Gallery show gives stu­dents the full ex­hi­bi­tion ex­pe­ri­ence

Vernissage draws crowd as artists from Lower Canada Col­lege show their works

Montreal Gazette - - CITY - ISAAC OLSON

Over the next cou­ple of days, 18 Lower Canada Col­lege stu­dents are proudly dis­play­ing their art along­side the work of Cana­dian masters in the distin­guished, down­town­based Alan Klinkhoff Gallery.

“Most peo­ple dream of hav­ing their art in here when they’re dead and we get to ex­pe­ri­ence this while we’re alive,” said 18-year-old, pre-univer­sity stu­dent Madeleine Bien­venu, as she stood in front of her promi­nently dis­played, sil­ver­leaf paint­ing of a rear­ing horse on Thurs­day evening dur­ing the Grad­u­a­tion Art Ex­hi­bi­tion’s vernissage that drew a packed-in crowd of fam­ily, friends and LCC staff.

In de­scrib­ing her piece, The Balk, Bien­venu said: “This one rep­re­sents the re­fusal to give in to ev­ery­thing that so­ci­ety ex­pects of you and to be your own per­son, to stand up for what you be­lieve in.”

The show fea­tures 35 stu­dent pieces that in­clude vi­brantly coloured paint­ings and sculp­tures. The stu­dents have stud­ied vis­ual arts through their high school ca­reer and, dur­ing the ex­hi­bi­tion, they’re dis­play­ing their fi­nal and favourite works from Thurs­day through Sat­ur­day.

The stu­dents are get­ting the full pro­fes­sional ex­pe­ri­ence of host­ing an ex­hi­bi­tion. Among their tasks, they’re putting up posters and cre­at­ing a de­tailed book­let about the artists and their art.

They’re also stay­ing on site through­out the three-day show to give vis­i­tors a tour, not just of their own work, but of the masters as well. The stu­dent works are hang­ing along­side that of artists like Su­zor-Coté and Clarence Gagnon in the gallery at 1448 Sher­brooke St. W. that spe­cial­izes in de­ceased Cana­dian greats.

Wal­ter Klinkhoff first opened an art gallery in 1950 and even­tu­ally passed it on to his son, Alan Klinkhoff, who grad­u­ated from LCC in 1970.

Alan Klinkhoff sent his four chil­dren to LCC and now Jonathan Klinkhoff, class of 2000, runs the gallery’s Toronto lo­ca­tion while Craig Klinkhoff, class of 2006, man­ages the one on Sher­brooke St.

It was LCC’s vis­ual arts teacher, Carol Loeb, who first ap­proached the Kinkhoffs about host­ing a stu­dent ex­hi­bi­tion and, with a fam­ily his­tory of fos­ter­ing as­pir­ing artists, they were quick to agree. The ex­hi­bi­tion is in its sec­ond year.

“This is what ev­ery artist aims for,” said Loeb, not­ing the stu­dents are get­ting the full ex­pe­ri­ence of what it’s like to be a pro­fes­sional artist. “This is the dream.”

Alan Klinkhoff said a client had come in to ask about buying one of the stu­dent pieces ear­lier that day as some of the young artists are demon­strat­ing a bud­ding tal­ent that could turn into a ca­reer. Loeb added that, while not all of the stu­dents will pur­sue art as a pro­fes­sion, “they will al­ways be ap­pre­cia­tive and sup­port­ive of the arts.”

Grade 11 stu­dent Rachelle Collins, 17, had two pieces on dis­play. One, called On a Whim, was in­spired by Vin­cent van Gogh’s The Starry Night. The other, Tidal Wave, shows a curl­ing sea wrapped around a set­ting sun. She said hav­ing her art on dis­play in a well-known down­town gallery is an in­credi­ble feel­ing.

“It’s an ex­pe­ri­ence that I will never for­get,” said Collins.

“I can­not be­lieve this is ac­tu­ally hap­pen­ing. I could never have imag­ined that, start­ing in Grade 7, that by Grade 11, af­ter all my ex­pe­ri­ence in art at LCC, that I would be able to have one of my fi­nal projects, that I worked so hard on, ac­tu­ally be hung in a gallery for so many peo­ple to see.”

Grade 11 stu­dent Lau­ryn Ober­man, 17, worked to in­cor­po­rate fe­male por­traits into her art. Us­ing acrylic paint and Andy Warhol’s silkscreened images of Marylin Mon­roe as in­spi­ra­tion, she cre­ated her vividly hued piece called Never End­ing.

“I feel hon­oured that I have the op­por­tu­nity to have my work ex­hib­ited in a place like this,” she said. “I’ve never had this ex­pe­ri­ence be­fore. It’s def­i­nitely dif­fer­ent and I like it.”

LCC is a pri­vate K-12 univer­sity prepara­tory school on Royal Ave. in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce. In­te­grat­ing arts ed­u­ca­tion into the school cur­ricu­lum “is a pri­or­ity at LCC,” states a school press re­lease.”

ALLEN MCINNIS

Lower Canada Col­lege stu­dent Danova Gardil­cic, one of 18 young artists ex­hibit­ing their works at the pres­ti­gious Alan Klinkhoff Gallery, stands be­side her piece en­ti­tled Self-Por­trait in a Red Sweater.

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