Pandemic isolation difficult for Victoria Harbour artist
Victoria Harbour artist Michael Farnan is overjoyed to see his work hanging in a public gallery once again, ready to be enjoyed up close by patrons of Barrie’s MacLaren Art Centre.
Farnan is one of the first artists to be featured at the Mulcaster Street art hub as it reopens to the public after being shuttered due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“I was starting to feel isolated in a studio situation, and there was a lot of uncertainty since I had multiple projects cancelled,” said Farnan, whose works have been shown across the country. “When institutions shut down, it creates a real inequity in the arts community.”
Farnan, a historian whose works focus on the settlement of Canada and the Indigenous experience, complimented gallery staff for reopening under difficult conditions.
“The MacLaren stuck with us, so I’m pretty happy about that,” he said.
The art centre welcomed the public on Sept. 16, with indoor COVID-19 precautions such as mandatory masks in place.
Public gallery hours are now Thursday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Hours to enjoy the café are Tuesday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Tyler Durbano, assistant curator at the MacLaren, said he is happy to see art lovers return to the centre after an extended absence.
“It’s been most difficult for us not being able to be open for the public and our members,” he said. “Usually, the place is alive with the voices of people as they enjoy the art and the café. We’re really looking forward to that again.”
Other artists featured during the reopening are Chum McLeod with small world, which uses intricate pop-out art featuring bunnies in unusual and sometimes mysterious situations.
Works by Kelly Jazvac, under the title Polyempath Polyethylene, are also on display. Jazvac’s art engages the prevalence of synthetic materials in contemporary life.
The centre will also be offering fall classes in various artistic formats.
Admission to the MacLaren, located at 37 Mulcaster St., is free with a suggested donation of $5.
Original Article by Ted Vanderlinde – Barrie Advance