Station Gallery goes virtual

Olexander Wlasenko, curator of Whitby's Station Gallery, with some of the posters from a recent display of James Bond movies. Photo credit: Michael S. Patrick

Whitby’s Station Gallery is adapting quickly to COVID-19 protocols as they change.

Durham Region is now in the Red Zone Control phrase of the COVID-19 response put in place by the provincial government.

This new classification went into effect Nov. 23 and puts Durham one stage away from a full lockdown. As a result, businesses and public facilities throughout the community have limited access or have temporarily closed.

The Station Gallery already had modified opening hours due to the pandemic when the Ford government made the announcement altering Durham’s status.

Nov. 18, 2020 Whitby, Ont. Station Gallery’s CEO Kerri King surrounded by an army of 007 agents during the Licence to Thrill movie poster exhibition. Photography by Josie Cipriano
Station Gallery’s CEO Kerri King. Photo credit: Photography by Josie Cipriano

Kerri King, the gallery’s CEO, said everything is moving to a virtual experience until they reopen.

“We made the decision for the safety of staff and the public to close for the time being; just until we get into a safer zone,” said King.

Although they will remain closed to the public, King said they still plan to move forward with the upcoming exhibitions and the 28th annual members awards show on Dec. 16.

She said they are currently discussing the best way to virtually present the exhibition and the award show to the public.

“Typically, we get 300 people come through the gallery that night, and there’s no way to socially distance,” said King

King said, “our plan at this time is to be doing it via Facebook live,” but they’re also considering YouTube live and other social media platforms.

At the time of the closure, the gallery was nearing the end of its James Bond movie poster exhibit, and with reduced hours already in effect, there were only four more viewings before the exhibit ended on Nov. 29.

photo of poster supplied by Dan Miles at Whitby's Station Gallery's Licence to Thrill.
Photo of poster for the James Bond movie 'Licence to Thrill' supplied by Dan Miles at Whitby's Station Gallery. Photo credit: Michael S. Patrick

Licence to Thrill, was the gallery’s play on words of a previous Bond film and was intended to coincide with the release of the newest film in the series – No Time to Die.

On Oct. 2, MGM and Universal announced the film would be delayed for a second time this year and rescheduled the release for April 2, 2021 – a full year after its original release schedule.

Whitby’s Gallery Station at 1450 Henry St. was once a functioning train station at the foot of Byron St. Built in 1903, the station closed in 1969 and has been relocated twice to maintain its heritage. The station is now an art gallery and offers workshops that teach the fundamentals of art.
Whitby’s Gallery Station at 1450 Henry St. was once a functioning train station at the foot of Byron St. Built in 1903, the station closed in 1969 and has been relocated twice to maintain its heritage. The station is now an art gallery and offers workshops that teach the fundamentals of art. Photo credit: Michael S. Patrick

Olexander Wlasenko has been the curator of Station Gallery at 1450 Henry St. for the last 13 years. He said the exhibit planned to coincide with the film’s release on Nov. 25, not the death of Sean Connery.

“We decided to stay the course and keep this exhibition on, and when we put this up, it ended up becoming a memorial exhibition.”

Connery debuted as the 007 agent in the 1962 film Dr. No.

He was 90 when he died on Oct. 31, and is now the third cast member from the 1964 Bond movie, Goldfinger, to die in the last year.

Actress Margaret Nolan, whose gold-covered body served as a backdrop in the film’s opening scenes, was 76 when she died Oct. 5.

Honor Blackman debuted the character Pussy Galore in the same film.

She died on April 5, at age 94.

The exhibition, on loan from local collector Dan Miles, had at least 40 posters spanning over half a century and included original posters from 22 of the 25 official franchise movies.

“We have pretty much almost all of the posters in the official series with the exception of Licence to Kill, Tomorrow Never Dies and The World is not Enough,” said Wlasenko.

There were a couple of other Bond films excluded from the exhibit, but for a different reason.

David Niven’s portrayal of Bond in the 1967 film Casino Royale produced by Columbia Pictures was a spoof film, and Connery’s final performance as Bond in the 1983 film Never Say Never Again was produced by Kevin McClory.

Both movies have controversial histories.

According to the Hollywood reporter, both films are considered non-franchise Bond movies. In 2017, MGM settled a class-action lawsuit for US $8.7 million for excluding them from a 50th anniversary DVD collection advertising ‘All Bond films gathered together for the first time.’

Station gallery Whitby, spying on the posters of James Bond is bust of Sir William Stephenson, a real Canadian spy. This single piece by Ruth Abernethy was loaned to the gallery for this event. Abernethy a renowned Canadian Sculpture.
At the Station Gallery Whitby is a bust of Sir William Stephenson, a real Canadian spy. This single piece by Ruth Abernethy was loaned to the gallery. Photo credit: Michael S. Patrick

Watching over the posters at the gallery was a special piece on loan by Canadian sculptor Ruth Abernethy – a bust of Sir William Stephenson – a real Canadian spy.

According to the Canadian Encyclopedia, Camp X was established near the Oshawa-Whitby border in 1941 to help Stephenson train people in the art of secret warfare.

Approximately, a decade after training at Camp X, Ian Fleming introduced James Bond to the world in his first novel – Casino Royale.

Wlasenko said because of Fleming’s ties to the area, the Bond exhibition could fit in at any time during the gallery’s schedule.

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