Opening: Friday, September 29th from 7 – 10pm
Show runs from September 29 – October 22nd
Open Wednesday – Saturday from 12-5pm
This was a first-time artistic collaboration for both Patti Randazzo Beckett and Renée Wetselaar. They have been collaborators and co-conspirators in the arts community in Hamilton since 1993 as co-workers, ED’s of their respective organizations and numerous arts advisory committees.
They spent time counter-mapping the county through the lens of the impact of colonization on the identity of the landscape. Starting with the cairn, a memorial at the Carrying Place where, in 1787, the Chiefs of The Mississauga and Sir John Johnson, Superintendent of Indian Affairs, negotiated a treaty and The Mississauga agreed to cede land and a river on the isthmus which would facilitate travel between the Bay of Quinte from Lake Ontario, and around the county to places such as Waupoos, the only Indigenous named village or town in the county. The cairn, ‘while hidden in plain sight’ is overrun by bushes and is not very visible to the passerby. Nor are there any markers drawing visitors to the site.
The artists observed that while landmarks for the Loyalist colonizers where markedly present in the county, the naming of highways and on the quilted patterns dotting barns and homes, there was little to no public evidence of pre-contact and current Indigenous ownership or acknowledgement of the land.
By counter mapping the landscape in their work, their collaboration resulted in a counter legacy to the predominant colonizer/settler landscaping and mark making in PEC. The canvases include a land acknowledgment in the painting and noting their obligation as artists are claiming their role in re-shaping a predominant narrative of PEC.
The work, “Acknowledge” that they created together involved Patti’s painting experience and Renée’s very creative collage and assemblage experience. Patti did the foundation painting of the Red Tail Vineyard landscape and topography of PEC with Renée’s input. After the painting was mostly completed Renée added some acrylic ‘skins*’ of work they photographed in the area. Renée also composed the land acknowledgment that was also ‘skinned’ to be added to the painting along with portions of the “White Paper” and “Indian Act”.
Patti Randazzo Beckett is a graduate from McMaster University with a BA in Honours Art and Women’s Studies. Before pursuing her own artistic career, she spent several years supporting artists in various genres. Patti’s artwork has been showcased in solo and group exhibitions throughout southern Ontario, and she has also participated in artist residencies.
The inspiration for much of Patti’s artwork comes from her feminism, Canadian-Sicilian heritage, and her love for horses. She incorporates these influences into her pieces, which often explore themes of land, water, and flora. Patti’s extensive travels play a significant role in her artistic process, as she uses photo documentation to capture and examine her surroundings. She has a particular affinity for taking close-up, intimate shots of small areas, such as a six-inch square of flora, land, or structures. Patti’s paintings convey a simple narrative that is filtered through her personal experiences and studies of her Sicilian ancestry. Her work delves into the interplay between line and empty space, as well as colour and form, creating a sense of disquiet and tension. She begins her creative process with gestural life drawings and then employs intuitive embellishment, resulting in pieces that are both representational and abstracted.
Overall, Patti Randazzo Beckett’s artistic practice is a reflection of her exploration of various elements, including feminism, her heritage, and her observations of the natural world. Through her unique approach to painting and her use of photography, she brings a distinctive perspective to her artwork.
Renée Wetselaar is a graduate of McMaster University with a B.A. (Hons.) in Art and Art History and a M.A. in Globalization and the Human Condition. In her later years in art school, she and 5 others formed a ‘tacky’ punk rock band called the Dik Van Dykes. Armed with these two art forms, Renee carried on her career in the arts also as an advocate, ally, influencer and as Patti said, ‘co-conspirator’ driving positive change in policy and decision making, representation and voice/inclusion for women, 2SLGBTQ people and the BIPOC people in the arts community. In 1995 she began working as a DIrector at the Workers Arts and Heritage Centre where she and many others worked to increase voice and representation both for artists and workers alike in the arts across Ontario and Canada. In 2009 her career shifted into policy work across Hamilton focussed on housing and homelessness and in 2018 she took on the role of Executive Director at St. Matthew’s House, a local social service agency.
The inspiration for Renee’s work comes from her own experiences related to mental health and addiction, recognizing her white privilege and being an ally to Indigenous and Black community members, as a lesbian and and also simply as a woman artist engaging in the terrifying and exhilarating process and outcome of creative work. Her work is both deeply political and deeply personal. In this body of work, Renee interrogates our relationship to land and it’s identified history vs. the reality of the genocide of Indigenous people and the stealing of this very land.
Acknowledge, collaboration by Patti Randazzo Beckett & Renée Wetselaar, 8 canvas panels, 16 X 16″, mixed media. $2500
Prince Edward County by Patti Randazzo Beckett, mixed media on Stonehenge, 20 X 26″, $600
Little Boy Stolen by Renée Wetselaar, framed pigment print, 79 X 36″. $1800
No appointment necessary. If you would like to book a half hour gallery appointment please go here