Many locals are familiar with Boarding House Gallery as an exhibition space for, namely, SOFAM (School of Fine Arts and Music) student group shows. Assignment, may at first glance appear to resemble another one of these student group shows, however upon further investigation the context of the exhibition reveals itself as something different.
Assignment is a group exhibition showcasing SOFAM professors and instructors.
Ella Dawn McGeough
The catch? Each artist’s work in the show is the product of them completing their own assignments that they have their students complete. The works in the show are labeled with numbers that correspond to pages in a booklet. Inside the booklet contains the assignment instructions for the corresponding work in the gallery.
The exhibition describes itself as an invitation to “art professors to be answerable to their projects, and perhaps discover the projects’ conceptual/technical implications for themselves (Boarding House Arts, 2023).” Typically when these assignments that are documented in the gallery are being carried out it is by students who are “answerable to the professors’ parameters (Boarding House Arts, 2023).” Yet professors are not required to “be tested and transformed by the projects” themselves (Boarding House Arts, 2023). This exhibition aims to show what it might look like for professors to not only complete their own assignments but be answerable and transformed by them, especially in a conceptual sense.
The exhibition contains a variety of work utilizing multiple mediums and techniques. More interestingly though, there is a varied degree of works that feel ‘finished’ versus ‘experimental.’ This can be attributed to the premise of the exhibition itself. Some of the assignments call for a finished body of work, while others feel more like experimental exercises.
The assignment, Etching: Archival Impulses, by Kristie MacDonald requires a completed edition of intaglio etchings of high technical quality as well as carefully engaging conceptually with the “notion of the archive” (Boarding House Arts, 2023). Macdonald’s resulting work, Floated to Sea, reflects the artist’s own assignment parameters as the viewer is presented with a carefully considered image technically and conceptually.
Etching: Archival Impulses, contrasts well with Untitled Assignment by James Carl. Untitled Assignment asks students to complete a series of portrait sketches using a digital drawing application called ‘Sketchbook.’ The assignment encourages students to explore and experiment with the variety of tools and layers ‘Sketchbook’ offers. Carl’s resulting piece Autopilot resembles a quick sketch study rather than a finished piece.
Assignment is on until Saturday January 28th at 6 Dublin Street South. The exhibition hours are Friday and Saturday 12pm-4pm and a closing reception from 12pm-6pm of the 28th.
Boarding House Arts. (2023). Assignment. Guelph, Ontario.