The UNB Art Centre opens two new exhibits May 25

Category: arts 42

The UNB Art Centre presents works by Les B’Old Hags and Jennifer Lee Weibe with an open reception performance by Calum Jackson.

The UNB Art Centre invites the public to view two exciting new exhibitions by New Brunswick women from May 25- June 21. L’es Bold Hags present their self-titled exhibition while Jennifer Lee Weibe presents Abstracts 1-12.  Meet the artists at the opening on May 25 and enjoy the sounds of the UNB Art Centre’s new music series FLOW featuring Calum Jackson.

In the East Gallery, Les B’Old Hags present a variety of multi-media works that explores and celebrates the aging process from a uniquely feminine perspective.  Les B’Old Hags reclaim the pejorative term hag and use it as a badge of honour. Les B’Old Hags are founding member and clay artist Catherine Linfield, painter Dianne Ryan, fibre artist Jacqueline LeBlanc, musician Laurence Marie, poet and photographer Margaret Patricia Eaton and mixed media artist Patricia Winans.

Using humor and wisdom, these six Moncton area artists explore perspectives on aging, poking fun at physical frailties, questioning feelings of invisibility and expressing their desire to stay relevant in a society that stigmatizes the aging process. While humour is the vehicle, underpinning this artistic enquiry is the very serious issue of ageism. This form of discrimination is based on assumptions and stereotypes that robs older people of their worth, independence and dignity, making them more vulnerable and socially isolated. At the far end of this discriminatory practice is the under-reported crime of neglect and elder abuse.

Each member of Les B’Old Hags has a rich history, filled with personal, academic and professional accomplishment.  In asking the question: What now? they reject the stereotypes of old age and make their response visible through an exhibition that ponders the meaning of life. 

The West Gallery features Jennifer Lee Wiebe’s series entitled Abstracts 1-12.  The exhibit presents 12 diptychs incorporating paint-by-number paintings collected by the artist at auctions along with a colour code painted by the artist. In this simple grid the artist explores the abstract possibilities of colour just as one who paints by number is applying colour to abstract shapes. 

Paint-by-number sets began to be mass produced after WWII and grew in popularity throughout the 1950s and 60s. While the artists contracted to make these mass-produced artworks were interested in using abstraction, the language of contemporary art, they were however relegated to satisfying public demand. Images of landscapes, clowns and kittens and other appropriated images proved to be the popular choice and strike us now as mere sentimental kitsch.  Included in the show is the artist’s own paint-by-number artwork of Bambi that she received from her aunt in 1972, when she was just 7 years old.

In this exhibit the artist not only explores the idea of abstraction, and originality, she questions the much broader idea of the place of painting in today’s critical dialogue which positions new media at the forefront of contemporary artistic engagement. 

Jennifer Lee Wiebe has an interest in the second-hand objects and cast-offs found in flea markets, auctions and thrift stores.  Her first solo exhibit at the UNB Art Centre in 2008 entitled Frenchy’s Sutra featured a series of oddly shaped quilts made from actual garments found in Frenchy’s used clothing stores.

Jennifer Lee Wiebe received her Bachelor of Arts Degree (Magna Cum Laude) from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine and her Master of Fine Arts in Painting and Drawing from the University of Wisconsin. She is currently working towards her Masters of Education from the University of New Brunswick.  She has a long career as a drawing and painting instructor, and currently teaches at the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design.

This exhibition features Calum Jackson at the opening as part of the UNB Art Centre’s new Flow series. This series features local musicians and brings together art and music in a unique and experimental way. FLOW is an opportunity for musicians to use the exhibits as a touchpoint for their own performances, complementing the visual exhibits with an auditory dimension.

Calum Jackson describes himself as an old-fashioned multi-instrumental musician.  His interest in obscure songs from the pre-WWII era inform his music with influences from the ragtime and folk traditions.  He is a professional busker and currently performs with The Montgomery Street Band and The Falling Leaves. He has performed solo and with his bands at Evolve, the Living Roots Festival, Paddle Fest, the Tay Creek Folk Festival, Folly Fest, Praxis Project and the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival.

Opening Reception – Les B’Old Hags and Jennifer Lee Weibe | with music by Calum Jackson | May 25 | 5-7 p.m. | UNB Art Centre, 9 Bailey Drive, UNB Fredericton.

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