In 2017, the AGH began a series of new project exhibitions, inviting contemporary artists of the region to research and respond to an aspect of the Gallery’s permanent collection. For this second iteration of the series, Hamilton-based artist Stephanie Vegh combed through the Gallery’s historic and modern holdings and envisaged aesthetic and thematic links between three seemingly disparate artworks: Edmund Kanoldt (German; 1839-1904), Sappho on the Cliff of Leucadia (1879); Paul Nash (British; 1889-1946), Monster Shore (1939); and Aline Myles Banting (Canadian; 1911-1998), Self Portrait (c.1932). Shown in situ with new drawings by Vegh, the collection artworks will be imbued with new meaning – and set on a narrative trajectory to reflect the ecological uncertainty of our present time.
[These three paintings] serve as the starting point for a body of work exploring the human pull to precarious shorelines in a time of ecological crisis. United by their formal elements and storytelling potential, I aim to unite the suggestive suicide of Kanoldt’s Sappho to the parched landscape of Nash’s Monster Shore, with Aline Myles Banting’s Self-Portrait poised as a relatable figure of survival, calmly drying her hair in spite of the deluge.
(Stephanie Vegh, 2017)
Stephanie Vegh is an artist and writer born in Hamilton who studied comparative literature and studio art at McMaster University, and completed her MFA at the Glasgow School of Art. She has exhibited drawings and installations in the UK and Canada, and regularly publishes art writing and criticism in various local and national platforms. Since returning to Hamilton in 2007, Vegh has maintained an active local profile in arts practice and advocacy, and has been instrumental in fostering the artistic community. Given her lifelong attachment to this Gallery, Vegh’s research on the AGH collection is suffused with personal memory, incisive questioning, and imaginative reflection.