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Re View celebrates art gallery’s 10th anniversary

Cathy Dobson It’s a colour extravaganza on a dull winter day.
The Judith & Norman Alix Art Gallery is celebrating its 10th anniversary. (JNAAG photo)
Cathy Dobson

It’s a colour extravaganza on a dull winter day.

The second exhibition to celebrate the Judith & Norman Alix Art Gallery’s (JNAAG) 10th anniversary features the “deliriously” bright abstract work of modernist William Ronald and is getting rave reviews.

JNAAG Curator Sonya Blazek
“People are saying, ‘Wow, how appropriate during winter to appreciate an immersive experience in bright colour,” says JNAAG’s curator Sonya Blazek.

In particular, gallery visitors are enjoying the all-ages audio tour that accompanies the exhibition. William Ronald was founder of the group known as Painters Eleven who banded together in the  1950s to exhibit abstract art in Toronto.

Sarnia’s public art gallery acquired several of Ronald’s paintings, resplendent in colour and movement. They are part of the gallery’s permanent collection but have never been displayed before at JNAAG. Ronald’s Aquacryl abstracts form the second of six Re View exhibitions being held to commemorate the gallery’s first 10 years at the corner of Lochiel and Christina Streets. All exhibitions feature works from the permanent collection. Together they show the “breadth and range” of the artwork owned by the community, said Blazek.

The first exhibition was a nod to the building itself, which was built in 1893 and known as the J.S. Thom Building until its conversion by the County of Lambton into the JNAAG in 2012. Previously, the gallery was known as Gallery Lambton and was located at the Sarnia library and later at the Bayside Mall. Since opening at its new state-of-the-art location, 75,000 people have visited in the past 10 year, said Blazek.

Re View’s Exhibiton #2 featuring Ronald’s work will be on display in the Biehn Gallery on the second floor until April 15.

Also on the second floor right now is an interactive exhibit inspired by the Re View that looks to the future.

Community members are invited to think about the kind of Sarnia/Lambton they want to live in 10, 15, even 20 years from now.  The lecture theatre has work tables where the public can write down or illustrate their vision, whether it’s about the buildings, the environment, transportation, or any other aspect of community that they choose.

A blueprint for Sarnia/Lambton’s future is taking shape on the second floor of the public art gallery. (Cathy Dobson photo)

Submissions are being accepted until March 31 and already dozens are posted on the wall.  Ultimately, JNAAG reps will work with local marketing firm TMRRW inc. to select the most inspiring and create a visual “window to the future” using ideas drafted by the community.

In May, something called an Augmented Reality (AR) visual realization will be revealed, based on those ideals for the future.

Blazek said it’s not entirely certain what shape the presentation will take - whether it will be animated for instance – but it will be possible to view it on a device such as an iPhone or computer.

To learn more about JNAAG’s current exhibitions, visit and click on Exhibitions.  A free lecture about William Ronald is planned for March 23 at 7 p.m. with Lawrence Brissenden.

The JNAAG is open Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Thursday from 11 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.   Admission is free.

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