August 20 - September 9
Public Reception: Friday, August 19, 6pm-8pm

Muskoka has long been known as a destination for leisure and recreation, but this reputation stands in stark contrast to the experience of the area’s earliest settlers.  

For the first generations that settled here, Muskoka was a harsh and rugged environment that required an incredible amount of labour to make it habitable. Today, however, much of Muskoka has been manicured into submission, the landscape and shoreline altered to cater to our recreational whims.  

This evolution of Muskoka from an untamed wilderness dotted with rough-hewn, one-room cabins into a playground for the wealthy known for its opulent lakeside summer homes is the topic of exploration for Cabin, the upcoming group exhibition at the Chapel Gallery featuring work by Dayna Barley-Cohrs, Miranda Britton, Andrew Cohrs and Gavin Hammond.  

Drawing on the theme of the one-room settler’s cabin, each of the four artists has created pieces that explore the relationship between our natural and built environments here in Muskoka and how our interaction with these environments has evolved.  

The initial impetus for the show came from Gavin, a fifth generation Muskokan who, as a designer/builder, often reflects on how much his experience designing and creating high end living spaces differs from that of his ancestors. “Beyond this difference though, I’m also starting to see a shift back towards traditional craftsmanship,” says Gavin. “Even if it is only artisanal or small batch production of handmade goods – it’s really interesting to witness this swing back towards a preference for the handmade.”    

Jeweller and mixed-media artist, Miranda Britton, painter and illustrator Dayna Barley-Cohrs and metal artist Andrew Cohrs, all of whom live rurally and make a living creating with their hands, share Gavin’s interest in reflecting on how life in Muskoka has evolved over time. Through discussion, the four artists have developed pieces that explore these ideas and generational shifts.  

“The settlement of Canada was one of the original ‘back to the land’ movements,” explains Miranda. “By coming here, European settlers took a significant step backwards and often didn’t really know what they were doing. They had to learn as they went and develop a diverse set of skills from farming to carpentry to tool fabrication.”  

For Gavin, the exploration of these themes has resulted in a series of mixed media utilitarian pieces and natural sculptures that represent and explore the contrast between manmade and natural lines, shape and form.  

For Miranda, the pieces for this show have primarily taken the form of mixed media assemblages that are based on the type of objects typically found in a pioneer cabin, but with a humourous nod to the modern experience of Muskoka.  

Dayna’s contribution to Cabin will be a series of paintings and illustrations that emphasize the contrasts between the daily life of early settlers versus that of the current inhabitants of the area.  

And for metal artist, Andrew, this exhibition has provided an opportunity for him to explore the tools required to make a life in the wilderness.  

To help link the diverse work of all four artists back to the original motif of the one-room settler’s cabin, the four artists will collaboratively transform the Chapel Gallery into a space that references and extrapolates upon the structure of a one-room cabin, but in a minimal and modern way, with each of their pieces installed within the constructed environment.  

Cabin opens with a public reception on Friday, August 19 from 6pm until 8pm. The exhibition continues at the Chapel Gallery until September 9.

        If you would like to receive e-mail notices of our upcoming exhibitions and shows, 
please send an e-mail with your request including your full name and e-mail address.

Located at 15 King Street in Bracebridge, the gallery is open year-round, Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm. It is closed during the last week of September and the second week of October as well as between Christmas and New Year’s Days. Please check the Calendar of Events for the actual dates. For a map, please follow this link.

Exhibitions are booked one year in advance.  To learn how to apply for a show, please follow this link: Exhibition Application.

The Chapel Gallery was opened in September, 1989. Housed in a reconstruction of the first Presbyterian Church in Bracebridge, the Chapel Gallery hosts exhibitions of art and craft by our members and other local and provincial artists. Exhibitions are selected by the Gallery Committee and change every three to four weeks.

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Muskoka Arts & Crafts Inc. is located in the District Municipality of  Muskoka, Ontario, Canada.