Horizon Utilities is offering to restore two refrigerator art displays at the Hamilton Public Library after pulling them from an exhibit about energy conservation.
The company contacted two local artists Thursday afternoon offering to return their refrigerators to the floor. Horizon pulled them last week, saying they didn't fit the exhibition's conservation theme, although the artists impacted suspected it was censorship.
Kearon Roy Taylor and Katrine Foss say they will allow their fridges to be displayed again if they are shown under the Horizon banner.Katrine Foss shows an image of her refrigerator piece. (Paul Wilson/CBC)
“I think it's important that it goes up as intended," said Katrine Foss, whose fridge had a maternal theme that depicted a face and breasts. "Otherwise I would never have made a refrigerator as a piece of art.”
Five local artists received a $250 honorarium this summer to turn four old refrigerators into art. Last week, the refrigerators made by Foss and Roy Taylor were removed.
“I was obviously not pleased,” said Roy Taylor, whose fridge included bones and fluorescent lights.
While Horizon said the fridges didn't fit with the conservation theme, Roy Taylor said he hadn't heard of a conservation theme until his fridge was removed.
“There wasn't a whole lot of direction given,” he said. “I was actually a little fuzzy on it for quite a while.”
The other artists — Andrew McPhail, Frances Ward and Svava Thordis Juliusson — covered their fridges in protest. Juliusson said she will uncover hers if Foss's and Roy Taylor's are reinstated.
“We're working in solidarity, I guess,” she said. “We made a decision to stand with them. If they decide they'll agree to have fridges displayed, then we'll restore our works.”
The whole incident has been a misunderstanding, Horizon spokesperson Tony Iavarone said Thursday. The exhibit was intended for Supercrawl and meant to stay at the public library for two weeks afterward. If the two works are restored, they will be displayed with Horizon's name associated with them, he said.
He told CBC Hamilton on Thursday that the utility company probably could have better explained what it was looking for.
“We don't have any issue with the art," he said.