The Cape Breton University Art Gallery is set to open its latest exhibition on August 23 at 6:30 p.m. The Glass Is… presents works of art by nine emerging Cape Breton artists. The exhibition examines the factors that affect how young visual artists respond to the creative climate on Cape Breton Island and suggests that this glass is either half empty or half full, depending on who you ask.
While some artists thrive here, many artists from Cape Breton feel they must leave to continue their creative paths off-island. The works of art embody the subjective experiences of the artists who respond to this challenging context. All of the artists in the exhibition have ties to Cape Breton Island, but of the nine participants only two remain as residents of the Island.
“Works in the show are really varied,” says CBU Gallery Director/Curator Laura Schneider. “They range from more conventional media like painting and photography, to experimental site-specific projects. All of the artists have done a wonderful job of expressing the challenges and nuances of making contemporary art in a place where the importance of tradition and heritage seems so central to cultural production.”
Painter Beth Martin is eager to exhibit a new series of provocative self-portraits in the exhibition “My paintings were a challenge for me to paint, and in turn, I think they'll be a challenge for viewers to accept. I'm anxious, excited, and nervous to witness the response.” She adds, “I feel it's going to challenge the ideology of what art actually is to Cape Bretoners. It's such an eclectic group of contemporary artists all coming together with the freedom to exhibit what we're most passionate about.”
On Friday August 24, the Art Gallery will host a day of discussions about art in Cape Breton. “I think that our community could really benefit from listening to emerging artists and other young members of the creative class in order to better understand and meet their needs” says Schneider. “My hope is that the exhibition will be a visual catalyst to spark how this demographic can operate as a cornerstone for community and artistic growth on the island.”
Artist Adrianne Mahon echoes the need to support the growth of the artistic community, “The idea of the solitary artist is a myth, and I believe that building a strong and progressive art community would become something that we could be very proud of.”
All events are free to the public and everyone is welcome.