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The McMichael Tree Project: Gallery Celebrates Legacy through the Universal Story of the Tree, January 28 to April 22, 2012


January 17, 2012 KLEINBURG, ON – This winter and spring, the McMichael presents
The McMichael Tree Project, celebrating the artistic, cultural, and natural aspects of the tree with two breathtaking exhibitions, a variety of programs, and special installations. The McMichael Tree Project runs from January 28 until Earth Day on April 22, 2012, during which time there will be a number of exciting programs, events, and festivals
—from traditional Sweetgrass ceremonies and drumming circles, to interactive nature hikes, to hands-on art workshops and wonderful children’s performances.

Community festival kick-off
Opening The McMichael Tree Project is the launch of the Growing a Forest initiative involving two local community schools, Kleinburg Public Elementary School and Ècole élémentaire La Fontaine, supported by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. The weekend Community Festival takes place on Saturday and Sunday, January 28 and 29. Visitors to the gallery can meet the artists behind the project’s installations and participate in nature workshops. On Sunday, a Sweetgrass ceremony initiates our winter festivities followed by Anishinabek storytelling, songs, and dance performances.

Two exhibitions and high-tech installations
A special exhibition, The Tree: Form and Substance, provides an exciting opportunity for the McMichael to connect the gallery's interior spaces with newly invigorated outdoor spaces and forested landscape, for the very first time. In conjunction with our own exhibition, the gallery also presents The Tree: From the Sublime to the Social, an exhibition organized and circulated by the Vancouver Art Gallery, which considers the tree as a subject in art from the early twentieth century to the present.

A notable installation is Hydroponic Grow-Op (2003-ongoing), where artist Andrew Dadson uses the tools of illegal grow-ops to create an artificial forest that is isolated from the natural ecosystem and completely dependent on technology and human control. The hydroponic system invites us to consider our relationship to the environment: While it supplies the seedlings with all the nutrients and light they need to grow, constant monitoring by gallery staff is necessary to their survival.  

In the interactive, cell phone-driven SEED Collective artwork installation, visitors will be able to “plant a SEED” to grow a virtual tree. SEED was developed in 2005 as a project by Toronto-based artist Napoleon Brousseau and his two technologist friends, Gabe Sawhney and Galen Scorer, and co-produced by the Canadian Film Centre. It has been presented at several venues around the world and the McMichael is SEED’s very first public art gallery appearance.

Interactive community-based programming
The McMichael is branching out to a number of partner organizations to provide visitors with enriched and interactive programming related to the tree. Activities at the gallery are in conjunction with leading community-based groups, such as the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, York University, University of Toronto, the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Ontario Wood Carvers Association, Humber Valley Heritage Trail Association, Peel Aboriginal Network Drumming Circle, and the Toronto Bonsai Society.

It will be an invigorating season as The McMichael Tree Project reaffirms our affiliation with our community and the land through the symbolic wholeness of the tree—an emblem that embodies the essence of the McMichael gallery and grounds as a revered cultural landscape.

The gallery would like to acknowledge the generous support of The McMichael Volunteer Committee for The McMichael Tree Project programs, as well as the Nature Conservancy of Canada, promotional partner for the project.

Related programs
Growing a Forest Community Festival
Saturday and Sunday, January 28 and 29

Home Sweet Hole—Trees as a Habitat presentation by the Nature Conservancy of Canada
Saturday, January 28

Magic in Wood, with woodcarving workshops offered by the Ontario Wood Carvers Association
Saturday and Sunday, February 4 and 5

Arts Café & Symposium presents the SEED Collective in Art and Technology—A Match Made in Heaven, co-organized with York Region Arts Council
Saturday, February 11

Picture A Tree—What Do You See? Family Sunday with author and illustrator Barbara Reid
Sunday, February 12

Family Day Festival with folk artist Mary Scattergood from Kleinburg
Sunday and Monday, February 19 and 20

Scorned as Timber, Beloved of the Sky Art Chat surrounding Emily Carr’s iconic painting
Sunday, February 26

Ontario’s Old-Growth Forests by Michael Henry
Saturday, March 3

Hike with Humber Valley Heritage Trail Association
Sunday, March 4

Voyageur guitar comes to the McMichael with Jowi Taylor, Six String Nation, and Friends
Sunday, March 11

March Break Programs
The Muskoka Wildlife Centre presents Tree Habitat on Friday, March 16
Paddling Puppeteers presents Walking in Your Neighbourwood on Saturday, March 17
The Tree: Branching Out art program for special needs families on Saturday, March 17

Totems and Trees: The Passions of Emily Carr Art Encounterwith Gerta Moray
Saturday, March 24

New Growth: Dialogues on the Tree, 11th Annual York University Art History Graduate Symposium
Saturday, March 31

A Forest of Stories Family Sunday with children’s author Rina Singh, Roots and Wings concert by Topcliff Public School Choir and Dancers, and a drop-in workshop
Sunday, April 1

The Art of Bonsai presented by The Toronto Bonsai Society
Saturday and Sunday, April 14 and 15

Happy Valley Forest: Old-Growth Forest in the Making by the Nature Conservancy of Canada
Sunday, April 22

Earth Day Celebration with Aboriginal storytelling and drumming
Sunday, April 22

For further information on the above events, and all other programs at the gallery, please see What’s On? at www.mcmichael.com.

For information on The McMichael Tree Project and the two exhibitions, The Tree: Form and Substance and The Tree: From the Sublime to the Social, please see Exhibitions information on www.mcmichael.com.

About the McMichael Canadian Art Collection
The McMichael Canadian Art Collection is an agency of the Government of Ontario and acknowledges the support of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. It is the foremost venue in the country showcasing the Group of Seven and their contemporaries. In addition to touring exhibitions, its permanent collection consists of more than 5,700 artworks, including paintings by the Group of Seven and their contemporaries, First Nations and Inuit artists. The gallery is located on Islington Avenue, north of Major Mackenzie Drive in Kleinburg, and is open daily from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Admission is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors/students and $30 for families. There is a $5 fee for parking. For more information about the gallery, visit www.mcmichael.com.

 

Media contact:
Michelle Kortinen, Communications Coordinator
McMichael Canadian Art Collection
905.893.1121 ext. 2210
mkortinen@mcmichael.com

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