Organization of Kingston Women Artists
visual artists

Event Blog

(posted on 20 Oct 2020)

Spy vs. Spy by Mary Peppard

Image: "Spy vs. Spy" by Mary Peppard 

This year's OKWA exhibit is "Un-Restricted" and is hanging at the Window Art Gallery at the Kingston School of Art. 647a Princess St. @ Victoria St., Kingston, ON. The exhibit can be viewed in person with safe-distance requirements until October 25th 2020. Additionally the pieces and statements from the exhibit can be viewed virtually through the link below:

What does it mean to be unrestricted?  Is it even possible for an artist’s creative process to be entirely free? ...  Or do we inherently carry the weight of our constraints — in our culture, our history, our education, our dreams?  

Restrictions take many forms, not all of them equal and not all of them obstacles.  A media or size restriction, for instance, may inspire an artist to experiment with something new, while a religious, cultural or financial restriction might prohibit exploration altogether.  Or not.  As we know, art is no stranger to political or cultural strife.  We can predict, for instance, that the global stresses of social distancing, lost lives and fear in this time of Covid-19 has worked its way into the voices of artists everywhere. 

While our theme was selected before the time of COVID-19, it has correlated well with this new era.  Twenty-five OKWA artists have explored the theme of ‘unrestricted’ in their approach to their work, with some specifically addressing, in varying ways, the impact of this unique time. One common thread appears as some artists use the unsettling nature of the pandemic to change aspects of their art practice, perhaps with a new medium or technique. As artist Phillida Hargreaves states:  “This pandemic has taken control away from us all.  But it has helped me loosen my need to plan for the future. I feel it changing my approach to art.”

While UNRESTRICTED suggests a parameter, conversely, it also invites a range of perspectives.  As artists we explore and along our journeys we make choices. Perhaps, having a choice of any sort — despite the restrictions which carved our paths — is the greatest liberty of all.