Sensing: to feel or experience something without being able to explain exactly how.
Belonging: an affinity for a place, situation or group. – Cambridge dictionary
In the spring of 2022, an open call was released, inviting artists living and working in Simcoe and Grey counties to submit an expression of interest for a studio visit. The call resulted in over sixty submissions. The curatorial team at the MacLaren selected eight artists for a studio visit, all of which took place over the course of the summer. What emerged in the work of many regional artists was a clear sensibility toward human relationships, our natural environment, and our constructed environment.
The work of the three artists in Sensing & Belonging—Carson Bowering, Kim Brett, and Claudia Mandler McKnight—when shown together provides an opportunity to consider their art on the basis of the inter-human relations it represents, produces, or prompts. Such relationships can be to oneself, to each other, to one’s environment or any combination of the three.
Individually, each art work interrupts the busyness of our day. Collectively, the exhibition offers aesthetically compelling images that encourage us to pause and reflect. John Ralston Saul, a Canadian writer and philosopher, once stated that without images we cannot imagine ourselves. Delacroix wrote in his diary that a successful picture temporarily ‘condensed’ an emotion, and it is the duty of the beholder’s eye to bring it to life. Art will always invite contextual associations. By placing the works of Bowering, Brett, and Mandler McKnight in relationship to one another, we invite you to participate in an experience of self-discovery: an experience in which you are left free to generate a range of meanings and interpretations that resonate on a personal and universal level; an experience that brings the art to life.