Call for Submissions
Garden Follies: A Selection of Works by the Barrie Art Club
Members of the Barrie Art Club are invited to submit works of art to be featured in an upcoming themed exhibition at the MacLaren Art Centre, titled Garden Follies. The work of up to ten artists will be selected for display in the exhibition from June 16 to October 22 in the Carnegie Room.
Artworks must be submitted via the online submission portal by May 1, at 11:59pm. Before submitting, please download and read the Submission Guidelines document in full. Works that do not meet the submission guidelines will not be considered.
Last updated March 14, 2023
About the Theme: Garden Follies
In response to our summer exhibition Petrichor, this thematic exhibition will take the architectural structure of the Garden Folly to extend discussions around how humans have attempted to control, order, and shape the natural world.
Garden Follies are architectural structures built into the landscape devoid of a practical purpose. At the height of their popularity in Europe in the 1700s and 1800s, the true function of these structures was symbolic – referencing a landowner’s wealth, importance, and historical control over the land. The name folly – meaning lack of good sense – references the structures lack of practical function in favor of grabbing attention with their decadent ornamentation and propensity for constructing false histories. For example, garden follies were commonly built to resemble ancient ruins, giving an artificial impression of longstanding human control over the environment. While the garden folly is interested in inscribing human control over the land, common artistic approaches to representing the landscape tends to do the opposite – erasing human presence and attempting to eliminate the enduring tensions between humans and their attempts to control the natural world.
Artists are invited to take the garden folly as a source of inspiration and submit artworks that represent their unique interpretation of the theme. While garden follies may be useful starting point to think about gardens, landscape, architecture, and horticultural practices, these whimsical structures also serve as a starting point to encourage artists to think about how humans intervene in natural space, the impacts that we have had on the natural world, and in the face of changing landscapes and changing climates, where we go next. What might it look like to move away from the folly and cultivate a relationship with the earth that is not based on either human domination or human erasure, but rather a relationship that recognizes humans as equal contributors in a vast ecosystem? Or in the words of Robin Wall Kimmerer (Potawatomi Nation), to recognize that “all flourishing is mutual.”
About the Barrie Art Club:
Founded in 1949, the Barrie Art Club has grown into a vibrant community resource for artists and art lovers alike working in and around Barrie. With over 200 members, the Barrie Art Club supports artists working in all mediums across all levels, from professionals, to amateurs, to those who simply want to learn more about art. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to explore their creativity – the only pre-requisite is a love to create!
Garden Follies: Community Information Session – March 11
If you missed the Community Information Session on March 11 at the Barrie Art Club, you can now view the recorded version here. The 30-minute recording addresses frequently asked questions about the project and discusses the exhibition theme, submission guidelines, using the submission portal, and artist selection criteria.