On Wednesday, July 13th, an exhibition titled Couple on the Beach marked the opening of downtown St. John’s newest gallery. The Dayroom, directed by Penelope Smart, is nestled on the third floor of 177 Water Street, above the Newfoundland Weavery, and boasts a window overlooking Signal Hill.
Its opening party/exhibition received a great turnout; the small room was packed with viewers gathered intimately to view and discuss the art on display. Couple on the Beach features artists Alyssa Matthews, from Brooklyn, Sarah Sands Phillips, from Toronto, and local artists Hazel Eckert and Walter George.
The title of the show references an Alex Colville painting of the same name, and the works on display effectively captured its essence. Colville’s “Couple on the Beach” features a man and a woman on the beach, and while it is seemingly peaceful and characteristically idealized, as Penelope Smart states in the exhibition’s description, it portrays “a private scene simmering in danger and violence.”
Matthews’ colourful abstractions and her princess Diana prints offer an idealized summer to the viewer, while Eckert’s found bridal images suggest a complex and mysterious romantic relationship. Sands Phillips starts to suggest a looming threat with her unclear images of crashing waves, and George’s set of two daggers underline the danger conveyed in Colville’s narrative. When viewed together, the impressive artwork in this exhibition effectively give viewers a new perspective on a classic painting.
The Dayroom is a wonderful addition to downtown St. John’s, and if Couple on the Beach is any indication, it will increase the amount of incredible art on view in this city. The Dayroom is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 1-5 pm, as well as by appointment. Couple on the Beach will run until September 11th.
Article by intern Emily Pittman.