Friday, August 10, 2018

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye!

Adieu, adieu, to you, and you, and you!

Hi everyone, Caitlin here; as many of you know my time at the gallery is wrapping up. This September I'll be starting my MFA at Concordia University in Montreal. I'm truly going to miss this place and all of you so much, so I thought I'd get a little sentimental for a second about what the gallery and it's community have meant to me.

Caitlin with several of her pieces.

I remember the first time I came into the gallery. It was before I started at NSCAD and when I was first getting to know the city. After graduating from StFX I was sort of wandering, unsure of my next steps, and had just moved to Halifax after living in Ottawa for several months. I remember walking in to Argyle and being comfortable right away. The women behind the counter, who I would later come to know as Adriana and Crystal, were warm and welcoming. I didn't feel uncomfortable like I had at a few other galleries I'd popped into. Argyle wasn't sterile; it had life! It was also a really inspiring place and was a contributing factor that spurred me to go back to school and pursue a career in the arts, that until that point felt like more of a dream than a possibility. I'd also had the great fortune of meeting artists Gordon MacDonald and George Spencer at a restaurant I served at and they both became two of my favourite customers. They were both warm and kind and made me feel welcome in the Halifax art community.

Caitlin McGuire, "Halifax Central", 4'x5', Oil on Canvas

I had my first piece accepted at Argyle in January 2014 when they took one of my submissions as part of their Pre-Shrunk show. I'd submitted the year before and wasn't accepted, and they took one of my five submissions in 2014 - so if you've submitted and weren't accepted, don't give up! If you really want something, keep pursuing it. Adriana then brought me in to the gallery for an event to draw the Pre-Shrunk show, as interiors and tiny details are some of my favourite things to draw and she picked up on that. Adriana is really gifted at figuring out what it is that makes an artist tick. That was my true introduction to the Argyle community. I've been so fortunate to get to know so many wonderful people who have helped support my career because of Argyle. When I refer to the Argyle community I truly mean it, it's a real community here of people who support and care about one another. It's special.

Caitlin McGuire, "Three Men Reading on the Bus", 4"x5", Oil on Canvas - PreShrunk 2014

Drawing PreShrunk

A few months later Adriana asked if they could use one of my paintings for a new print subscription service, Creative Editions, they were starting. Not too long after Adriana asked if I'd be interested in having a show alongside one of my favourite artists, Mary Garoutte. I was getting ready to start my last year at NSCAD and jumped at the chance to exhibit my work. I spent the whole summer painting, and my first show at the gallery, "Port City" was born.

"Port City" opening 2014

The following year after I graduated I got to become part of the gallery in a different capacity. Crystal was going on maternity leave and I came on board to fill in for a year. Well, we all know how that turned out, as this is my third year behind the counter...I've always said I'm a terrible sales person, because I don't like to push people into buying things, but Argyle has always been different. Instead of selling I get to have conversations and connect with people. I have never felt like I'm trying to sell something, because I'm not. Instead I'm connecting with people through art - and I think that's another piece of what makes Argyle so special, this shared connection.

Crystal and Caitlin

Getting to see the gallery from both sides, as an artist and the assistant gallerist, has been an invaluable experience. I've gotten to take part in countless group shows and several exhibits of my own collections, including "Hiraeth" this year with Megan LeForte. From Nocturne to PreShrunk, getting to be part of so many amazing events and shows has been such a joy. Getting to know all of you has been the most fulfilling part. Having these conversations about art, materials and artists daily has kept me in the world I want to work in.

Megan LeForte and Caitlin McGuire at the Hiraeth opening.

To everyone who has come to one of my shows, who has purchased my work, shared kind words about my work, encouraged me, or just come in to chat - thank you. I wouldn't be here without your support, and I wouldn't be moving forward without it either. Thank you for giving me a place to grow and learn.

Normal gallery shenanigans.

To Adriana, thank you for everything. I can't put it into words what you've done for me or how working here has changed me and helped me develop as an artist, and a person. I'm moving forward with everything you've given and taught me. I am lucky to know you, to work with you, and to have you in my life.

Adriana and Caitlin

So Halifax, this isn't really goodbye, but just, see ya later... and thank you! You can see my body of work at the gallery HERE. My last day will be August 17th, so pop by! Until the next time, Halipeeps!