In Dialogue with a Curator

I’m blown away by the different online initiatives that are being offered by local arts organizations to keep serving our community!

Durham Art Gallery Initiative

Yesterday I took part in a Virtual Studio Visit with the curator Jaclyn Quaresma of the Durham Art Gallery. The initiative gives emerging artists the opportunity to dialogue with curatorial professionals to discuss recent projects! What an opportunity!!!

It was incredible to talk through my current #DrawingChallenge project with Quaresma. She was incredibly generous with her time and gave me some great feedback. .

Pitching my project

pitching my project courtney clinton

We discussed my engagement with a 19th century drawing course (part of the Rokeby Museum archive) and the different ways that I can activate this material for a contemporary audience.

As I described the project, I talked a lot about issues of accessibility for rural artists. I was thinking about the story of Rachael Elmer who took this course while living in rural Vermont in the 1890s.

The Durham Art Gallery’s mission is to bring art to a rural region in Ontario. Discussing my ideas with Quaresma, I realised that I don’t really have an authentic connection to the issues that face rural artists.

Developing my idea

My connection to Elmer’s story is not the specifics of being a rural artist but our shared experience of learning to draw. As we learned our craft both were in situations of isolation and art became our community.

As a realist I often feel outside the main cultural community of Montreal. My own experience with correspondence education was about finding community with other students, teachers and the art.

So the guiding idea of this project is this relationship between knowledge and connectivity (and what that can mean in times of isolation). When I discovered Rachael’s story, I felt an instant kinship. Despite time and place she became a friend. What allows for this seemingly impossible friendship is our shared visual language.