Commentary: Central Art Garage explores sculpture with new exhibit

In the Central Art Garage’s most recent art show Objectionable Practices, pottery, paint, and sculpture come together to create a colourful collection. This mix of local and other Canadian art combines artistic technique with everyday objects. Plates, beer cans, and sand all make an appearance in this unique display. 

The exhibit is made up of work from five artists: Tamara Henderson, Craig Leonard, Kevin Rodgers, Meredith Snider, and Alex Morrison. Gallery owner Danny Hussey says while they are all recently emerging artists, they are all at relatively elevated stages in their careers.  Many of these artists are repeating contributors. This time, Morrison is the new face in the gallery.

Morrison is a Canadian artist currently based in Brussels. Hussey approached him two years ago about his pieces, and was finally able to secure over a dozen ceramic plates for Objectionable Practices.

We got them directly from a show in Vancouver,” Hussey said. Grouped in threes, the pottery shows off bright colours and bold patterns.  They are set on a display table of Morrison’s own design—according to Hussey, he is very specific about presentation.  

Directly behind these plates, mimicking the green and blue colours of Morrison’s work, hang two paintings by Henderson. Both mix sand, glitter, and paint to create interesting swaths of colour and texture.

“Generally, she does sculptures, which makes this piece of work particularly rare and interesting,” Hussey said. The bright colours also mirror those of Craig Leonard’s contribution—a set of three books, standing on a rugged wooden box. Each one features a single geometric image printed over and over and a single quote on the last page of each book.

Snider, a local artist, has contributed a metal sculpture made of a thousand melted beer cans. Referencing Ottawa’s prohibition of the early 1900s, this sculpture represents the “thousand thirsts” that crossed the Alexandria Bridge from Ottawa to Quebec. They lie in a solidified silver puddle underneath Rodgers’ creation: a set of three small images. Each one is a folded page of a yoga book.

“It’s a way to create a collage without actually collaging,” Hussey said. He said the pieces represent isolation from society—clearly a focus of Rodgers’, as he is soon withdrawing to Lithuania where he will be creating art of a similar theme.

Hussey said he feels the pieces all work well together.

“Every piece has an element that I love,” he said, smiling at his gallery.

Objectionable Practices is just one in a sting of many unique displays at the Central Art Garage.  The converted car garage has been a functioning art gallery for three years. Hussey wanted it to feel industrial, yet homey, and has added wooden elements, such as a retro sideboard, record player, and armchair to the gallery.

“I took inspiration from art galleries in New York and Toronto’s Junction,” he explains. His gallery is sure to enhance whatever art is displayed there for many exhibits to come.