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The Archive of Merit: From the OSA to OCAD

The Art of Merit: from the OSA to OCAD painting by Toronto artist Rachael Grad

If you're ready to see original fine art in-person, I'm pleased to invite you to the "The Archive of Merit: From the OSA to OCAD" Exhibition at Ada Slaight Gallery, OCAD University, 100 McCaul Street, Toronto, Ontario. I have 3 original abstract paintings in this group art show which opens on June 2nd and runs through June 17th, 2022. One painting is in oil on canvas and the other abstract artworks are watercolour on paper. You can see my paintings above and below. 

Celebrating the Ontario Society of Artist's (OSA) 150-year history and past donations to the Government of Ontario Art Collection, twenty-five OCAD students drew inspiration from these historical artworks and created responding works in varying mediums. The Archive of Merit: From the OSA to OCAD showcases the artwork from the Archives of Ontario's collections and present-day OCAD students in one collective space, connecting the past to the present. 

I'm thrilled to have one of my paintings featured in the official Press Release from OCAD UNIVERSITY "Exhibition sheds light on OCAD U’s founding and future" (June 2, 2022).  

Press Release on Exhibition sheds light on OCAD's founding and future with screenshot of painting by Rachael Grad

Here are the details, links and dates for "The Archive of Merit: From the OSA to OCAD": 

  • Online Now on Kunstmatrix   
  • In person Art Exhibition runs from Thursday June 2nd to Friday June 17th at the Ada Slight Gallery (100 McCaul St. 2nd Floor)  
  • In-person Art Reception on Thursday June 9th at 6:30 pm 
  • The opening art party will includes an open bar and complimentary drinks and refreshments
  • Art Gallery Hours of Operation:  
  • Monday to Thursday 9 am to 10:30 pm 
  • Friday 9 am to 7:30 pm 
  • Closed on weekends  
  • Free Admission to see the art show
  • the art gallery is a Wheelchair Accessible Venue
  • Please note that OCAD UNIVERSITY requires masks for entry to the gallery space and school
  • Shown here is a screenshot of the official Press Release that features one of my abstract landscape paintings. You can read the full Press Release:

    Ontario Society of Artists at OCAD art show invitationThe talented art professors, graduate students, artists, and advisors involved in this collaborated art exhibition:

    Art Advisors: Emma Nishimura (Professor of Photography), Ilene Sova (Professor of Drawing and Painting), and Nafeha Khan (graduate student at OCAD)

    Art Curators: Anqi Li, Lex Barrie

    Artists: Adam Gourlay, Agnes Wong, Alex Tremblay, Anita Lasek, Ariana Fraser, Brandon, Baghaee, Cherie Leung, Connor Rothe, Dilshad Kanji, Emerald Repard-Denniston, Erika Lee, Ethan Platt, Firouzeh Saremifar, Ievgeniia Cherednikova, Isadara Bulaklak, Judith Librach, Katrina Langstroth, Nandy Heule, Olivia Aguiar, Parisa Heydari Gheshlaghi, Rachael Grad, Raha Alipourfard, Seo Young Yoon, Shinae Kim, and Tiffany Duong 

    I hope to see you in person at the art opening of "The Archive of Merit: From the OSA to OCAD" on June 9th, 2022 at OCAD University! 

    Artist Statement: Abstracted Pines  

    abstract forest painting by Toronto artist Rachael GradBright vibrant colours and abstract, gestural marks are my response to Mary Augusta Hiester Reid’s Pines at Sunset. Recognized for her art during her lifetime (1854-1921), Reid was the first woman to have a solo show at the Art Gallery of Ontario but was forgotten as soon as she passed away. In this dark, intense abstracted landscape painting, patches of shapes, light and air are glimpsed through the gloomy trees. 

    In Flower Diary; In Which Mary Hiester Reid Paints, Travels, Marries & Opens a Door (2021), Molly Peacock explains how when Reid entered the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts at age 29, she began painting with “manly oils” and abandoned “feminine” watercolours – the preferred paint for women of the time (pages 22-23). Like Reid, I paint abstractly but with visible brush strokes, drips, and using my children’s toys (including Thomas the Train toys) as paintbrushes. 

    However, I am reversing and confusing the traditions with an abstract, feminist response to Reid’s landscape work. In my responsive paintings artificial colours from the contemporary palette show the human-created toxins in modern Canada and widespread environmental pollution. The natural environment of pines is at risk from damaging human activities and deforestation. My works have a confused, claustrophobic feel showing my concerns about the hazards and unsafe world we are leaving for our children.  

    I intentionally made the size and scale of my acrylic and oil on canvas painting approximately the same as the original (36” x 24”) to understand Reid’s work and process. The watercolour works are slightly smaller at 30” x 22.” My abstract marks are an homage to abstract expressionism and the male dominated art movements that came after Reid. My abstract acrylic and watercolor paintings inspired by Pines at Sunset show how our world has changed since Reid’s lifetime.  

    Watch a Quick Video of My Three Abstract Paintings 

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