The Prism Goes to Chapel

By Glen Noble and Jennifer Murphy

The art show From Standpoint to Viewpoint: The Prism of Harmony, featuring paintings by Kenneth G. Mills, Gayle Dempsey, and Greg Hindle, was recently hung at the Chapel Gallery in Bracebridge, Ontario. The opening reception was held on Friday, August 18, and was attended by an enthusiastic group, including Bracebridge’s mayor, Rick Maloney. The artists Gayle Dempsey and Greg Hindle were in attendance and enjoyed speaking with each audience member about their work and the show. The theme of harmony was especially appreciated by those who attended. Visitors also remarked on the uniqueness of each artist and expressed appreciation for the spirit and professionalism that unites the works.

This is the third mounting of this excellent show. Each show has been unique, reflecting the character of each gallery. Different sizes, shapes, and settings have accommodated different arrangements, allowing varied juxtapositions and flow, thus offering new discoveries to any viewer who has attended all three. Themes of environment, respect for nature, and social responsibility and grace have remained constant. From subtle to bold, microcosm to macrocosm, abstract to representation, the unique perspective and technique of each artist calls out to the viewer, while relating to the other artists.

A video created by Ellen Mann, highlighting the artworks and statements on the nature of art, was shown in an adjoining room. Nancy McClellan lent her gracious touch to the refreshments table and floral bouquet. She also led a group of eager schoolchildren on a quick tour of the exhibit.

The Chapel Gallery is run by Muskoka Arts and Crafts (MAC), a vibrant arts organization with a thirty-year history (, and the show is at the gallery until September 2. The gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 to 4.

The gallery provides an inviting space for an experience that begins with a winding drive up a steep hill that rises above the Muskoka River. The route takes you through a charming residential area, and as you wind your way up, the neighbourhood seems to become more elegant, and the air more rarefied. The gallery, which perches at the top of the hill, is in the style of a typical Muskoka chapel, a small red clapboard structure with a steep roof designed to shed winter’s snows. On the day of the show’s opening, it was bathed in green foliage, birdsong, and soft breezes as it welcomed visitors with open doors. The serenity enhances the art, giving it ample opportunity to declare itself, as it invites response and contemplation.

Venture behind the gallery, and you will discover a bonus – scenic grounds and a historical house that was built in 1882 by Henry James Bird, a prosperous local woollen manufacturer. It is octagonal in design, enhanced by elegant wooden verandas and balustrades.

The beauty of Muskoka, the charm of the gallery, and the arresting beauty of the show ensure that a visit there will be well worthwhile.

Photographs by Glen Noble.


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