Kleinburg, ON—For the fourth consecutive year, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection is teaming up with Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, the world’s largest photography event, and will be a premier site for the Festival. From March 11 to August 20, 2017, the McMichael presents the exhibition Steve Driscoll & Finn O’Hara: Size Matters, which features 14 digital chromogenic prints and 16 paintings by painter Steve Driscoll and photographer Finn O’Hara. The McMichael is the first public art gallery to exhibit the collaborative work of these two Toronto-based artists.
“There’s a palpable buzz of excitement at the gallery with the introduction of these two contemporary Canadian artists, whose resulting union implores the viewer to discern their surroundings,” said Dr. Sarah Stanners, curator of the show and Director of Curatorial & Collections at the McMichael. “Driscoll and O’Hara both deploy a lighthearted approach that conveys their broad talent and understanding of the relationship between Canadian landscape painting and photography.”
Steve Driscoll & Finn O’Hara: Size Matters is a creative response to the simple need for relative size.
Depicting a series of excursions in Canadian nature, Driscoll and O’Hara introduce paintings as interlopers within meaningful photographic stories, allowing for new interpretations that speak to a variety of audiences. The ensuing images are moments of intervention on landscapes that are foreign to the production and even the subject matter of the paintings themselves.
“The oversized paintings play between depicting similar scenes and stark contrasts, creating humorous— almost mischievous—interactions with the paintings,” said Steve Driscoll, who creates his robust landscape paintings with urethane paint on sizeable plastic panels. “I find it so fitting that this project takes form at the McMichael, as the gallery’s collection holds so many of my influences and heroes,” adds Driscoll, a devotee of landscape paintings by the Group of Seven and Tom Thomson.
Deeper observation of Steve Driscoll & Finn O’Hara: Size Matters reveals a dichotomy familiar to many millennials: urban lifestyles combined with a love for the outdoors. Using battery packs for an unplugged experience, and sophisticated camera equipment that combines old and new technology, Finn O’Hara captures his collaborator’s monumental paintings in site-specific locations that hold special meaning to him. The outcome is a compendium of work that bursts with colour and movement in spectacular settings, unleashing a thought-provoking experience that reflects both Driscoll’s and O’Hara’s approach to the creative process.
“In one instance, a painting reveals what can be interpreted as a human highway through nature. Taking this work and placing it in an urban scene—a pedestrian freeway—allows the photograph to embrace the location and people, and to capture a series of moments apprised by feelings and memories,” said Finn O’Hara, who met Driscoll through a mutual friend in 2014. “In our works, the happenings of a panorama heavily inform the scene, challenging viewers to lean in, and look a little closer,” he added.
If you would like to speak with Chief Curator Dr. Sarah Stanners, arrange interviews with artists Steve Driscoll and Finn O’Hara, or to request high-resolution images of the artworks in this exhibition, please contact: Simona Panetta at email@example.com, or 905.893.1121 ext. 2210.
About Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival
CONTACT fosters and celebrates the art and profession of photography with an annual Festival in May and year-round programming in the CONTACT Gallery. Each year, CONTACT presents the best of international photography, responding to new approaches and forms of visual expression, while showcasing a diverse range of lens-based work. CONTACT increases exposure and recognition for artists at all levels, and is committed to advancing knowledge, creativity, and innovation in photography. The Festival maintains an inclusive and accessible approach to the medium, and focuses on cultivating and strengthening relationships with both the established and emerging photographic communities.
Founded in 1997, CONTACT is a not for profit organization committed to celebrating and fostering the art and profession of photography. It is the largest photography event in the world, and a premiere cultural event in Canada, bringing together over 1,500 Canadian and international artists and photographers exhibiting at more than 175 venues throughout the Greater Toronto Area.
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, and the McMichael Canadian Art Foundation. 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 over 6,000 artworks by Canadian artists, including paintings by the Group of Seven and their contemporaries, as well as First Nations, Métis and Inuit artists. The gallery is located on 100 acres of northern landscape and hiking trails at 10365 Islington Avenue, Kleinburg, north of Major Mackenzie Drive in the City of Vaughan. For more information: mcmichael.com.
Media Relations and Communications Coordinator
McMichael Canadian Art Collection
905.893.1121 ext. 2210
spanetta-kerr at mcmichael.com
Director, Communications, Marketing and Sales
McMichael Canadian Art Collection
905.893.1121 ext. 2265
nfoglia at mcmichael.com