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Marnie Fleming is a 2016 winner of the Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts.

Directed by Daniel McIntyre
Co-production / Coproduction : Canada Council for the Arts & Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto (LIFT)
Presentation of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Independent Media Arts Alliance

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Marnie Fleming, curator and 2016 Canada Council laureate
– a film by Daniel McIntyre



I think for me, place matters. Exposing the richness, the history, to give a portrait of that place. Sometimes it’s fictional, sometimes it’s not, but that’s what makes it interesting.

When I came to Oakville Galleries, the policies had just been established that the mandate for the Gallery would be to show contemporary art. I saw it as a unique challenge in that there are two buildings that are two kilometers apart, completely different one from the other.

It was fun to follow those guidelines and yet be brand-new. It also meant that it was an open canvas for the permanent collection and that’s an aspect that I’m particularly proud of: that Oakville Galleries now has one of the finest permanent collections in the country and it belongs to the people of Oakville.

My generation of curators was really the first to enter the curatorial profession armed with a professional degree, and we came with a desire to contribute to Canadian exhibitions and Canadian art history through publications.

During the 1990s and the early 2000s Oakville Galleries was had a very active publishing program. We were doing it at a time when smaller regional art galleries – it just wasn’t a possibility.

In Canada, commuters spend on average 63 minutes a day in the car. So I thought, that’s something that I think everybody in Oakville can relate to. I see many of these exhibitions to be a corrective in terms of what we think of in terms of Canadian landscape painting. We don’t see Group of Seven landscapes on a daily basis – at least that’s not my experience living in an urban centre and then commuting to a suburban centre. It’s a very different different way of looking.

I think when we look at art we’re always travelling. Because the horizon line is so pervasive at Gairloch Gallery I see the horizon line as being another means of travelling in my head. It’s like promise for the future.

So where’s curating heading now? Well, I think of it like lake with currents – some strong and some are quite weak. I don’t know where it’s going, but I can tell you that we’re swimming in them right now.

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