Art on the Wing: Student curator Chantelle Fawcett hosts February’s Art on Demand

Art, Emerging Artists, Off The Vine

From first glance, this month’s Art on Demand at The Reach Gallery and Museum is stunning. Its colours are sharp, and its shapes are crisp, contrasted by a clean, modern look. Artist Desirée Patterson’s concern is between the human condition and nature. “As humans evolve and cities grow, [she explores] how that’s impacting the environment. So, in a lot of ways, her art is looking at environmental preservation,” said intern curator, Chantelle Fawcett. Though Patterson has participated in gallery showings before, Fawcett selected her for her first solo exhibition.

This is Fawcett’s first opportunity to curate a show for The Reach. She found herself going over lists of submissions for her exhibition after applying for the Reach’s curation internship, leading her to selecting the beautiful art of Desirée Patterson. “I found her work to be really unique and different. She found a way to make beautiful compositions that aren’t extremely obvious,” said Fawcett.

Fawcett is in her final year of her BFA at UFV, and has been a member of the Emerge program for several years. Her own art style differs from Patterson’s in content and medium.

“I’m really interested in what’s going on around me. I typically will have figures of people in any of the art I produce. I’m really interested in what’s going on in popular culture.” Her preferred medium is painting, using stencils and spray paints. “Totally different from the artist I had chosen to show. These are all digital photographs,” Fawcett said.

“I spent about two days installing,” she said, “and I am learning, so it was a kind of a slower moving process for me. I remember sitting in here for half an hour with Kate [Bradford] (Emerge program Coordinator), moving [the art] back and forth.” She was surprised by the amount of paperwork involved in curating an exhibition, including curatorial essays and art plaques. “Hanging the art is a very small portion of what goes into putting on a show like this.”

Fawcett is the first of two intern curators for Art on Demand this year, with another show to open in March. Art on Demand 3.1 opened on January 26, at 6:00 p.m. alongside The Reach’s other major exhibitions, sharing an opening reception. Fawcett is enthusiastic about opening with the other exhibitions, expecting a large turnout to enjoy Patterson’s work.