My new exhibit, Exhibition No. 5 opened at Laurier Brantford’s Yellow Brick Wall, 97 Dalhousie Street, on Monday, January 5, 2015. This exhibit is my first in Brantford since 2013 and features 20 never-before-shown pieces. The title of the exhibit refers to this being the fifth exhibit since the Yellow Brick Wall gallery opened in February 2014. Through the pieces I continue my exploration and interpretation of Brantford.
Our built heritage is an ignored backdrop to our daily life. We are focused on getting from one place to another. We rarely pay attention to our surroundings because of their slow rate of change. My goal is to bring our surroundings to the forefront; to rediscover the ignored beauty of our built environment.
My “South Side of Colborne Street” streetscapes are popular and two blocks are exhibited. However, I find the back of the buildings along Water Street more interesting because of their various sizes and shapes and the seemingly haphazard placement of the buildings. The Water Street streetscape captures a perspective you could never experience because portions of Water Street were obstructed by the parking garage or evergreens that prevented your ability to view the blocks as one whole. The streetscape of Water Street had not changed dramatically since the 1880s, until its demolition in 2010.
The Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo Railway station on Market Street South has long been a favourite of mine. In 2009, the rail line past the station was still in use, but by 2014 trains no longer run on this section of track. It is remarkable this station still survives given that TH & B passenger train service ceased through in Brantford on September 25th, 1954.
Small independent stores are often the hidden gems, known only to those who inhabit the neighbourhood, yet an integral part of the community. We can trace our earliest community memories to these stores: ice cream, chips, magazines, milk, and cigarettes.
Through my artistic pursuits I have become aware of how much our surroundings change: they are in a constant state of change. I am astonished by how many places I had captured in the last ten years are no longer around. Progress is relentless and new ventures replace old ones; some ventures are fleeting. The Verity Plow and Cockshutt complexes covered 52 acres of Eagle Place since the 1890s but as of 2014 almost no trace of these former industrial giants exists, except in our memories, photographs and artistic renderings.
The exhibit is open for viewing Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and often into the early evening hours, whenever the building is open for classroom purposes. The exhibit runs until Friday February 13th.
- Jack Jackowetz