Observations Ongoing: Recent Acquisitions
June 8th, 2013 to September 22nd, 2013
This exhibition of work primarily by regional artists, evokes ideas of passage, interval, and change. These senses play out in gridded panels by Ed Zelenak. Combining the conventions of relief sculpture with a painterly application of metal solder, the work resembles imagery used for meditation, such as hieroglyphics, pictographs and certain medieval illuminations. These concepts similarly exemplified by Toronto’s Kelly Mark’s close-up, serial views of road markers, which together riff on semiotics and minimalist abstraction, and heighten our awareness of the mundane.
Works by David Bobier and Gary Spearin convey different methods of communication: in one case, the technology of early mapmaking is merged with carved hands posed in the gestures of hand gestures and sign language; in another, we can see oscillating perceptual effects at play in the artist’s explorations of colour and gestural theory.
The contemplative nature of the works in Observations Ongoing aligns it with features of the Bernice Vincent and Kim Ondaatje projects. The exhibition also marks Museum London’s first opportunity to share a selection of recent donations and purchases with our audiences.
Myfanwy MacLeod, or There and Back Again
April 20th, 2013 to July 7th, 2013
This exhibition traces the past fifteen years of the career of Myfanwy MacLeod, highlighting complex, irreverent works which bring into play a variety of themes and media.
Much of MacLeod’s work has explored ways of living that have sometimes been seen as marginal, including such customs as the making of backwoods “moonshine” (The Complete Practical Distiller, 2009) and the reliance on traditional folklore as a way of navigating one’s way in the world (the Hex paintings of 2009).
MacLeod also orients her work within the history of art, referencing formalist sculpture and abstract painting as well as traditional forms. Most recently, for example, she folds and cuts movie posters and pictures from men’s magazines into complex origami shapes to combine references to “high” and “low” culture.
Now based in Vancouver, MacLeod was born and raised in London, Ontario. This exhibition includes works from the Museum London collection, which were, in part, inspired by her reminiscences of a youth spent in this area. Other new works, such as Stack (2012) and Ramble On (2013) are convivial observations on youthful idealism as evoked by Led Zeppelin song titles, muscle cars, and the aesthetics used in heavy metal and popular fantasy imagery.
This exhibition is presented in collaboration with the Vancouver Art Gallery, which will present MacLeod’s work in 2014. A publication is forthcoming.
London's Hometown Brewery: The Labatt Story
April 13th, 2013 to June 30th, 2013
Moore and Volunteer Galleries
This exhibition tells the story of London’s long-time, historic brewery. From humble beginnings as a business dream of Irish immigrant farmer John Kinder Labatt, who came to Upper Canada in 1833, the brewery grew with the support of his wife Eliza and under the shrewdness of his son John Labatt.
In 2010, Museum London and the Western Archives benefited from a substantial gift of artifacts and archival materials from the Labatt Brewing Company. Highlights of these collections have been brought together to tell the story of one of London’s pre-eminent businesses. Selected artifacts include John Labatt’s desk, a grandfather clock, early photographs of the brewery, medals won for the quality of Labatt beer at international exhibitions, posters, labels, barrels, souvenir items, and of course, examples of containers and bottles used in over 150 years of company history.
The story of Labatt is also, in part, the story of London and its hotels and taverns. Historic photographs of these establishments detail the social and architectural history of beer enjoyment. In an interactive area of the exhibition, the marketing expertise of Labatt is evident in radio-advertising clips and television advertising.
Iain Baxter: A Year at Labatt
April 13th, 2013 to June 30th, 2013
This exhibition traces a year in the life of artist Iain Baxter, during his tenure as Creative Consultant to Labatt Breweries president Sidney Oland, from 1982 to 1983.
Baxter, a noted photographer, painter, sculptor, and pioneering conceptual artist, has produced a diverse and vast body of work actively engaged in breaking down the barriers between ‘art’ and ‘life’. His remarkable venture as a corporate creative consultant was, in many ways, the final act in a series of explorations of the relationship between art and business, which had previously included: the formation of the N.E. Thing Co. (1966-1978) (an ‘aesthetic umbrella’ that allowed Baxter to work collaboratively and anonymously in the production of a wide range of art related projects); Canada’s first Cibachrome photo lab and the short-lived Eye Scream restaurant (1977-78).
A selection of documents and ephemera, as well as many of Baxter’s iconic photographic images, shot on assignment for Labatt, will be featured in this exhibition. While several of the images detail the company’s sponsored events (such as Mosport, the Labatt Brier or the Montreal Grand Prix), most record the day-to-day operations, the facilities and the equipment, as seen through Baxter’s unique lens.
London Works: Labouring in the Forest City
February 23rd, 2013 to September 22nd, 2013
Organized by students in the public history program at Western University, this selection of artifacts from the Museum’s collection examines the history of work in London.
London became a significant manufacturing centre in the late nineteenth and early twentieth and has remained an important manufacturing centre in Ontario. The continuing success of companies such as Labatt, 3M, and Kellogg attest to this. In addition to examining London’s manufacturing history, this exhibition also explores less traditional avenues of labour through domestic and women’s work.
Selections from the collection will include Dr. Richard Bucke’s prosthetic leg, an early twentieth-century McClary stove, and the first Labatt’s advertisement. Together, examples of different types of labour offer a broad representation of the population of the Forest City.
Download the interpretive brochure
View images from the pop-up exhibition
Stories of a War: A Personal 1812
November 24th, 2012 to October 27th, 2013
Lorraine Ivey Shuttleworth Community Gallery
The story of war is often told in terms of battles and generals, but the War of 1812 affected lives across North America. Organized by guest curator Laurence Grant, this exhibition presents stories and personal experiences of the War of 1812 in the London and Western Districts. Here the battles and skirmishes that took place in Southwestern Ontario form a backdrop to lives lived during the war.
Objects, period costumes, images, text, music and oral histories chronicle the lives of individuals such as business woman Sally Ainse, prisoners of war Lydia Bacon and Mahlon Burwell, child William Pearce, and Richard Pierpoint, a member of the “Coloured Corps of Upper Canada,” among others. Together their tales personalize three years of North American history, during a time of war, when lives were lost, property destroyed and families separated. The role of First Nations and the great cultural and land losses experienced during this war are also documented.
The exhibition includes objects drawn from numerous collections. Visitors have the opportunity to see an artillery chest used during the War, First Nations beadwork and a rare cradle board, as well as unique examples of trade silver and trade goods. Selections of work by contemporary artists from the Museum’s art collection are also featured.
A Personal 1812: Exhibition Tour by Laurence Grant