Visiting Artists Residency Exhibition: Daniel Barrow & Kathleen Ritter

Kathleen Ritter, 'Abbot Thayer’s Card Demonstration', 2017, screenprint with exposed photochromic inks on Arches Watercolor Paper 140lb, 22” x 15”. Printed by Meggan Winsley under the auspices of the Open Studio Visiting Artist Residency Program, 2016-17.

Visiting Artists

Visiting Artists

Main Gallery
Visiting Artists Residency Exhibition: Daniel Barrow & Kathleen Ritter

September 15, 2017 – October 14, 2017

Artist Talk Time: 6:00 - 7:00 PM

Visiting Artist Residency Exhibition: Daniel Barrow & Kathleen RitterArtist Talks: Friday, September 15, 2017, 6:00 – 7:00 PM Opening Reception: Friday, September 15, 2017, 7:00 – 9:00 PM

Each year Open Studio selects four professional artists with or without printmaking experience to create traditional and/or experimental works in the print medium of their choice, working collaboratively with a print media artist. The Visiting Artist Residency, in operation since 1983, is a popular program that receives applications from artists from around the world. In conjunction with the residency, each artist exhibits the work produced during their period in the Studio and gives an artist talk. These exhibitions are the result of this intensive work period.

The first of two Visiting Artist Residency exhibitions in 2017 will feature work by artists Daniel Barrow and Kathleen Ritter.

Daniel Barrow: Poem Barrow has always been drawn to the idea of emoticons and has enjoyed watching the reintegration of small pictures into language, and has no doubt this will continue to evolve as literacy devolves and texting becomes increasingly pictorial. He is fascinated by this evolution, especially as it relates to petroglyphs, hieroglyphs and logographic writing systems. During his residency at Open Studio, Barrow challenged himself to create a large three-dimensional emoticon poem. Poem is the outcome of this challenge.

Winnipeg-born, Montreal-based artist Daniel Barrow works in projection performance, installation, video, sculpture, printmaking and drawing. He has presented his projection performances at The Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), The Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles), The International Film Festival Rotterdam, The Portland Institute for Contemporary Art’s TBA festival, and the British Film Institute’s London Film Festival. Barrow is the winner of the 2010 Sobey Art Award – Canada’s largest prize for young Canadian artists – and the 2013 Glenfiddich Artist-In-Residence Prize.

Daniel Barrow would like to acknowledge the support of:


An essay by Don Goodes accompanies the exhibition. Please click here to download the brochure.  

Kathleen Ritter: In Broad Daylight

“You will find that on cloudy days the white cards will come nearest to matching the sky.”

In an article from the New York Tribune on Sunday, August 13, 1916, American artist, naturalist and teacher, Abbott Handerson Thayer, argued that British ships should all be painted white, since it was the only colour to camouflage a ship again the predominantly grey skies over the British sea. He “proved” his argument with a handmade demonstration, a series of 11 cards, 7 with different patterns and 4 blank, mounted to a horizontal stick supported by two vertical posts, propped up on the beach and viewed against the horizon. This, he argued, was undeniable evidence that white was the only shade that would disappear against the clouds. His theory relied on the fact that British skies are cloudy more often than not—but made no provisions for the moment the sun emerged.

All that remains of Thayer’s card demonstration is a tiny, archival image from the newspaper. During her residency at Open Studio, Kathleen Ritter took this image and re-created the demonstration using patterns derived from the standard dazzle camouflage that were used on Allied ships at that time. In place of the 4 blank cards, she used photochromic inks—inks that are barely visible until they are exposed to the sun. In theory, the blank cards would appear white against a grey sky as Thayer wanted, but the moment the sun appears, they turn into a spectrum of colour.

By the time he wrote this article, Thayer had ironically been credited, along with his son, Gerald Handerson Thayer, for developing the pseudo-science behind disruptive, or dazzle, camouflage that was widely used during WWI. Their co-authored book, published in 1909, titled Concealing-Coloration in the Animal Kingdom, set out a controversial thesis that all animal coloration has the purpose of camouflage. The book introduced the concepts of disruptive coloration, masquerade, and countershading. Similar to his card demonstration, the principles outlined in the book are entirely speculative, largely based on personal observation—always through a lens—and recreated with hand-made maquettes.

Kathleen Ritter is an artist currently based in Paris. Her research into the intersections of military technologies, camouflage, women’s movements, and art from the early twentieth century have resulted in an extended body of work, including a mural on the exterior of G Gallery in Toronto in 2014, titled Camoufleurs.

The artist gratefully acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.

An essay by Ella Dawn McGeough accompanies the exhibition. Please click here to download the brochure.