Jacqueline Treloar’s dynamic exhibition at Gallery 1313 is a detailed and complicated look at the COVID-19 pandemic, as seen from the ordinary public.
Memoraie Festi Plagae spans the entire three galleries at Gallery 1313, creating an exhibition experience that is a catalogue of passages of time and spaces. There are nineteen paintings in the exhibition, uniquely painted on textured fabric. Her paintings are set in two places she has lived extensively in – Toronto, Canada and Palermo, Sicily.
Installation view of Jacqueline Treloar Memoraie Festi Plagae at Gallery 1313
From customer service workers, to pedestrians and TTC commuters, Treloar has focused efforts on the banality of living in a world stricken by a global pandemic. Throughout the pandemic and its many stages, pedestrians still have to work, and travel from different points of the city. Treloar is an observer and celebrator of everyday heroes, those who keep society functioning despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
TTC Worker in Skeleton mask (left) and Jaqueline in a hat (right)
Jacqueline Treloar pays focus to the ways in which Torontonians find comfort in times of uncertainty. Boy With His Dog on TTC is one of multiple depictions of pedestrians with animals in this show. She picks up on societal patterns of adapting to the COVID-19 world, including how pets have provided a motive for socializing outdoors, confronting viewers with their own habits and needs to take care of others, and be cared for. Jacqueline Treloar has an uncanny attention to detail, and an evocative approach to portraiture.
Boy With His Dog on TTC
In all of Jacqueline Treloar’s work, there is almost a magical realism quality. In Firefighters In Our Lobby, she uses an exaggerated colour palette of orange, pink and yellow. This is paired with a patterned floral backdrop. This backdrop, which is featured in the majority of her works adds a decorative quality, as if bejewelling and ornamenting the service workers who have had to work throughout the pandemic – like capturing a freeze frame in time. She decorates and embellishes all these people in her portraits, which gives them importance.
Firefighters In Our Lobby Toronto
Memoraie Festi Plagae at Gallery 1313 is also hopeful. Attention is paid to The Santa Rosalia festival in Palermo, Sicily, an annual festival that commemorates the passing of the plague in 1678. The paintings Jacqueline Treloar has depicted from the festival in this exhibition are from her experience at the festival in 2019. These images present a light-hearted frivolity that had been lost during the pandemic. The inclusion of these paintings in Memoraie Festi Plagae is to be reflective of a carefree time, society and its people hope to return to. For the first time in two years, The Santa Rosalia festival is set to return to Palermo in July, marking the celebration of a pandemic ending once more.
Balloon Seller at night, Palermo (left) and Acrobat suspended in space by a mechanical dove- Santa Rosalia FestivalPalermo (right)
Images are courtesy of Gallery 1313
*Exhibition information: Jacqueline Treloar Memoraie Festi Plagae, June 8– 19, 2022, Gallery 1313, Queen St. W, Toronto. Gallery hours: Wed – Sun: 1 – 6 pm.