To the right of the entrance hangs Erin Loree’s “Wanderer.” In the catalogue it is an abstract beauty; in person it is a psychedelic three-dimensional mesmerizer. The globs of thick colour jut out of the canvas and defy one to pass by without savouring the visual tactileness.
Looming over the main gallery and facing the bar is Michael Rachlis’ “Untitled (Rosacea)” that is huger than the dimensions listed in the catalogue can convey. Once again a reproduction fails to convey the sheer emotion of the actual canvas.
“We get hundreds of submissions,” Miss V explains. The process of winnowing down is painful but the jury – composed, for balance, of a present professor, a retired professor and an art star – deliberates, dissects and makes heartbreaking decisions.
“Forty percent are recent graduates,” she marvels. “Some date back to the ’70s. A half dozen of them will push forward. Most will have to get jobs. Even the OCADU staff are practising artists but have to teach. I can’t make a living from my art and have to consult.”
She stops and her voice takes on a throaty huskiness. “Look at this.” We are in front of Alfred Ng’s intricate watercolour papercuts. “Look how the light plays through them. The shadows are so sexy.”
We pause in front of the sculptures of Jeannie Pappas. They are comic, disturbing and delightful. “Look at the detail,” trills Miss V, reaching calmly into the art itself pull out a tiny skull from the Styxian/Tim Burton-esque “Untitled 2” for examination. “These are exquisite.”
The details in the artworks are overwhelming and what were images on the page become entire worlds to be explored. One can wander for as long as one wants and always find something new to discover. A tiny ghost in CA Way’s “Backupway” lures me to peruse the rest of the canvases and rewards me for the effortless effort with multiple surprises. Miss V will never lead one astray, only to an opening of the mind.
The 2014 OCADU Alumni Association Exhibition
continues until Sun, April 6 at the Gladstone Hotel,
1214 Queen St W. gladstonehotel.com