The AGM collaborated with Visual Arts Mississauga to host the annual Juried Show of Fine Arts, which began on January 16. The opening night was a smashing success and the halls of the gallery were filled with eager onlookers gazing at a variety of mixed media, photography, and textile works.

This exhibition features selected submissions from all across Ontario. Each year, a new panel of jurors sifts through the hundreds of submissions and decides, often unanimously, which ones to showcase. This year’s three jurors all have impressive portfolios, delving into various realms of the visual arts. Kim Lee Kho, a multifaceted visual artist and art instructor, was joined by Reinhard Reitzenstien, who is considered a senior artist, having participatedin over 100 solo exhibitions and over 300 group exhibitions internationally, and Ivan Jurakic, who recently curated “Zone C” at last year’s Nuit Blanche.

Stealing the first-place prize in the show this year is the dainty and symbolic work of Noelle Hamlyn, “Colonial Tea Jacket: A Skin Once Shed”. This large jacket, constructed with intricately embroidered tea bags, suggests coziness and warmth, though it’s stained and reused. Hamlyn uses her piece to reflect on the cultural appropriation and gloomy past of the North American First Nations people. “Colonial Tea Jacket” is a part of an expansive series that explores the iconography of Hudson’s Bay blankets. Her work earned top honours due to its “unexpected use of a common material into an exquisite textile”.

Other notable works include third-place winner Glen L. Jones’ black and white photograph entitled “Up the Down Staircase”. Many viewers spent several minutes attempting to deconstruct the visual illusion. Jones’ work drew the jurors’ attention by way of its distinct point of view as well as its patterns, movement, shape, design, and clear values.

Other impressive works include Eileen Menzel’s “Up the River, Chicago”, which won this year’s Committee’s Choice Award. This dreamlike, mixed-media piece drags the viewer’s eye from corner to corner and acts, in Menzel’s words, as “a landscape for the 21st century”.

Within the realm of modern landscape also lies Nigel Roberts’ “Strata.” This piece took home the AGM’s Curator’s Award and inspires the community to be conscious of their responsibilities to the Earth. The composition of the digital photograph brings viewers outside the realm of a gallery and into a vast, continuous plane of rough ridges and mountaintops.

There were three dissimilar honourable mentions: Jorge Luis Ballart’s “Canada is Hockey”, Warren Hoyano’s mixed-media sculpture “Reduced Expectations”, and the rustic “Words on Marble Column” by Alaa Abdalrahman.

Since 1987, the AGM has hosted VAM’s annual juried show; this year 209 submissions were reviewed and 52 finalists were selected. Don’t miss a chance to get inspired and engage with the Mississauga art community, and be sure to vote for the piece you feel deserves the People’s Choice Award.

The exhibition runs at the Art Gallery of Mississauga until February 22.

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