About 2 Rooms

Located on the Bonavista peninsula, “2 Rooms Contemporary Art Projects” is located in a dual-natured, recently restored saltbox house in Duntara. The galleries on the first floor are home to curated exhibitions of contemporary art, while the upper floors house a series of conceptual museum displays that feature local artefacts and natural specimens in an interesting manner.

In other words, it’s a new museum and art gallery: come for one, and enjoy the other while you’re there. 2 Rooms aims to reflect “the confluence of historical, natural, and cultural conditions that exist interdependently in Newfoundland’s outport communities.”

The building itself is an artefact: it was hand-built in 1881 by an eighteen-year-old fisherman and cobbler named Stephen Aylward. Many such Newfoundland homes have been abandoned for a decade or more and are collapsing around the island. Saving or repurposing what remains of these houses, “is a vital documentation of 18th and 19th century settlement heritage in the area,” according to 2 Rooms’ director Catherine Beaudette.

At the time Beaudette purchased the house, the roof was leaking, the back porch had completely rotted, and the interior was in poor condition. The solid stud barn and hayloft fell to the ground when Hurricane Igor swept through the area in 2010.

The woman behind the operation is Catherine Beaudette, a Canadian artist and Associate Professor at OCAD University in Toronto. It’s not her first founding venture: she is the founder of Loop Gallery in Toronto. As an artist, she has attended art residencies in places like Spain, Serbia/Montenegro, Germany, Banff, Fogo Island, and Mexico. She is also a past winner of The RBC Canadian Painting Prize, and has twice has been awarded an Elizabeth Greenshield’s Foundation Grant.

Flotsam Exhibition, July 13 – August 24

2 Rooms has an exhibit opening this Sunday from 2-5, called “Flotsam: Between material and spirit.” It features work by Heather Nicol, Reinhard Reizenstein, and Sally Thurlow.

All objects in this exhibition have been carefully collected and reclaimed by each artist, including timber washed ashore by the sea, and a plethora of items forgotten and discarded. A fitting subject matter for an abandoned home repurposed into a gallery.

As an exhibit handout states, “Imbued with life’s energy, found objects hold our desires and mark the passage of time as a continuum of process and renewal.”

Heather Nicol is an interdisciplinary artist and independent curator based in Toronto. Her work in this exhibit “ employs objects from the domestic realm such as stemware, china and wallpaper, drawing upon the aesthetic traditions of home decorating and entertaining as a means to consider the pleasures and provocations of putting things on display, such as the setting of the table.”

Sally Thurow is a multi-disciplinary artist based in Whitby, Ontario. The driftwood forms that Thurlow has in this exhibition represent “a human longing for reclamation; travelers through time looking for meaning.”  The work was conceived during her time as Artist in Residence at Gros Morne National Park. “Newfoundland driftwood came to feel evocative of the courageous and indomitable Maritime character.”

Reinhard Reitzenstein is a German artist who has participated in hundreds of solo and group exhibitions in North and South America and abroad. In Iconophilia Reinhard has created a tale that reflects how, when Catherine bought 2 Rooms, “she uncovered a narrow door that led to a space under the stairway where she discovered a shrine to the Black Madonna. When during the lengthy history of the house had this happened?  The Madonna Negra can be traced back to the cult of Mother Earth in the Aegean-Cretean culture where the priests were women and the Goddess Mother was venerated in caves.”

The 2014 Museum Display: Zip-locks 2000

Beaudette’s conceptual museological exhibits introduce us to a number of artefacts and natural specimens from her extensive collection.  By “reordering rusted rural relics and older oceanic items,” Beaudette “traverses boundaries that are often constructed to separate nature from culture and the past from the present.” The objects and fragments on display have been gathered over the course of a decade from beaches and abandoned buildings.

The 2014 museum display, Zip-locks 2000 features 366 zip-lock bags, one for each day of the year 2000. Every day in 2000, Beaudette collected an object, placed it in a Zip-lock bag and recorded the date and location. During that year she lived in Toronto, Newfoundland, and Italy, collecting ‘daily artefacts’ from each location. The resulting collection of material culture documents the first year of the 21st century.

2 Rooms Artist Residency

2 Rooms also provides “an opportunity for professional visual artists and writers to pursue their creative work in the rich natural and cultural environment of east coast Newfoundland.”

The Artist Residency provides studio space and living accommodation for 2 artists or writers at the same time. Artists and writers connect with the local community simply by living in Duntara, and with the larger art community in the surrounding area through events, studio visits and recreation.

As Beaudette says, “2 Rooms Artist Residency is an opportunity for multi-layered cultural exchange between artists, craftsmen, writers, and fishermen.”

Right now, Bruno Billio, a sculptor and designer, is clewing up his time at 2 Rooms. From July 16th to August 5th, David Poolman will be there. David works in drawing, video, print media, and installation, and is the visual arts editor of The Rusty Toque. Local writer and multidisciplary artist Sara Tilley will be there from August 18th to September 7th.  (Sidenote: her forthcoming novel DUKE will be published in spring 2015.) Audrey Hurd, another local (who won the 2013 NLAC Emerging Artist Award for Newfoundland and Labrador) will also be there the same time as Sara.

Directions and Dates of Operation

July 13 to August 24, 2014
Friday to Sunday, 12-5pm or by appointment

Take TransCanada Highway towards Clarenville, exit at Hwy 230 onto the Discovery Trail. Take Hwy 235 towards Summerville. At King’s Cove turn left towards Duntara and Keels. Follow the sign into Duntara, turn left just before the dock.