Stepping into the warm gallery, and out of the cold, we are faced by the works that are highlighted in the title of the exhibition, Treloar’s beautiful hand-crafted crowns. Unlike her inspiration, and what the title (latin for: “Crowns for the Queen of Heaven”) may suggest, the four crowns featured in the gallery were not dedicated to the Queen of Heaven, nor were they meant to promote or exalt the Catholic faith. Instead, Treloar draws inspiration from the crowned statues of the Virgin Mary and adopts the imagery in order to narrate different periods of her life through the four seasons. Moreover, rather than being an intimidating object symbolizing superiority, demanding reverence, pre-eminence, or wealth, her dedicatory crowns are memories (including flea markets, birthday celebrations, childhood toys, etc.) that she willfully shares with her audience. Not only are they aesthetically pleasing but also reflect her welcoming heart and comforting spirit. These autobiographical crowns create an intriguing tension. She achieves this by transforming this universal symbol of praise, glory and honor into an object that allows the viewer to relate to, and connect with, her memories and relationships.
In addition, Treloar’s other pieces were inspired by her tour to Spain. They also draw on the crown’s iconography with their elaborate decoration like beading and radiant colors. From votive figures to cathedral interiors, gardens, and matador outfits, her artwork invites the viewer to enjoy the visual and cultural splendor of the Mediterranean with a variety of textures, and materials. Each mixed media artwork is chock-full of rich cultural, and religious history.
In the near future, keep an eye out for Jacqueline Treloar’s 2014 exhibition Coronae Reginae Coeli Magnae (Crowns for the Great Queen of Heaven) which will feature several mixed media crowns suspended from the ceiling from the Church of the Holy Trinity.
Text and photo: Leanne Simaan
Exhibition dates: December 17-22, 2013, The Gladstone Hotel Art Bar, 1214 Queen Street West, Toronto.