Ted Ziegler. Thomas Craig Oliver. John Moffat (the image above is his: Cavan Gothic, 1988). Tobey C. Anderson. Sheldon Rooney. Steve Remus. Geoff Farnsworth. Mike Hewko. Ed Hausmann. Floyd Elzinga. Campbell Scott. Alice Crawley. Peter Harris. Alan Flint. Melanie MacDonald.
And that is just a sampling, as there are many many others that are also significant touchstones in the visual history of art in Niagara. These, and many other unique, notable and somewhat idiosyncratic artworks and art objects could be yours, from the upcoming Revelry for Papa Tee: Art Auction + Celebration at Niagara Artist Centre.
Eclectic does not even begin to describe this collection of work: and it is a massive selection of artworks and art objects. There are works by artists that are from the wider pantheon of Canadian art history (such as Robert Reginald Whale (1805-1887), a well-collected Niagara folk artist from the late 1800s, whose works have sold for significant amounts) but there are also delightful objects and ephemera that are like little moments of joy, with an oddness that is endearing.
To take from NAC’s blurb about this event: On Saturday 13 August NAC celebrates the life of one of our most beloved members, Nicholas Treanor, also known as ‘Papa Tee’.
To do it up right, we’re hosting a party at NAC that spills out onto the street and features an exhibit of Nick’s unparalleled collection of visual art, the sale and live auctioning of select works from the collection as well as some of the more interesting curiosities in Nick’s collection. We’re capping it with a performance by one of Nick’s favourite bands on St. Paul Street, the Woodshed Orchestra, who will perform from the mobile stage we’ve name after him: the Papa Tee Show Mobile
There was nothing Nick loved more than a great art exhibit and a band playing to a happy crowd. In his honour, this event delivers both.
Read more about Papa Tee here.
I’d like to sample from that linked tribute, specifically a section that is relevant to the collection of work you’ll see at NAC, citing the very personal and compassionate words of Director Steve Remus:
Most NAC members will remember Nick as a collector and a regular at opening receptions. The only new things he seemed to purchase were works of art. Almost every other acquisition was a yard or garage sale find, or from thrift stores that traded in used goods like Saint Vincent de Paul. And here, he found discarded works of art too. This made for a nearly unimaginably broad and eclectic collection. Nick amassed fine art, folk art, antiques, and kitsch until his home brimmed with it. It’s difficult to discern what parameters governed Nick’s collecting. As much as the artists represented in it might be reluctant to admit (and there are many of them because Nick possessed a singularly incredible depository of art created by Niagarans), his was a collection of intriguing and beautiful things that shared a type of neglect. It was an orphanage for objects most people had somehow lost — or had never had — the ability to wonder at and appreciate. There is a straight line that can be drawn from why Nick venerated the things he collected to his days in the 1970s and 80s as one of the most knowledgeable dealers of early Canadian furniture and antiques in the province.
For many artists, Nick was the first person to acquire a work of art they’d made who wasn’t family. As a young artist, I benefitted from this encouragement. Going on to work at NAC, I witnessed other artists benefit from this time and again. Nick made the idea of being an artist something more than an abstract notion. He purchased our work but also always wanted to meet us, to discover what motivated us, and to understand us on our own terms as artists.
Many of the works on display have stories behind them, as well, that make them an even more relevant – and entertaining – slice of Niagara art history. It’s always lovely to see some of Ted Ziegler’s work (his billboard on Geneva street is in horrid disrepair, but I chose to remember him visiting my high school art class, decades ago, and presenting real possibilities of what it could mean to be an artist in Niagara). Other notables – Tobey C. Anderson or Thomas Craig Oliver – helped found and foster spaces like NAC, that have become touchstones of the community. John Moffat is to be counted among these trailblazers as well, and this is a work that was featured on several editions of Pulitzer Prize and Governor General Award-winning author Carol Shield’s book of poetry, Coming to Canada. John is donating a copy of the book to accompany the sale of the painting.
Ben Mosher’s landscape of downtown St. Catharines is from the days before the Performing Arts Centre, a memory of a different city, if you will, and showing how visual art is history in another way.
But this isn’t just nostalgia: there’s works by contemporary, active and important artists creating right now: Geoff Farnsworth, Floyd Elzinga and Melanie MacDonald all are represented in this grouping, with several lovely works that would be an adornment to any personal collection.
Right now, the important details you need to know are the following: from 3PM to 6PM there will be the live auction and various remarks in remembrance and appreciation. From 3 PM to 11 PM, there will be the Silent Auction + Art Sale. Performing throughout the evening (from 7 PM to 10 PM) will be The Woodshed Orchestra.
NAC has created an online preview of the works which can be seen HERE, which has images and information on all the works, as well as all you need to know to acquire some of these artworks and art objects.