pratt, Kristen Lipson, Sally Milne, Trudi van der Elsen, Sharon Thompson.
ex-officio: Jan Allen.

With grant money in 1995 a portion of the grant was used to pay a coordinator's fee. The coordinator was responsible for administrative and programming activities including ongoing and new sources of promotion of  OKWA (for the centre, the programs and the activities), visiting artist arrangements, grant report writing in consultation with board, statistical and photographic documentation of events, newsletter development, restructuring of board to meet needs of organization, training volunteers, community outreach and fundraising events.  An important task of the coordinator was the consolidation of the organizational structure and development of programming strategies for the ongoing operations of the OKWA. These tasks were accomplished in cooperation with the OKWA board of directors via the AGM and ongoing board meetings. Jocelyn Purdie had this position.


"We want to create useful art, art that is part of our daily lives."
article by Sandra Cipriano on The Kingston Women Artists' Datebook:

  "Asked about how the concept evolved, Alana says, 'Jocelyn and I had been playing around with the idea of reproductions for a while and we decided to just do it.'  We wanted to get together with other women and get work out in print because it reaches more people. This is the first time Canadian women artists have been published in this format. Art books are placed on shelves and then forgotten. Calendars are part of our daily lives."
  The reaction of the community has been very enthusiastic, says Kapell. The Kingston Artists' Association was particularly generous and sponsored the organization. The women still had to do some fairly aggressive fund-raising, however. Their efforts included a dance at the Baby grand, and a raffle. Funding also came from the individual artists. Each woman was asked to contribute $300 to the venture. Asked how the artists reacted to that, Alana Kapell says that women were quite willing to put that much in. One woman, a student who is in debt, even said she was willing to borrow if she had to, in order to be included in this venture. It is all the more astonishing when you think that it was done on trust. None of us had a very clear idea of what the end product would be like. She also says a few men balked at the project's exclusion of male artists, calling it 'sexist'. We simply wanted to get together as women. The focus was not on excluding men.
  Nevertheless, she found the dynamics in an all-female group to be definitely different from working in a mixed group. 'The emphasis was on co-operation. We've enjoyed learning and creating together and sharing our artistic energy.' She feels optimistic about the status of women artists: 'In the past, it is true, women artists were neglected. Today, I don't think there's anything stopping us from getting stuff done. Women's art history courses are being taught more and more. Things are changing."
   They are already planning their next project in which they plan to weave a connecting theme around the individual works in the datebook. In this next project they will also have twice as many contributors. 'It will be the responsibility of each artist to sponsor another. We have grown into a tightly-knit group and trust each other's judgement."
Kingston This Weekend Saturday November 10, 1990  Lynn Rees Lambert:
"Call it organizing your time. Beautifully."


Lenni Workman 

"The Kingston Women Artists was founded as a non-profit, independent association to provide a forum for regional women artists to share their experiences and as a means to present their work to the public. The datebook format was chosen for the latter purpose because datebooks produced by women have become symbolic of their desire to empower themselves. Books such as this have brought to women's everyday lives an aesthetic that challenges traditional notions of femininity. Users of the Kingston Women Artists Datebook will share in the pride the artists have taken in developing the new skills and knowledge necessary for its production and distribution.
   Of the 24 artists represented in the datebook, only one was born in Kingston. The majority of these women have made a conscious choice to live in the area. As a Canadian city, Kingston has a relatively large population of artists. Kingstonians enjoy easy access to quiet lakes and countrysides; it may be this characteristic that draws and keeps artists. Whether or not landscape appears in their work, many artists are strengthened and inspired by nature. In turn, the landscape shapes individual expression. Generally, the work done by artists who move to the region is not the avant-garde, installation type characteristic of urban centres. While not unaware of the national and international art scene, these artists have resisted the lure of large urban centres and all they have to offer in the way of a broader art scene, critical response to their work, and improved access to exhibition opportunities and supplies. Indeed it is this very position, which often forms the basis for bonding of regional groups.
  There are a great variety of styles among the 24 artists; however, a kind of mystical-surrealism prevails. Many of the voices speak personally, anecdotally from private dream worlds. When many of the artists speak of their work, they refer to it as an expression the connection between their everyday lives. For example, "my elements of the absurd and fantastic--just enough to keep me questioning and moving forward." Perhaps the book format enhances what one artist refers to as an invitation to explore and interpret the work in the context of their own experience. In fact, the strength of some of these works may be lost in a gallery setting; they require the more personal contact of repeated viewings.
   In addition, within the surrealist style there is a feminist message. Women appear, not as they have historically in art--as objects of beauty--but as active subjects of their own earthly and spiritual lives. But, perhaps, the ultimate feminist message is the production of the datebook itself; a collection of strong and vibrant images in a well-conceived format.

Lisa Moore 

Why not shells and potatoes meeting in a field?" Connie Morris
  these works speak of unexpected encounters, testifying to the risks and pleasures of that exciting, unstable space, both inside and outside male-dominated cultural institutions, from which women artists can observe the world. From the vantage point of that space, unlikely juxtapositions prove the most powerful: the eerie chase among delicate, homely potatoes and rapacious shells in Connie Morris' The Meeting; the poignant, comical dance between an elegant star in evening clothes and the plumed courtly chickens who match his bow in Mary Peppard's Fred Astaire and the Dancing Chickens; the simple, brutal rebuff of a naked plea in Jane Karchmar's Two Women at War.
"What if Fred had seen this?" Mary Peppard
   Sometimes the strangest encounters occur between familiar domestic spaces and the people who inhabit them. Jan Allen's After the Drug Mart Fire makes a beautiful, bloody monument out of the graceless building where before the fire, haemorrhoid remedies had been compared, condoms covertly purchased. And in True Stories--1957, Deborah Brown's attention to the handwritten recipe and simple, block-printed muffin shape illuminates the careful craft that lies behind traditional homemaking, made to seem effortless and natural in slick Fifties magazine images.
   Other artists have looked further afield for the shock of the unfamiliar. In Jocelyn Purdie's Tree of Mourning, for example, Arab headdresses create an implicitly political context for the work's threatening gesture, in which spiky tree branches slice at soft, vulnerable textile heads. The flat, innocent perspective of Sarindar Dhaliwal's The Banana Forest, however, creates an exotic space in which beautiful and playful juxtapositions of animals and flowers, colours and shapes coalesce and dissolve, it would seem, for the sheer childlike pleasure of it.
"Things get hooked up in my mind…" Lori Richards
   The explicit images of childhood in this collection, however, tend to me more ambiguous. In Phileen Dickinson's Child in a Garden, for example, the shiny-cheeked Gerber baby is flanked on one side by the traditional threat of a snake coiled ready to spring, and on the other by a more subtle, perhaps more truly dangerous mass of flowers that cluster and suck suffocatingly around the child's face and body. And in Maureen Sheridan's The Pebble, the heightened realism of the image, with its bright, flat light, and the child's position, facing away from the viewer perhaps in self-absorption but perhaps also in fear or loneliness, challenge the idyllic quality of the painting.
"Aha!" Sharon Thompson
   The explosion of light over a woman's head; a clear eye staring out from a lush confusion of colour; a triptych of vibrating globes laying open like ripe fruits. Such moment of illumination and discovery abound in this rich and challenging collection."

Sarolta Gyoker 

"The works offer gentle yet powerful, playful yet strong personal passages to moments of density marked by new questions or answers. In either case, they initiate us in an intimate encounter--with light, colour and form, as with personal discoveries in a shiningly resonant and non-obtrusive way."

   There exists an encounter between question and offering, wonderment and touch. This touch is the expression of reality felt and seen, fusing moments of intensity experienced in the past and in the present. that art is a bridge over moments of search and revelation, whether this revelation manifests itself through intuition, smile or laughter, is suggested in manifold ways by the present works of Kingston's women artists.
   A celebration takes place in these works. A celebration of colours connecting the inside and the outside, the self and the other. A celebration of instances, of periods, of the paint and clay themselves. Worlds coalesce as the deeply personal becomes, as it is, the inherently universal.
   The gaze is perhaps directed less to factuality than to an all embracing actuality--to concerns of exploration and search, desire and memory, to the sense of both belonging and remaining separate. These works are welcoming windows to realms of personal experience--those of the female body, the mind and the spirit. They are marked by the elegance of restrained openness and linked by an awareness of the feminine as well as of the human condition at large. These confessions are celebratory, exploratory and insightful, without any sense of explanation or didacticism. Their power derives from the awareness they contain, and from the courage with which this awareness is intimately shared with the spectator.
   The works in this calendar are also encounters. The encounters with one's self take place on various levels embracing the physical, the spiritual and the historical realms. Jan Allen's ecstasy-invoking Teresa, Hanna Back's womb-like Solitude1 and Judy Springer's vulvic The Goddess is Within are sculptural portraits of aspects of the self, encompassing desire and sexuality, containment and creativity, inner spaces and outer shapes associated with the f meal body. Anne Clarke's six-part Collection of Trophies is a self-exploratory evocation of the magic propensities and power ancient Celtic peoples attributed to one's facial features. In Red Tree at Sangster Lake, Sharon Thompson's encounter with diaphanous forces of the natural world is at the same time an encounter with the ineffable residing within one and fusing one with All. Lori Richard's Take to Light and Veronica Desjardin's Lament are memory-laden invocations of spiritual experiences located in one's condition of partaking the terrestrial as well as the celestial, in one's place between the lost and the found. The often vertiginous encounter that takes place between one's self and ego is rendered precariously in Jane Karchmar's meditatively parabolic On a Tightrope: Compassion Deborah Washington's explosive Over the Volcano--one of her "chaos-paintings"--,Mary Sue Rankin's softly sensuous Whistler Morning Rising and April Tracey's dynamically playful More Bees Please are encounters resisting shapes and forms readily available in the visible realm of figuration, while transporting experiences onto planes defined by pure rhythm and colour. Sarindar Dhaliwal's Rendezvous between an Angel and a Blackbird juxtaposes the tesserae of real and dreamt encounters with past and present, Eastern and Western art and culture in a fine mosaic of vibrant aquarelles and exotic feathers. Margaret Hughes's Piazza San Francesco di Paola is an evocation of a meeting of past and present history through the sensuously warm earth colours of a graffiti-tattooed Renaissance wall bathed in the gold of the Mediterranean sun.
   Whether as encounters, evocations or isights, the present works offer gentle yet powerful, playful yet strong personal passages to moments of density marked by new questions or answers. In either case, they initiate us in an intimate encounter--with light, colour and form, as well as with personal discoveries in a shiningly resonant and non-obtrusive way."

Sarindar Dhaliwal 

"In the spring of 1989 the idea to produce the first Kingston women Artists Datebook was hatched amongst the breakfast debris of a table at the Top Card Restaurant. Artists lead busy lives, often juggling three part-time jobs, family demands, household chores and their artistic disciplines. So, we used to meet early in the mornings at the diner on the corner of Rideau and Bay Streets, where the waitresses remembered how you liked your bacon and eggs and the management accepted Canadian Tire money as payment; both of which customs we found quaint and endearing in a world of constantly eroding traditions and values.
   Over the past four years the Kingston Women Artists has provided an arena for a number of women to share information about artistic opportunities, to develop ideas for teaching art, and to participate in other community projects. Publication of the Datebook has given our members the chance to learn new and useful skills such as editing, fundraising, and graphics and printing techniques. We have been generously supported by local businesses and individuals, both through financial donations and attendance at the various functions we have sponsored. We have sought to make the Datebook an object of beauty and local pride; and we believe that, in time, it will be a relevant and important historical document of the activities of a particular group of artists working in this city at a particular time.
   As I write this introduction, in a city two thousand miles away from the limestone and the snow, I think of images from past Datebooks. The strength of the Datebook has been the wide spectrum of work that has appeared in its pages. A segment of our public may have found some of the work disturbing or unacceptable. But timidity can lead to mediocrity. To preserve Kingston's reputation as a viable and respected regional art centre, we must ensure that the Datebook does not become a repository of safe, palatable pictures.
  The Organization of Kingston Women Artists is presently diversifying its activities, and is offering more to more artists while remaining a flexible and protean organization capable of responding to artists' changing exigencies. As our membership is now open to all women, both artists and supporting Kingston residents, we hope to initiate public discussions, which can help demystify gender issues and cultural politics. Our organization may be able to facilitate joint ventures between the art departments of the university and the community college or among the public, parallel and commercial galleries.
 These activities reflect the desire of many women artists here to expand their artistic practices as well as to question the critical and theoretical boundaries of their work. The reality for most of our members has been one of working in relative isolation, with limited access to larger centers for purposes of viewing exhibitions, attending lectures, and networking with other artists. These activities are of prime importance in establishing and maintaining artistic careers. Therefore our long-term goal in Kingston is to provide a forum, as accessible for women here as those existing in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, where exciting and fruitful collaborations can be instigated between individual artists and groups.
   One might ask if it is still necessary to focus exclusively on women 22 years after art historian Linda Nochlin first posed the question, "Why have there been no great women artists?" Ask any woman who has persevered in refining and believing in her talent. Not all, but far too many will tell the same tale of discouragement and of work that has been ignored or trivialized. There remains a tendency in our society to patronize women, and we are often still ridiculed if we complain about sexism and harassed if we act against discrimination.
   The Datebook allows the women artists of Kingston to present their images directly to the public without the censorship of the establishment's ideas of quality and suitability, artificial and ephemeral obstacles (often grounded in the art world's shifting allegiances to commerce and careers) that have kept many artists out of the mainstream, the canon and the museums. Our imaginations are our greatest asset and neither highbrow nor lowbrow tastes should dictate or restrict our production.
   Last year, the Top Card Restaurant was one of the sponsors of the Datebook. This gesture underlined the community spirit and tenacity, which has enabled the Kingston Women Artists to produce this, their fifth datebook.

Leslie Korrick 

   The publication of the 1995 Kingston Women Artists Datebook marks six years of artistic activity undertaken by members of the Organization of Kingston Women Artists. Celebrating the production of women, its diversity and its difference, this annual datebook testifies to the dedication of women artists in and around the city to maintaining a widely accessible, public presence. And the uninterrupted publication of the Datebook since 1990 is a reminder of Kingston's continued support for these artists as well as their organization. Not all creative communities are so fortunate.

"Do women have to be naked to get into the Met. Museum? Less than 5% of the artists in the Modern Art Sections are women, but 85% of the nudes are female." (Guerrilla Girls poster, SoHo, 1990.)

   As a relative newcomer to Kingston--one who is passionate about looking at, and thinking on, both contemporary and historical art--it is reassuring to find the activities of the Organization of Kingston Women Artists flourishing, especially since we live in a period which, in crucial ways, still denies women an independent and recognized voice, not to mention a platform to speak from. Women can use their art to commemorate confidently their Otherness: to speak their concerns, to describe their pleasures, to record their experiences, and to explore their imaginary worlds. The markmaking reproduced in this datebook reminds us of this on a daily basis.

"Woman is the equal of man." (Wendy Cain, artist, Kingston Women Artists Datebook, 1995.)

   The images that some of Kingston’s women artists share with us through this year’s Datebook should be viewed on their own terms. They are presented outside the context of the commercial gallery, public art museum, juried exhibition, or academy; they appear thanks to the initiative and enthusiasm of the artists rather than because they mirror current art trends or respond to the accompanying demands of the marketplace. The works do not primarily exist to compete with those enshrined in the canon of Western art. In this respect, the collection is courageous and the Organization of Kingston Women Artists may be congratulated for promoting it in the face of reactionary views of women’s art production by those who still hold the power to determine the construct of “great” art.

“There have been some very talented lady painters, but…I don’t think any of these painters can hold a candle to what we…would call the ‘Big Boys’.” (S.J. Freedberg, art historian and chief curator emeritus, National Gallery of Washington, ARTnews, March 1994.)

   I invite you to enjoy the images in the Kingston Women Artists Datebook, to contemplate, and to interrogate its richly varied offerings. Remind yourself of the vitality of women’s art in the city; reaffirm your commitment to supporting women’s artistic endeavour as the year unfolds.”

 Jan Allen 

   This is the seventh compendium of art in datebook form produced by the Organization of Kingston Women Artists. In addition to its function as an object for daily use and pleasure the datebook is a valuable record of art production in this time and place. OKWA has an impressive record of achievement. Its successes reflect the cultural vitality of this community, the growing empowerment of women and the trump of values of mutual support.
   The works presented in this edition of the datebook were chosen by Sarindar Dhaliwal, Daphne Emanuel, Margaret Hughes and Jocelyn Purdie from submitted images. Although the selection at first glance seems diverse in character, there is a common thread of intention in that the works are conceived as vessels of heightened experience. these images convey altered states of awareness within a romantic conception of art making largely untouched by the theory-driven and politically self-conscious discourse that has permeated visual art in larger centres through the past decade.
   J.T. Winik's artist's statement stands for the whole when she writes, "At the root of each expression is the need to explore." the artists conjure up new understandings of the world without losing touch with the pleasures of the particular. At its most straightforward, this is accomplished when transient light transforms ordinary moments in works by Peggy Morley, Margaret Hughes and Maureen Sheridan. Julie Kojro and Carla Miedema evoke the sublime through the trope of historical Canadian landscape painting--the composition of the latter's Solitude is startlingly similar to Arthur Lismer's 1922 treatment of the same site. In the same vein, we sense the artist's reach for the sweet dislocation of alterity in the penetrating heat of Mary Sue Rankin's View from Tucson.
   Many of the works explore the spaces between things; they make connections by reaching beneath the veil of the obvious for revelation. The fruitful disorientation of travel is ordered by the lens of memory in Jocelyn Purdie's rich collage drawing, Illusion #2. A similar feeling is conjured up in Wendy Cain's print, Shipwreck Dreaming/Voyage, with its allusion to the permeable border between sleeping and waking states.
   In several cases, the images make explicit reference to belief systems. Hanna Back's mosque forms and Verna Vowles' mystically inspired patterning are but two examples. Jane Karchmar's Whirling: at Home in the Void is one of a series of female icons documenting the spiritual journey toward enlightenment. Images from Western religious tradition convey spiritual states in Alana Kapell's mesmerizing Mary Magdalen and Vicki Westgate's grief-filled Madonna and Chair. There is a quiet politics of personal illumination at work here.
   For all its apparent variety, a shared intention and vocabulary informs the works gathered in the 1996 Datebook: the familiar is taken as a route to the speculative. Such intimacy is well suited to the Datebook form. The reproductions encountered while checking the time of a dental appointment or job interview weave themselves into the daily experience of the user.
   In this era of mass production and consumption in an increasingly homogenized global economy, the Datebook enjoys an unusual relationship of shared community with its audience/users. It reflects the entwined lives characteristic of a small urban centre. The ever-widening distribution of the Datebook suggests that this intimacy appeals to many living outside the Kingston region--a paradox that conjures up the satisfying trepan of a recurrent specificity."

Milly Ristvedt Juror for 2002 OKWA exhibit entitled "Things Big and small"

I was asked to jury this year's exhibition at the "eleventh hour", after efforts to find someone from outside the Kingston area available to perform this honourable task had been unsuccessful. The challenge in such a situation, where one may know some of the artists (or at least their work), and be unfamiliar with others, is to remain impartial and objective while viewing. For this I must depend on my experience as artist and teacher, both of which require the constant exercise of critical evaluation.

As I reminded those assembled at the reception, my perceptions are developed out of a synthesis of personal and common experience: which as considerable as it may be, does not amount to omniscience. Another juror might have selected some of the work I did for special mention, but complete consensus would be unlikely.
I spent a good hour on a quiet afternoon viewing the works of this exhibition, in several stages. My immediate impression was of a generally high level of skill. On second viewing, I began to make notes about works that were standing out in some way. On subsequent viewings, some of those initial responses were changed as I began to see more.
Amongst many fine works I noted were: the meticulously-crafted mixed media piece by Pam Ludlum: the consistency of vision evident in the history of work presented by Jane Karchmar: Mary Lou Ashton's joyous abstract aptly titled "Red, Yellow and Grey": and the perfectly realized works by two well-known Kingston artists, Maureen Sheridan and J.T. Winik.

The pieces I kept coming back to began conversations with me that continued for days after viewing the exhibition, and it was the work of the following four artists that was the most insistent.

Alana Kapell's finely crafted painting, more than a conversation, was a declarative statement; a representation of a personal treasure and family memento, a teacup and saucer, that went beyond personal reflection to engage me (the viewer) through the use of a very contemporary museological device, the side panel with text.

Mary Peppard's appropriation of the work of the 17th century French artist, Adelaide Labille-Guirard, encouraged me to go beyond the idealized image of the obviously aristocratic mother and child depicted, and to consider similar relationships: mother-child-viewer-social world and status in contemporary terms, simply by its deliberate use of un-natural, in fact, surreal, colour. This was a conversation that insinuated itself into my consciousness until it became insistent.

Aida Sulcs McDonald's work, "Our Daily Bread", was problematic. In the end, I am still uncertain of my interpretation of it, but it seemed to be taking more risks than many. The collaged ground behind the family figures recounts for me the little events that become part of the routine of daily life for most of us, such as the grocery bills, the dentist appointments etc. all of it evidence that instead of being filled with momentous occurrences, our days are for the most part taken up with the simple struggle to get from one end to the other without serious mishap. The text written across the surface of the work-a fragment of using on the subject of polygamy (some of it frustratingly illegible)-does not immediately connect with the underlying work. The title seems to relate to the collaged ground only. Is there a connection between these two seemingly disparate objects? Is some version of polygamy being considered a better solution to the 'single partner/no partner family structures that women with children must choose between in contemporary western society?

Trudi van der Elsen's life-size black and white photographic print depicts a woman attired in turn-of-the-19th-century dress, standing outdoors in winter snow. She stand with her back to the viewer, screen by branches, holding a monstrously large axe at her side. One could assume that she is simply out to chop some firewood, but there is nothing in the picture to assure one that this is so, and so the door to the imagination is left open to other possibilities. I found this to be a powerful and suggestive image, although I would have wished to see it without the distracting glossy ripple across the surface of the print paper."

The following notes concerning the process of jurying were read to those assembled at the reception, and I hope give some insight:
-What is the initial impact of the work? So much is registered and decided in that first glance-which sometimes is confirmed during further stages of the viewing process, but sometimes undergoes major corrections and revisions on subsequent viewing.
-How wide is the net? What risks have been taken? How many levels of interpretation, emotional response or visual reading is possible?
-In the most general way, these were among several markers I considered. The evident concept or motif and the substantiveness and relevance of elements within the chosen form were among them, as were appropriate skills of execution. By this I mean, is the work resolved successfully in terms of composition, technique and craft to a point of clarity? This is the aesthetic pertinent to the work, the means of seducing me into paying attention in the first place, and continuing to keep me engaged.  (Award winners 2002 OKWA show: Trudi van der Elsen, Alana Kapell, Aida Sulcs McDonald, Mary Peppard.)