Northern Ontario Art Association’s 64th Annual Juried Exhibition features work of two Islanders

Willa Wilson produced a monotype and watercolour pencil rendition of the spring thaw trickling into a river, in which a northern pike waits for its next meal. She and fellow Manitoulin Fine Art Association member Linda Williamson are part of this year’s juried exhibition, held in collaboration with the North Bay Art Association.

NORTHERN ONTARIO—Northern Ontario Art Association (NOAA) is a group of 16 independent art clubs representing approximately 400 artists spread over the vast geographical area of Northern Ontario, including Manitoulin Fine Arts Association, and which holds an annual juried exhibition and AGM. 

This year’s NOAA Juried Exhibition is being hosted by the North Bay Art Association. 

Two Manitoulin Fine Arts Association artists had works selected for this year’s exhibition: Willa Wilson for her monotype and watercolour pencil on arches ‘Northern Pike’ and Linda Williamson for her mixed media image ‘Tree of Life.’ 

“I began working on this piece, ‘Northern Pike,’ when the snow was still deep around the trees behind my house, where the swamp drains into a river, which drains into a lake,” Ms. Wilson explained of her work. “The rising spring sun threw long blue shadows toward me, across the little hills and drifts.”

“Underneath the snow I knew life was beginning again,” Ms. Wilson continued. “Beginning with the snow shadows, the piece developed and became a metaphor for the renewal that we all hoped for (and continue to hope for). The melting snow would flow in rivulets into the lakes, cracking the ice and underneath that would lay the monster pike.”

Ms. Wilson said that as a child “growing up in this land of lakes and rivers,” the first sport of the spring was to fish for great northern pike—fresh food for the table after a long winter. “It is not for me to say if this fish would be caught or if it would swim free for years to come. Nature will take its course.”

“I take hope from the fact that the unseen, the things below, are powerful symbols of the positive in the world,” Ms. Wilson said.

Linda Williamson is featured in the juried exhibition for her work, including this piece, ‘Tree of Life.’

“For the Celts, the Tree of Life symbolizes harmony and balance in nature,” Ms. Williamson explained of her NOAA work. “The Tree of Life is a symbol of rebirth. In the fall, trees lose their leaves and enter hibernation for a few months. But come spring, the tree sprouts tiny buds and bursts forth with amazing leaves. In this way, the tree of life is a symbol of a fresh start on life, positive energy, good health and a bright future.”

There were 40 works of art selected from across the North and the awards for selected works will be announced September 12. This year chosen works of art will be available for viewing on the NOAA website on September 14 with the exhibition available online only with the hope that next year, the travelling exhibition will continue to make its way across the North, including a stop at the Centennial Museum of Sheguiandah.

Visit noaa.ca to view this year’s juried exhibition.