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June 14, 2018 @ 9:00 am - July 17, 2018 @ 5:00 pm

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“My mother baked bread and “put up” preserves, all using a wood cook stove. Such domestic accomplishments required skills of patience, nurturing and being truly present; crops only lasted a short time, both in the field and when picked. Bread making required a skillful hand and attention to timing. The bread had to be kneaded to allow it to rise; attention to the baking time and heat in this truly made-by-hand method were crucial.

Contrasting such time-consuming tasks of the past, with today’s easy access to food products and smart appliances, the “Best Before” date takes on a meaning of metaphoric significance.

“Best Before” instigated by the ephemeral nature of crops, and continued through the necessitation in the quiet urgency of making preserves and bread.

Recognizing the patient nurturing of women in domestic tasks, – preserving fruit and making bread, I have created a loaf of bread, a loaf of “wonder”, with slices full of berries. The exaggerated scale calls attention to the importance of these, perhaps taken for granted, domestic skills.  A series of oil paintings related to preserves and baking will round out the exhibition.

The artworks are indicative of an era where efforts were hard wrought, and when “Best Before” was not only finite, but a way of life.

“I respect perseverance, patience and resilience and am drawn to a subject by its beauty, colour and rhythm. Exploring colouristically the drama in patterns, suggestive of creation, growth and endurance, allows me to see beauty in the ordinary.”

My artistic practice always revolves around paying respect to domesticity and traditions.  In so doing I usually play with the scale, in a sense enlarging the reverence around the subject matter.  Whether looking at women’s crafts of sewing, knitting, darning, or picking and preserving berries, or baking bread, I am thinking of the continuity of keeping the home fires burning. The theme is of a time when these chores were more labour intensive, a time of wood cook stoves, even coal oil lamps.

Working in the traditional medium of oil, I work on a body of work at a time developing a narrative. I like to add some form of mimicry; in this case I am painting on Styrofoam insulation, which today is used to insulate and warm a home. This is a nod to the similarity of the domestic tasks in keeping the home-fires burning and of traditions which have always added warmth to a home in many ways.”

Virginia Dupuis

Meet the artist:
Sunday, June 17, 2018
From 1 PM to 3 PM




June 14, 2018 @ 9:00 am
July 17, 2018 @ 5:00 pm


Arts Network Ottawa


AOE Gallery
245 Centrum Boulevard
Ottawa, Ontario K1E 0A1 Canada
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