The Art Gallery of Guelph is pleased to announce the 40th permanent installation in the Donald Forster Sculpture Park. Installed in front of the gallery where it is a new companion piece for Carl Skelton’s Begging Bear, artist and cartoonist Seth’s Living Room Suite includes a sofa, two chairs, and box television.
Cast in bronze, the “suite” builds on Seth’s interest in everyday places that evoke life in the 1950s – from cities and buildings to the coffee shops, hotel rooms, offices, and domestic spaces that populate his comic books and graphic novels like Palookaville, Clyde Fans, and Dominion City. Given the presence of the television in daily experience at that time as well as in his own life, the television is oversized, looming larger in his imagination. Part of a wider series of work by Seth that engages such spaces, he suggests, “They’re meant to make you think about rooms you’ve been in yourself. Maybe they’re inner rooms representing memory or even an afterlife.”
“We have all been spending more time than usual in our living rooms and in our homes,” notes Art Gallery of Guelph Director Shauna McCabe. “Seth’s sculpture acknowledges this shared experience by placing an interior space in the public realm. It also offers another important gathering place in the sculpture park and in our wider city landscape – a public living room where people can come together outside to enjoy art and each other.”
The sculpture was made possible through the support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Guelph Community Foundation Musagetes Fund. Other public artworks by Seth include The Junkyard of Memory, a mural installed in downtown Guelph in 2016, and A Civic Dreamscape, a private commission to be installed on the Matrix Building overlooking the Trans Canada Trail and Speed River to enhance the experience of Guelph’s urban trails.
Seth’s comics and illustrations have appeared in The New York Times, McSweeney’s Quarterly, The New Yorker, The Walrus, and Canadian Notes & Queries. He is also the designer for several classic comics reprint series, notably collections of work by Charles Schulz, John Stanley, and Doug Wright. His artwork has been presented nationally and internationally in both group and solo exhibitions, including his most recent exhibition, A Life, All Play, developed by the Art Gallery of Guelph in 2019. Born Gregory Gallant, Seth lives in Guelph, Ontario, with his wife, Tania, in an old house he has named “Inkwell’s End.”
Image: Seth, Living Room Suite, 2021, bronze. Commissioned with financial support from the Canada Council for the Arts and Guelph Community Foundation Musagetes Fund, Art Gallery of Guelph Collection.
Since isolation measures took effect, we have come to understand our living rooms, bedrooms, kitchens, dining rooms, and home offices as new landscapes imbued with love and longing, comfort and discomfort. Produced by the Art Gallery of Guelph (AGG) and archived by Guelph Museums as part of their Rapid Response Collecting program, Living Rooms documents the lived experience of people living in and around Guelph during the COVID-19 isolation period. This publication includes works from the AGG’s permanent collection that inspired the Living Rooms project as well as works created by campers participating in the AGG Camp Create summer camps.
About the Art Gallery of Guelph
The Art Gallery of Guelph is one of Canada’s premier public art spaces, engaging audiences with innovative artists and ideas from around the world. Through a rigorous and collaborative artistic program that positions visual culture in an ever-changing cultural landscape, the gallery supports social exchange and shapes public discourse. Located in one of Canada’s most innovation-rich and socially engaged urban environments, the AGG offers compelling artistic encounters and contributes to a thriving national artistic climate through global connections that foster and proliferate creativity and imagination.
About Guelph Museums
Guelph Museums collects, preserves, and shares the stories of our community, nurturing a sense of place and acting as a hub where history, art and culture meet to engage, inform, and inspire. At three sites – Guelph Civic Museum, McCrae House National Historic Site, and Locomotive 6167 – Guelph Museums offers engaging exhibitions, innovative programming, and inclusive spaces in which visitors are encouraged to share their own stories.