It took me a minute to clue in.
“Hey, wait — this is your house,” I said. “You live here. And there’s a picture of a woman giving birth on your wall.”
Good thing artist and musician Jesse Walker is a gracious host.
He’s turned his 362 Duckworth Street house into Ontop/Above, a gallery for all kinds of local and not-so-local art from artists both known and emerging.
The birth picture (not pictured here) was part of Michael Waterman’s exhibition, Framed Found Photos, a collection of pictures from the pre-digital era that Waterman collected over the years. They were in his front hall.
In one half of his living room was a series of brightly coloured silkscreens by Jenn King. Hanging from the ceiling in the other half were dark, nearly-beheaded sculptures by Pepa Chan. A regulation-size ping pong table separated the two rooms, free for gallery-goers to use.
“It’s definitely an ‘alt gallery’ as opposed to an art gallery,” he says. “It’s an alternative to the standard white-walled, formal gallery, where up-and-coming artists who might have trouble getting into a typical gallery can show their work alongside more established artists.”
Take, for example, the upcoming Ontop/Above exhibition, More Than a Feeling, which opens on March 16th and features art by Knoah Bender, Danny Woodrow, Lisa Wilson and Michael Young. You may not have heard of Bender, but you’ve probably seen Young’s work, at the Rooms.
Ontop/Above is home to more than just Jesse Walker, his micro-greens-growing roommate, and some incredible visual art. It’s been a venue for movies and a few punk shows and, from March 23rd to March 25th, Engine Productions will be performing Neil Labute’s play The Shape of Things there. A huge second-floor room is also available as a jam space for bands, with cheap rental fees for both the space and equipment.
To stay ontop of Ontop/Above, check out the Ontop/Above Facebook page. Gallery hours are Saturdays, from 1pm to 5pm, and Wednesdays, from 4pm to 8pm, or by appointment via 763-3210 or email@example.com.