This catalogue documents the two exhibitions, Elegy (2022) and Mirabilia (2012) at St. Anne’s Anglican Church.
Essays by: Matthew Brower and Gordon Hatt
Design by: Lauren Wickware
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The collective first addressed the St. Anne’s site in 2012 with an exhibition titled Mirabilia, which is translated as marvels, or things that cause us to wonder. In our second exhibition (2022) at the site, Elegy, the celebration of wonders was supplanted by mourning for the destruction of the environment by anthropogenic climate change. Artists responded individually to this theme, creating sculptural and video installations that explored emotions ranging from sadness and anger, to nostalgia for the past, balanced by fragile hope for the future.
With art as the catalyst, Elegy served as an opportunity for discussion about ecological grief. Grief is more than expressing sadness, it is also about overcoming hopelessness and paralysis to begin to consider meaningful plans for action. St. Anne’s Anglican Church is a meaningful location for this dialogue as it is connected to the art world due to the presence of historically significant murals in the building and the parish’s appreciation for the arts. This extends to their excellent music program and frequent participation in contemporary art events. The church has a history of befriending diverse communities and caring for the vulnerable. The parish community was an active partner in the exhibition and in exploring the role of art to emotionally process our current planetary crisis.
This new NetherMind catalogue allows for dialogue on the topic of ecological grief to continue into the future. The publication includes extensive photos of the installations in both exhibitions as well as the essays commissioned for each show. It includes a reprint of Gordon Hatt’s 2012 essay, written for the Mirabilia exhibition. In it he examines the history of the NetherMind collective in the context of the Toronto art world of the 1990’s and how that period laid the foundation for the collective’s endeavours.
Matthew Brower wrote a beautiful new essay for the 2022 show that he has expanded for the catalogue. His essay, On Ecological Grief, uses the ten stages of grief to explore “the complex thoughts and emotions tied up in ecological grief” and to examine the thoughts and feelings that are evoked by each of the artworks in the exhibition. He writes: “The works in Elegy are experiential more than conceptual. They invite viewers to feel things and, through feeling things to make meaning.”