Time affects everything it touches. The Kitchener Waterloo Art Gallery’s exhibition “Gather…Arrange…Maintain…” explores the roles played by objects and art itself in the life of Jane Buyers, Canadian artist and fine arts professor emeritus at the University of Waterloo.
A biography full of sculptures, graphite sketches, reliefs, and miniature-audio displays, “Gather…Arrange…Maintain…” reconsiders Buyers’s past work and a path through different sources of inspiration and forms of media.
“[I want] people to imaginatively inhabit these spaces. The lights of the room draw you in. Audio captures people. They’ll leave a visual image much more quickly,” Buyers said.
Buyers was often inspired by the question of need. Forgotten tools and orphan objects are found often in her work. Objects go through their lives and go through many phases.
Buyers’s depictions of tools in graphite or sculptures portray current and past commonplace objects that have been replaced by the new. With each object the use can be forgotten and replaced by the enjoyment and bewilderment found in the intricate and creative design that held no possible “practical use.”
Having taught for 33 years, Buyers says she collected the notes students scribble in textbooks. “[It] display students trying to grasp the material in a very individual struggle. I find that an interesting thing,” Buyers said.
She learned new techniques from her colleagues that she used throughout her pieces. “[University] is a very supportive environment for artists because you’re in an environment where everything is about art,” she added. Buyers has retired from teaching but as she says “artists never retire”.
Buyers experience in teaching is greatly portrayed though out her work. Pieces explore books and drawings performed over the text of Macbeth. Walking through the exhibit is a walk through the experiences and influences of a lifetime.
Buyers’ pieces portray the influences of Virginia Luntz and Doris McCarthy, textiles, architecture, and her experiences instructing and being instructed. In unwritten words, “Gather…Arrange…Maintain…” gives a glimpse into the mind and imagination of Jane Buyers.