Design at Riverside
7 Melville Street S, Cambridge, ON
Patria (homeland) is the title of a cycle of music dramas that Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer has been creating over the past forty years. At the present time, ten parts of this monumental undertaking have been performed and published. Further works are in various states of creation, but enough have already been presented to reveal the series as among the most radical and challenging works to be produced within the past half century.
The exhibition highlights the process of design from script through rough sketches, final drawings to completed pieces. Masks, costumes, puppets and larger than life set pieces from stage productions will be accompanied by photos, drawings and video clips, providing a rare, behind the scenes vantage point of the Smiths’ art. In all, the Patria Cycle exhibition includes nearly 150 works created by Jerrard and Diana Smith, and will feature some rare items, including the Mask of Tefnut from RA, the only remaining mask from this elaborate collection, and design illustrations from The Crown of Ariadne, which was never performed. The Patria Cycle exhibition will inspire and be of interest to all – from young people through to theatre professionals – who delight in the magic and mystery of the theatre world. The opening will feature clarinetist Tilly Kooyman, who will be playing at least one selection of R. Murray Schafer's Patria Cycle.
Lecture: Thursday, March 29, 6:30 pm
Creating set and costume, mask and puppet design for both dance and theatre since 1980, Jerrard Smith has gained national and international recognition and awards. Collaborating extensively with R. Murray Schafer, Smith has also created sets and costumes for Robert Desrosiers, Debra Brown, Walt Disney’s World on Ice productions, and visual pieces used in the New Year’s Eve Millennium celebration on Ottawa’s Parliament Hill. Jerrard is currently a professor at the School of English and Theatre Studies, University of Guelph. Awards and grants for his work include: The Ontario Arts Council’s 1997 Design Jury Award, Canada Council and SSHRC. Together with his wife, Diana Smith (a costume designer in her own right), Smith was among the Canadian exhibitors at the 2007 Prague Quadrennial of Scenography, where they received Honourable Scenographer awards from OISTAT.
An active solo, chamber and orchestral musician, with particular interests in contemporary music, interdisciplinary works and acoustic ecology, has performed across Canada and has toured Japan with the Higashi-Hiroshima Clarinet Ensemble, and is also a member of the bass clarinet duo Bass Impact. For over two decades, Tilly has collaborated with celebrated Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer on his Patria Cycle. With a passion for new music, Tilly has premiered many works that have been broadcast on CBC and West German Radio.
Introduction by Esther E. Shipman, Curator, Design at Riverside.
"Patria (homeland) is the title of a cycle of music dramas that Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer has been creating over the past forty years. At the present time, ten parts of this monumental undertaking have been performed and published." - www.patria.org
In 1980, R. Murray Schafer contacted Jerrard Smith to create some masks for a new work. The work was the Princess of the Stars and turned out to require much more than masks. Jerrard brought Diana on board along with most of their friends to create a massive 10” high mechanical wolf, a three-headed monster, a sun and costumes for a narrator and six bird dancers – all rigged to canoes that ranged from 8-24’ long. This was the beginning of a thirty-year collaboration between the Smiths and Schafer resulting in designs for over 20 productions and eleven music dramas.
The Patria Cycle exhibition features over 100 of the set pieces, costumes, puppets and masks designed and made by Jerrard and Diana Smith, whose collaboration with R. Murray Schafer has transformed each production into a larger than life visual spectacle. The exhibition is a selection of significant production works (an Egyptian tomb, 18’ Chinese junk replete with the Emperor and his entourage, 10’ high Wolf puppet, circus banners, dozens of intricate and elaborate costumes, puppets, life-size figurative sculptures and masks), design sketches, final drawings, still photography and video projections which provide a rare firsthand and behind the scenes vantage point from which to experience this unique body of work.