Comics of 4 locally influenced artists on display at AGW
Comics are not an art form commonly displayed in a gallery, but two University of Windsor professors have teamed up with the Art Gallery of Windsor to highlight the works of four comic artists with roots in the Windsor and Essex County area.
Dale Jacobs and Suzanne Matheson are jointly curating the exhibit that showcases some of the work of David Collier, David Finch, Jeff Lemire and Kagan McLeod.
"We wanted to focus on those four artists initially because they are all from Windsor and Essex County," said Jacobs. "We wanted to show that Windsor is a big part of the international comics community."
Matheson adds that some of the work on display has many local associations.
"I'm also really pleased that the students who are going to come to this exhibition, will see what a rich tradition of 'making' comes from Windsor and Essex County," she said.
The exhibit features 68 sketches, drawings and works on paper — 17 from each artist.
"I hope they see the vibrancy, the imaginations and the possibility of comics as a field," said Matheson. "You can do anything with words and pictures, and I think the artists certainly bare that out."
Jacobs said they wanted to include pieces that give viewers a sense of the art-making process.
"So what we have when we're reading the books is the finished art — published, printed — but here you can see the eraser marks, you can see the blue pencil that they worked over, you can see where they've made corrections and sutured things together," he explains.
Jacobs said the exhibit also tries to eliminate the idea of "high art, low art."
"Trying to bridge that gap between the comics form that we think of and what happens in galleries," he said.
Jacobs said in the past 20 years comic art has gained more respect and has become a part of mainstream culture as another medium in which stories are told.
"All of the people involved in this show would really argue that comics are becoming even more relevant in the digital ago," said Matheson. "It's one of the places where you could really think about how significance is constructed."
The two professors also planned courses around the content of the exhibit. Jacobs taught a Comics Theory class and Matheson a course called Writing for the Arts. Their students put together resource booklets that will be available to help guide high school and grade school students through the display.
The exhibit opens on May 30 and goes until Sept. 20. Opening day will feature a panel discussion with David Collier and Kagan McLeod, with pay-what-you-can admission.