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Celebrating 10 Years at the Doris McCarthy Gallery

The Doris McCarthy Gallery celebrated its 10th anniversary with the opening of a new exhibit, Glam North: Doris McCarthy and Her New Contemporaries (Photo by Ken Jones)

The tail end of a long cold winter seems a fitting time to celebrate a milestone when it comes to Doris McCarthy.

As an artist best known for trekking to arctic climes to capture the beauty and sparseness of icebergs and tundra, McCarthy’s imagery is at the heart of Glam North: Doris McCarthy and Her New Contemporaries, the current exhibition at the Doris McCarthy Gallery (DMG).

The new exhibition marks the 10th anniversary of the gallery, and features a spectrum of contemporary art that examines the North and our relationship to the natural world. McCarthy’s oil paintings hang alongside 20 works by the next generation.

“Our exhibitions are able to present questions to which there are not necessarily answers, broadening our perspective, and giving us new facets through which to view the world,” says Ann MacDonald, director/curator for the DMG.

Dedicated to the collection, presentation and dissemination of contemporary art in all media, the gallery is free and serves both the academic community and broader public. Thanks to its excellent reputation, the DMG is able to reach new audiences by partnering with other galleries to tour exhibitions across Canada and produce substantial catalogues. In ten years, the gallery has presented 45 exhibitions and introduced such talents as David R Harper, Jon Sasaki and Mélanie Rocan.

Though contemporary art can be intimidating, the DMG hires UTSC students to act as animateurs, or guides, to help the uninitiated embrace the experience of gallery-going.

“It’s a common feeling not to ‘get’ contemporary art, but we create a friendly atmosphere to make it more inviting and accessible, allowing everyone to cross the threshold,” says MacDonald.

McCarthy lived to 100, and inspired many with her fierce determination and commitment to her art well into her senior years.

“My inspiration remains the landscape, not what any other artist has said about it,” said McCarthy when the gallery opened in 2004 with an exhibition of her work, entitled Everything Which is Yes. “To me, the real question is whether it speaks to you, the viewer, and enables you to share that experience.”

The gallery is currently holding an auction for two of McCarthy's paintings, donated by her estate to help raise funds for the DMG.

© University of Toronto Scarborough