Pamela Ollenberger’s “Many Feathers Flock Together: A Celebration of T-Bird”

This week at the Snelgrove is Pam Ollenberger’s MFA show “Many Feathers Flock Together”

Her work is a reflection and celebration of fond memories when Pam worked as a camp counselor at Camp Thunderbird, a camp for adults with intellectual disabilities.

Pam’s show looks awesome in the gallery. Her paintings are massive, colorful explorations of memory, where Pam uses a lot of different painting materials and techniques. With the lights being dim and calm the bright crayola colors seem to glow and jump out of her paintings. Each painting also has a sophisticated black frame. I don’t know if it was just me, but I really noticed the gallery floor during Pam’s exhibition. It could have been freshly waxed and buffed, but the bright rich colors of Pam’s paintings spilled out and reflected onto and activated the floor of the gallery.

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Pam’s paintings gave me a load of feelings of childhood nostalgia. I went back to my own memories of summer camps as a kid. Allow me to reflect, summer camps are something sincerely special. The week (or two week) span of a summer camps feels as if it’s something SO EPIC. I remember coming out of summer camp and feeling like it was a month or two because the experiences were so rich and concentrated. Friendships were made, crushes formed, lessons learned, and camp counselors were always heroes. OK reflection over, sorry If you didn’t do summer camps as a kid.

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My favorite paintings of Pam’s were here photo-transfer / painting collages.
The source imagery for these if pretty neat. Pam gave out disposable cameras to campers to document their day as they want you to see it. Her massive paintings look at little like a Rauschenberg without the pop culture imagery. There’s a lot going on in them so you can spend some time exploring the imagery. Pam also has painted over areas both additively and reductively.

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Many of Pam’s paintings have recognizable elements with hints of an inner story. I’m sure that they have loads of meaning once dissected, or with Pam’s help.

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Come down to the Snelgrove to see Pam’s massive paintings for yourself!
ORRR come for a drink and snacks at the reception Friday evening! Cya at the Snelgrove

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Aminah Jomah’s “Liminality” MFA Show

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Last Friday was the closing reception of Aminah Jomah’s MFA Show “Liminality: A Transient Gaze” at the Snelgrove Gallery.
Liminality can mean barely perceptible or of being in an intermediate state. What a great word for her show. Aminah Jomah is a Lebanese Canadian that is exploring her identity, past, and connection to place between being Canadian and being Lebanese. She uses photos from a return visit from Lebanon mixed with memory as her source material.
Aminah’s show could be divided into two segments: her large scale paintings and her photography based work.
Immediately upon walking in you are greeted by her paintings. Aminah’s paintings range between sweeping urban landscapes to haunting interiors. Her urban landcapes look to be an intersection between old and new. There’s scattered building materials a deconstructed buildings that reconstruct into other buildings, perhaps speaking to the internal process of mentally recreating place/memory. She uses loads of mark making techniques that include rough charcoal architectural flow lines that a contribute to the feeling that place and memory is constructed.

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The paint on her canvas is also interesting as there’s areas that have been painted once securely while other areas have thickly applied paint that could have been painted over numerous times. There were little details like found treasures in her paintings that I particularly enjoyed.

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Her interior paintings look as if a camera caught a ghost on film. There’s someone there but you’re not really sure what it is supposed to be. This could speak to becoming Canadian or keeping Lebanese or a mix of both.
Another thing I really enjoyed was hearing her family talk about her paintings. In one painting, originally one of my least favorites, I heard Aminah’s family excitedly recognize and dissect parts of the painting arguing with each others recollection of memory. This gave whole new insight and new appreciation to her work!

Aminah’s other room was curtained off displaying her photography work displayed on hand made light boxes. This was my favorite. Entering the space through the curtain, you are hit by the ambiance. The mood in this room is reflective and meditative as the room feels as if it is slowly breathing by the rhythmic central light slowly dimming and lighting up. Then there’s the displays: her light boxes are all different sizes, irregularly hung. People in this room stayed a while having to sometimes kneel down or tippy toe to peak into the light box displays. The photo work in the light boxes were interesting, she drew and painted additively and reductively onto the photos making them less about documentation and more of a personal reflection. The subject material was similar to some of the paintings, interior landscapes sometimes with a ghost-like figure. I really loved this room.

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This week at the Snelgrove and next post: Chiaka McNaughton’s MFA show “Unhome: Objects of Vulnerability” up until Oct. 9th. Go check out some art!