A man looks at a piece called Never Ending by LCC student Lauryn Oberman at the Alan Klinkhoff gallery in Montreal on Thursday April 20, 2017. Allen McInnis / Montreal Gazette
Over the next couple days, 18 Lower Canada College students are proudly displaying their art alongside the work of Canadian masters in the distinguished, downtown-based Alan Klinkhoff Gallery.
“Most people dream of having their art in here when they’re dead and we get to experience this while we’re alive,” said 18-year-old, pre-university student Madeleine Bienvenu, as she stood in front of her prominently displayed, silver-leaf painting of a rearing horse on Thursday evening during the Graduation Art Exhibition’s vernissage that drew a packed-in crowd of family, friends and LCC staff.
In describing her piece, The Balk, Bienvenu said: “This one represents the refusal to give in to everything that society expects of you and to be your own person, to stand up for what you believe in.”
There are a total of 35 student pieces that include vibrantly coloured paintings and sculptures. These students have studied visual arts through their high school career and, during the exhibition, they are displaying their final and favourite works from April 20 to 22.
The students are getting the full professional experience of hosting an exhibition by, among their tasks, putting up posters and creating a detailed booklet about the artists and their art. They are also staying on site throughout the three-day show to give visitors a tour not just of their own work, but of the masters as well. The students’ work is hanging alongside that of artists like Suzor-Coté and Clarence Gagnon in a gallery, located at 1448 Sherbrooke St. W., that specializes in deceased Canadian greats.
Walter Klinkhoff first opened an art gallery in 1950 and eventually passed it on to his son, Alan Klinkhoff, who graduated from LCC in 1970. Alan Klinkhoff sent his four children to LCC and now Jonathan Klinkhoff, class of 2000, runs the gallery’s Toronto location while Craig Klinkhoff, class of 2006, manages the one on Sherbrooke St. It was LCC’s visual arts teacher, Carol Loeb, that first approached the Kinkhoffs about hosting a student exhibition and, with a family history of fostering aspiring artists, they were quick to agree. Now the exhibition is in its second year.
“This is what every artist aims for,” said Loeb, noting the students are getting the full experience of what it is like to be a professional artist. “This is the dream.”
LCC student Danova Gardilcic stands next to her work, Self-Portrait in a Red Sweater, at the Alan Klinkhoff Gallery. Allen McInnis / Montreal Gazette
Alan Klinkhoff said a client had come in and asked about buying one of the student pieces earlier that day as some of the young artists are demonstrating a budding talent that could turn into a career. Loeb added, not all of the students will pursue art as a profession, but “they will always be appreciative and supportive of the arts.”
Grade 11 student Rachelle Collins, 17, had two pieces on display. One, called On a Whim, was inspired by Vincent van Gogh’s The Starry Night. The other, Tidal Wave, shows a curling sea wrapped around a setting sun. She said having her art on display in a well-known, downtown gallery is an incredible feeling.
“It’s an experience that I will never forget,” said Collins. “I cannot believe this is actually happening. I could never have imagined that, starting in Grade 7, that by Grade 11, after all my experience in art at LCC, that I would be able to have one of my final projects, that I worked so hard on, actually be hung in a gallery for so many people to see.”
Grade 11 student Lauryn Oberman, 17, worked to incorporate female portraits into her art. Using acrylic paint and Andy Warhol’s silksreened images of Marylin Monroe as inspiration, she created her vividly hued piece called Never Ending.
“I feel honoured that I have the opportunity to have my work exhibited in a place like this, the Alan Klinkhoff Gallery,” she said. “I’ve never had this experience before. It’s definitely different and I like it.”
LCC is a private K-12 university preparatory school on Royal Ave. in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce. Integrating arts education into the school curriculum “is a priority at LCC,” states a school press release which describes it as “integral to 21st century learning and to students’ development as well-rounded human beings.”
LCC student Jessica Brender reacts to first seeing her work, The Cherry Orchard, displayed at the Alan Klinkhoff Gallery in Montreal. Allen McInnis / Montreal Gazette
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