The Machine Age exhibition currently showing at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery explores industrial imagery in visual art from the RMG’s permanent collection.
Industrial architecture offers a unique formal and technical challenge to artists working with traditional media. Buildings present a visual complexity of pipes, ducts, silos, and chimney-stacks. In works that depict exterior rural scenes, such as Yvonne McKague Housser’s Mine Elevator, these forms and structures look out of place in the natural landscape, their towering presence a reminder of the industry’s importance to the community in which it exists.
Once called the “Manchester of Canada” and “Canada’s Motor City”, Oshawa has historically been associated with industrial growth. The artists in this exhibition found inspiration in the changing mechanization of society as reflected in industrial growth and the changing world around them. The Machine Age is showing until April 21.
Riveting Women explores the trailblazing women of Durham Region who worked in factories, as nurses, and at plenty of jobs in between. 2019 marks the 80th anniversary of the start of the Second World War, when women were recruited en masse to fill vacated positions left by men who were overseas fighting. Many of these women worked within the ammunitions industry in Ajax, and were known as the Bomb Girls. Riveting Women is showing at RMG until April 7.
Photo: Untitled painting by Isabel McLaughlin (Canadian, 1903-2002); n.d.; watercolour over graphite on paper.