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Design Annex Exhibition Archives


The Landscape Renewed
May 21 to August 20, 2016


Jerzy Werbel, Pace with Soul, acrylic on canvas, 122 cm x 152 cm, Photo: Mike Lalich

The visual language used by the Group of Seven to describe Canadian landscape is still very much in use today. Like any language, however, it evolves over time. This survey exhibition of works by emerging and established landscape artists from this region shows the variety of ways in which the idioms of the Group of Seven are identifiable, yet also in transition.

These works demonstrate how shifts in colour palette, application, and material can revive and contemporize the landscape tradition. Featured artists include E. Robert Ross, Jerzy Werbel, Douglas Edwards, and Kerry Walford.


P. Mansaram: 1980s Xerox and Mail Art
March 4 to May 14, 2016
Curated by Melissa Bennett and Alana Traficante in partnership with Hamilton Artists Inc.


P. Mansaram, detail from Take a leap into the space, c. 1986, handmade xerox book

Mansaram, also known as Panchal Mansaram, is a Burlington-based artist who was born in Mount Abu, India, in 1934. He immigrated to Canada in 1966, and quickly became friends with Marshall McLuhan, who helped him become oriented in the Toronto and North American cultural scene. Having studied art in India in high school, and then on a fellowship at the State Academy of Fine Arts in Amsterdam, he brought an eastern style and perspective on the visual arts to his work in Canada. Known for his diverse accomplishments in many styles and media, he has worked in painting, drawing, collage, mixed media and in the changing technologies of the 20th century. His video, film, photography and lasergraphic practice forms a context for his experimentations with Xerography, and mail art.

Xerography emerged as a visual arts form in the late 1970s. Like video art, it signalled artists’ desires for diplomatic and accessible new media. Building on his compositional mixed media collage works, Mansaram would spend time photocopying these, often in series, to create new and experimental images. Zooming in and out, adjusting the contrast and other effects, adding cut-outs of type-written lyrical texts, the photocopied images became a visual and poetic exploration for him. He sometimes assembled them as book works, spiral bound or accordion-style, and other times the individual images stood alone. Mansaram was an active participant in the international mail art scene around the same time, which was an association of artists (with headquarters in the U.S.), who had a mailing list set up and would send copies of their artworks to everyone on the list, whether postcards, collages, or Xerox pieces, etc.

On view at the AGH Design Annex are examples of Mansaram’s Xerography works from the 1980s, along with a display of original Xerography book works, and souvenirs from his mail art practice, including publications that featured his mail art. For the current exhibition he revisited two book works and enlarged the pages anew, presenting them in a serial way. Viewers can engage with the fantastical collage that is the first page and origin work for the series Take a leap into the space, c. 1986; as well as A Maze of Life, c.1986. To create both works, Mansaram used window screening as an essential visual element, as a symbol of the ways in which a view through a window, or any screen such as a TV or computer, may be creatively manipulated. Adding meditative poetic texts throughout, the works indeed remind viewers of McLuhan’s writings on the medium as the message.

The Art Gallery of Hamilton and Hamilton Artists’ Inc. are proud to present the work of Mansaram, in this exhibition that happens to begin on the day of his 82nd birthday. Mansaram is a long-standing and committed member of the Hamilton and Burlington art scenes, a celebrated former high school art teacher in Burlington, and an astute alumnus of the International Society of Copier Artists, a revolutionary group who advocated for a new type of image-making directly tied to the rapidly changing technologies of the late 20th century.

Melissa Bennett, AGH Curator of Contemporary Art
Alana Traficante, Independent Curator and Administrative Director, Hamilton Artists Inc.

Art Gallery of Hamilton in partnership with Hamilton Artists Inc.



Jaime Angelopoulos: The Incandescence
September 11 – November 21, 2015
Curated by the Supercrawl Curatorial Committee
Co-presented by Supercrawl and the Art Gallery of Hamilton


Jaime Angelopoulos is a featured Supercrawl artist. Her large abstract and colourful sculptures will be situated on James Street North, commissioned for the festival. The AGH Design Annex will showcase a closer look at her studio practice, including eleven of her mixed media drawings made along the same themes as her sculptural work. Using elementary materials such as oil pastel and conte, the forms she expresses are playful, while full of human gestural characteristics. They seem to emanate an electric charge in their neon brightness, like the definition of Incandescence, one of her works for which the exhibition is titled. Angelopoulos is a Toronto-based artist working in sculpture and drawing. She is represented by Parisian Laundry, Montreal.

Visit us during Supercrawl September 11-13!

Design Annex Hours:
Friday 11 - 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Saturday 12 - 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Sunday 13 - 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The Painted Page: Book Illustrations by Jacqui Oakley
May 8 - August 29, 2015
Curated by Melissa Bennett, Curator of Contemporary Art at the AGH

Jacqui Oakley | Shear Murder 2014 | ink and digital colour | Published by Harlequin

Hamilton-based Jacqui Oakley’s painted images have been circulating the globe in such widely recognized publications as The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Penguin Books, National Geographic, Amazon, and most recently as illustrations in re-releases of the complete novels of Jane Austen, Sherlock Holmes and the works of L.M. Montgomery, including Anne of Green Gables.

Featured at the AGH Design Annex will be selections of Oakley’s original paintings, never-before shown to the public, exhibited alongside the books themselves. Highlighting their contemporary yet nostalgic style, and Oakley’s adept use of mixed media techniques, the exhibition allows us a behind the scenes view into the graphic design process through the presentation of Oakley’s source paintings, works of art in their own right.

Jacqui Oakley was born and currently lives in Canada, but spent her formative years watching BBC reruns and animé in Bahrain, England, Zambia, and Libya. She teaches in the illustration program at OCAD University in Toronto.

Join Jacqui Oakley for her artist talk Inspiring the Art June 18 at 7:00 p.m. at the AGH Design Annex!


“You seem to be where I belong.”
March 28 - May 2, 2015

Peering around unassuming corners and down quiet roads, Jason Brown’s images present an unexpected view on how our sometimes out-of-date and sometimes out-of-place occupation of the Canadian landscape connects and brings us together as a society.

Having grown up in a small town in Northern Ontario, the images recall memories of Brown’s childhood, when the ideology of the landscape and built environment was not always based on something new, well-designed, or planned. Currently, Brown resides in Toronto, living under the pressures of Canada’s largest urban centre, this series represents an escape, from where he is today; a reconnection with landscapes and environments that was left behind. At its essence, this body of work is a reflection on the Canadian landscape and small town life – laying bare a country that is in one light authentic and charming, and in another troubled and enigmatic.


Things Made Here: The Glen Faulman Collection
January 31 – March 21, 2015
Curated by Melissa Bennett, Curator of Contemporary Art at the AGH and Tara Bursey, Independent Curator

Glen Faulman and his Studebakers. Photo: Ian Walker.

Glen Faulman (AKA The Hamilton Kid) is a 10th generation Hamiltonian and a 3rd generation steelworker. He is also part owner of This Ain’t Hollywood on James Street North—needless to say he has great pride in this city, and in particular, the things made here. Glen’s goal is to collect “an artifact from every manufacturing plant that ever operated in Hamilton,” which would be a number approaching a thousand.

On view at the AGH Design Annex are selections from his extensive collection of objects made in Hamilton. From a late 19th century sewing machine produced at a factory formerly located at James Street North and Vine Street, to a stunning Hamilton cash register made on James Street North at Colbourne, to nail samples and graphic ads for soda pop and beer, these everyday artifacts will be familiar to long-time Hamiltonians. They are a stunning introduction for those less familiar. Three types of objects are on display: graphic designs used commercially, the things themselves that were produced, and the things to make things with, such as nails and other components.

At the AGH Design Annex, we provide a platform for contemporary local designers. This exhibition will situate newer pieces in the context of historic local production, with the goal of celebrating those aspects of graphic and industrial design that have stood the test of time.

This exhibition is presented in association with On the Waterfront, a Hamilton Winterfest exhibition that is part of the Winterfest Kick Off event on Saturday February 7th, 2015 at Pier 8. The Winterfest program encourages Hamiltonians to celebrate the beauty of the winter season by engaging in activities throughout the city February 7 to 16. www.hamiltonwinterfest.ca

Join us on Friday, February 13th from 7-11pm at the Design Annex during the James Street North Art Crawl for the opening reception of Things Made Here: The Glen Faulman Collection! Come enjoy DJ Johnny Angel with his '78 Spin Out and meet Glen Faulman, the man of the hour!


Featured Artist: Elizabeth Lennie
December 1, 2014 – January 24, 2015

Lake of Dreams, oil on canvas, 2014

Water to ice and back again, the seasons rolling over each other with the passage of time. Our Canadian landscape is vibrant in all its seasons, but none is more haunting than the distant echo of human sounds over a stark winter landscape, the crisp light, the sharp bite of the cold. Add to this harsh place the vibrant colour of rosy cheeks, frozen toes, a slice of skate blade on ice and the echo of voices as the players squeeze every last ray of light from the shortened day in the common pursuit of the nation's identity. The characters come from an imagined narrative, journaling a collective memory myth of winter, of a place that connects Lennie to the remembrance of her own childhood. 

Series dedicated to Matt Kirby who love to play hockey for his beloved North Toronto team and who played shinny every opportunity he could.

Natalie Hunter: ReVisions
September 12 – November 22 2014
Curated by the Supecrawl Curatorial Committee
Co-presented by Supercrawl

ReVisions is a site-specific collage of photographs that explores images, personal memory and storytelling. The camera, which is normally used to capture images of the outside world, is used as an apparatus for reflection on fragmented memories of people, places, and materials. Personal childhood narratives from growing up on the outskirts Hamilton are investigated through the ephemeral nature of motion and light.

Natalie Hunter is a Hamilton-born multidisciplinary artist who works with photography, installation, digital media and sculpture. In 2013 she graduated with an MFA from the University of Waterloo.

Brandon Vickerd: Faltering Monuments
May 31 to August 30 2014
Curated by Melissa Bennett and Alana Traficante

Brandon Vickerd’s artistic practice includes a range of forms, from sculpture to performance to site-specific interventions, and he frequently explores the myth of progress ingrained in Western world views. With Faltering Monuments, Vickerd subverts a traditional form of commemoration through a contemporary sculptural intervention. He models this series of statues after historically powerful, masculine political figures such Napoleon and Columbus, and then alters the busts by carving out grotesque anatomical elements. In representing figures of modernity, Vickerd highlights nostalgia for the past—a time of rigorous political and scientific pursuit that held great promise for the future. The works disrupt the viewer’s expectations of the monument and invite a dialogue on horror, while exposing the human side of these notable yet fallible characters. Vickerd is a Hamilton-based artist with an extensive exhibition history in North America. He is currently an Associate Professor in the department of Visual Art and Art History at York University.

Art + Design Show + Sale

May 2 to May 11, 2014

The 2014 new Art + Design Show + Sale brings together elements from the past AGH Art Sales and gives them a new twist! Now spanning 10 days and located the the AGH Design Annex the Art + Design Show + Sale boasts over 30 artists and designers as well as tours and talks throughout the week!

Special Tour with Alana Traficante, Manager AGH Art Rental + Sales
Saturday, May 3 | 2:00 pm
Join Alana on a tour of the many facets of the Art + Design Show + Sale.

Designer Talk with Diane Sisto
Thursday, May 8 | 6:30 pm
The Creative Director of Brentwood Classics will deliver a behind-the-scenes look the at the design process for the popular ur_style collection, and a sneak peek at colour and mood trends for 2014/15.
Q & A to follow.

Ian Busher: Let Them Talk

Art Rental + Sales Exhibition
AGH Design Annex | March 29 – April 26, 2014

Meryl McMaster: In-Between Worlds

February 1 to March 22, 2014
Curated by Melissa Bennett and Tara Bursey

In-Between Worlds explores bi-cultural identities through photographs of a lone figure in the landscape. Identity and myth are intertwined here, in dialogue with the codes of photographic representation. As self-portraits, these images expose the vulnerable subject, inviting viewers to consider themselves as characters in this theatrical yet open-ended narrative. McMaster’s Aboriginal and Euro-Canadian identities have informed this work, wherein she incorporates ideas of liminality. For McMaster, “In-Between Worlds is a sequence of moments that appear out of the ordinary and can be interpreted as being in a state of suspended belief.”

This exhibition is presented in association with Winterlore, a Hamilton Winterfest exhibition that runs as part of the Winterfest Kick Off event on Saturday February 1st, 3-10 pm at Pier 8. Curated by Tara Bursey, Winterlore features dynamic art installations by ten artists. The works draw on winter folklore, stories and symbols from around the world, in celebration of the diverse cultures of Hamilton.


Hanna Kostanski & Louise Richardson: Reflections
October 5 to November 23, 2013

'Reflections' is an exhibition of recent work by Ontario artists, Hanna Kostanski (Hamilton) and Louise Richardson (London). Both have engaged their painting practice in a dialogue of reflection – addressing both physical properties of light and the materiality of reflective surfaces. The resulting images also propose reflection as an intuitive process, the act of looking inward or considering the past.

Artist Statement - Hanna Kostanski
"For better or worse, Hamilton is a city of constant change. In my current series "The View from Here", I chose to use the original windows from a Hamilton home built in 1918 to explore the ever-changing landscape of the city.

The images were taken from the Hamilton Public Library's Local History and Archives, then transferred and painted onto the window panes of a Tisdale Street house. By utilizing these nearly century-old artifacts to tell the story of our city, I hope to evoke a feeling of a fragile, nostalgic, and haunting landscape that spans several decades of Hamilton's history."

Artist Statement - Louise Richardson
"Lately, I've been painting light on water. It's hard to see with the naked eye – the rhythms and patterns form and reform so quickly and fluidly. Lately I've been looking more carefully. In less than an instant that water composition of light, colour, line and shape has been replaced by a different one - and again and again and again.

The surface patterns formed by light and wind on water are beautiful and the act of using oil colours on canvas to be still them long enough to reveal them has a rhythm and cadence of its own for me.

It's not hard to see in these reflections a mirror of the shifting, fluid beauty of most of our days."

HBSA: Art by Architects
July 20 to September 7, 2013

Meredith Bingham: All Ends and Beginnings
April 20 to July 13, 2013

"Sometimes the circle represents people in my life, sometimes it is about myself, always it is about wanting to manifest something beyond what I see and experience in my day to day life... To show that we are flawed, broken and beautifully unfinished. Some people say a perfect circle is the shape of Heaven; I love that."
- Meredith Bingham, 2013
Organized by Alana Traficante, Manager, AGH Art Rental + Sales

Stephen Brookbank: Quiet Nights
January 26 to April 13, 2013
Download the Complete Exhibition Image Catalogue

"Light is a symbol for truth, it is at the centre of how and why we make pictures."
- Robert Adams

The dignity of the scenes photographed has gradually grown outward from inside these homes and workplaces out of the necessities and character of the inhabitants. Any perceived imperfections, such as a cracked asphalt or perhaps a graffiti tag are cherished expressions of our shared identities as intrepid and self reliant people. This work is about how we are working this ground in our attempt to strike out and forge our way in this world. These photographs are intended to be a buoyant and majestic appreciation of our neighborhoods. The night, triggering a physiological change in our brains, is a time of reflection, a time to open ourselves to new potential and possibilities. Each photograph represents a stretched length of time fixed onto a negative. These are time exposures from between thirty seconds to thirty minutes. As a photographer, it is important for me to make images using only available light. Extraneous light, such as a flash or strobe, is never added during the exposure times. I want the integrity and authenticity inherent in the scene to remain true. In my view, adding light dramatizes the scene, thereby diminishing the truth of the picture. I am attempting to illustrate the beauty of what the negative captures from what is there, rather than making the scene. This work is a documentary of the stories of our present times, yet ever changing.
- Stephen Brookbank, 2013
Organized by Alana Traficante, Manager, AGH Art Rental + Sales

Marie-Josée Laframboise
Mes chemins improbables / My unpredictable paths

November 17, 2012 to January 19, 2013
Following her inclusion in the Art Gallery of Hamilton’s 2011 Exhibition, Out of Place / Non lieu, Marie-Josée Laframboise was commissioned to complete a series of 20 small scale drawings based on data collected from various topographical and historical maps of Hamilton. The accompanying large scale drawings resulted from this fastidious working process and Laframboise’s ongoing impulse to explore notions of place.

This series of collectable works represents the second annual installment of an artist’s series commissioned by AGH Art Rental + Sales. The limited edition small drawings are available for purchase for $375 each.
Melissa Bennett, Curator of Contemporary Art, AGH | Alana Traficante, Manager, Art Rental + Sales, AGH


EN MASSE @ AGH Design Annex
September 14 to November 10, 2012
EN MASSE, a collaborative drawing group based in Montreal, were invited to create new series of pieces for the Design Annex interior. Incorporating elements of illustration, alternative comics and graffiti with “high brow” art, their imagery explodes with energy.

Under the direction of Jason Botkin, Rupert Bottenberg, and Fred Caron, EN MASSE is an ongoing series of artistic conversations of a sort, a non-linear dialogue connecting many artists through the creation of large-scale collaborative black and white murals and other works. Their work can also be seen in an outdoor mural commissioned for Supercrawl. www.enmasse.info
Melissa Bennett, Curator of Contemporary Art, AGH | Alana Traficante, Manager, Art Rental + Sales, AGH | With the Supercrawl Curatorial Committee

WE-3: Grand Drape
July 7 to September 1, 2012
Grand Drape is a contemporary design and art installation inspired by the architecture of the AGH Design Annex. Incorporating the history and materials of the space, the piece resembles contemporary curtains, creating an overall effect that is as elegant as it is subtly commemorative. The poly curtains are in panel sections that span a thirty-foot wall of exposed brick, and are lasercut with an articulated pattern derived from the original tin ceilings of the space. The piece imbues this common plastic material with considerable aesthetic value. An homage to local history and architecture, the piece is also an intriguing contribution to contemporary art and design.

Dominique Cheng, Kristina Ljubanovic, and Lauren Wickware are the newly formed artist collective, WE-3. Professionally they are an architect, graphic designer and designer who are expanding their creative practices across disciplines to create art installations. WE-3 was invited to create this site-specific work for the inaugural AGH Design Annex exhibition. wehyphenthree.tumblr.com
Melissa Bennett, Curator of Contemporary Art, AGH | Alana Traficante, Manager, Art Rental + Sales, AGH