Stratford artist Kim McCarthy poses with two of her encaustic and mixed-media paintings at the open of Brescia University College’s centenary exhibition in London last Sunday. Submitted photo
A recent transplant to Stratford, encaustic and mixed-media artist Kim McCarthy had barely even heard of Brescia University College in London before she was asked to have two of her pieces included in the school’s centenary exhibition, which opened last Sunday.While participating in last spring’s Stratford Studio Tour — when local artists open up their studios to the public — McCarthy met Catherinanne George, Brescia University’s director of campus ministry, who dropped into McCarthy’s studio to have a look at her work.“I remember this couple arriving, and they were really intrigued with my work and the symbolism, and it was Catherinanne George, the person who was going to coordinate these four exhibitions for Brescia’s centennial,” McCarthy said. “So that was when she first opened the conversation, and then several months passed, I didn’t hear from her — I completely forgot about it. She got in touch, I think it was in October or November, and was working with the retired curator from Western University, and they were in the process of putting the show together.”
Manifestations, by Kim McCarthy
Centred on the theme of Compassion and Right Relationship lead to Justice and Peace, Brescia’s first centenary art exhibition features the work of 22 artists from London and the surrounding region. Running until March 10, the exhibition is the first of four that will span the school’s 100th year as Canada’s only women’s university.The two pieces George chose to be part of the show are called Manifestations and Tribal Whispers, both of which are part of McCarthy’s Manifestations series of encaustic and mixed-media paintings. In order to have it included in the exhibition, McCarthy actually had to borrow Manifestations back from the collector she had sold it to previously.“My work overall lately has focused heavily on spiritual or sacred imagery, and I’m always very intrigued by the female figure as sort of a goddess representation because I’ve read a lot about how women were highly revered in sort of that pre-Christian era,” McCarthy said.
Tribal Whispers, by Kim McCarthy
“… And that to me is all rooted in energy from the earth, in nature. So those are the symbols I love to work with to express my thoughts around all of that. So, to be represented in a show that is hosted by a university that has been rooted in educating women for the past century, it just brought so many things full circle for me.”And not only is Brescia University rooted in the practice of educating women, the school is also rooted in art. While in attendance at the school’s 100th-anniversary opening ceremonies last Sunday — which included the opening of the art exhibition — McCarthy witnessed the unveiling of a painting of the university by Group-of-Seven artist A.J. Casson, commissioned by Joe Pigott of Pigott Construction — the company that built the school — in the late 1920’s.In celebration of Brescia’s 100th anniversary, the painting was donated to the school by the Pigott family.In addition to her work on display at Brescia, McCarthy said she has also been asked to provide two more pieces for the school’s fourth and final centenary exhibition in the fall.“I think as an artist, we often work in isolation and wondering where our audience is. It was just extremely validating and honouring to be included,” McCarthy said.For more information about McCarthy or to view her work, visit email@example.com