Step inside a Hidden World

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The Robert McLaughlin Gallery hosted its latest First Fridays event in a hidden world. The monthly party in the gallery space served as an opening to Geordie Lishman’s Hidden Worlds exhibit as well as to Fierce: Hot Blooded Film/Video.
Hidden Worlds features metal and mixed media sculptures from Lishman who works out of a 19th century studio in Ajax. Over 400 people turned up opening night and were immediately greeted by a two-metre tall galvanized steel wolf sculpture sitting opposite the main entrance.

Geordie Lishman's Wolf Spirit, 2005

It was the busiest First Fridays so far and organizer Norah O’Donnell says she couldn’t be more thrilled with the turnout.
“To have the exhibit opening with first Fridays is just an added bonus,” said O’Donnell. “You can really interact and get into a dialogue with them about what it is they were thinking.”
She said First Fridays is all about collaborations between many people including local business like Mad Café who provided mini cupcakes to sweeten the evening.
Geordie Lishman's Yin Owl, 2010 being operated by a child sitting on the foot lever.

Hidden Worlds isn’t just a collection of typical sculptures, though. Some of the art can be manipulated by the viewer, which Lishman says is an important aspect of his work.
“They’re kind of just big toys to me and I just love seeing people get excited about realizing that it isn’t just the static, that they can actually interact with them,” he said.
He says by operating the art people essentially become a part of it and it changes the experience and appreciation they have for it to something more intimate.
Lishman says to take a careful look at all the pieces because there are plenty of mysteries in the collection. A closer look at The Universe Machine—a mixed media piece with a foot lever that operates rotating wheels around the top—reveals a circle of dancers flashing on the inside.
The top half of Geordie Lishman's Universe Machine, 2011

But some of the pieces don’t need movement to create an impact and presence. True Power is a see-through horse over four metres tall, crafted from twisted metal rods. Towering over other pieces, Lishman says the horse’s size is what you notice first, but the delicacy of what the twisted and spiraled metal rods create is what stands out.
Geordie Lishman's True Power, 2011

Both Hidden Worlds and Firece: Hot Blooded Film/Video will be at the gallery until September 4. For more information visit or Check out the First Fridays Facebook event for information on the outdoor event in August.
Story and images by Nathan MacKinnon

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