In summer 2020 during the height of the pandemic, Drawing Studio Head Marcus Kingston saw a shimmer in the midst of the site of the torn-down Legion building on Queen Street.
After some digging and an exhibition opportunity, he and the curated work of his colleague, Greg Charlton, were showcased at a show titled Vestiges at Gallery on Queen, combining interpretations of art history, industry, and discarded everyday objects. The show was organized and curated by Gallery on Queen.
“I hope people find the importance of heritage or history and make connections about what we leave behind and what it says about the past,” said Kingston.
Kingston and Charlton, are respectively the Drawing Studio Head and the Design Studio Head at the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design.
Kingston focuses on art history, drawing and 3D design and has years of teaching experience. He also has painted several murals in local schools. Charlton brings a background of art gallery exhibition design and installation, and has pieces in several public art collections. Learn more about the pair by visiting the Faculty and Staff page on our website.
Both agree their work naturally pairs together. Charlton focuses on interpretations of abandoned places with a reference to art history and Kingston focuses on local heritage.
Charlton’s featured work is more retrospective, focusing on select pieces from his body of work and Kingston’s project is new; it’s a compilation of discovered shards of everyday objects from the mid-to-late 19th century. It’s something that Kingston has been working on since mid-2020.
After Kingston discovered the shimmers in the ruins of the legion building, he collected all the pieces that are now part of the exhibition over the course of a couple months. Archaeologists had already examined the site, he said.
He also took photographs of the pieces of the cups, spoons, toothbrushes, pipes, shoes, dishes, bottles, what he calls “Victorian garbage.”
“It’s like how we would throw away our garbage, it’s just their garbage is pretty.”
The pieces in the exhibit show a glance at everyday life in Fredericton throughout the mid-19th century to its end.
Marcus Kingston has always liked collecting things; in his adult life he has focused on heritage items and architectural salvage. He also has an antiques business called The Suburbia Shop.
“It was the excitement of not knowing what you’re going to find.”
‘Something ancient and poetic’
Charlton focused on abandoned places in his work to learn more about his history as a Canadian growing up in Belleville Ontario, which he describes as a working class manufacturing town.
One painting in the exhibit, Excavation, is an art historical interpretation of an abandoned open pit mine found near Marmora, Ontario, something that he visited in childhood.
“Growing up in a small city in Ontario, I didn’t really know what my roots were….I couldn’t find my identity”
So he looked to what he knew: Industry. In his early 20s, Charlton worked for the railroad, Fort McMurray Oil Sands, repairing electric engines for factories, and more.
“In their ruined state, they can speak to something other than originally intended, to fragments of something ancient and poetic.”
Vestiges ran from August 27 to September 16 at Gallery on Queen in Fredericton.
Those interested can find Kingston’s work at Gallery of Queen website and under the hashtag on Instagram #marcuskingstonhistoricart and his vintage finds shop on Instagram @the_suburbia_shop. Those interested can also contact Gallery on Queen for purchase inquiries.
More of Charlton’s work can be found on Gallery of Queen’s website or by purchasing his book, Traces available at Gallery on Queen.
All photos taken by Kelly Baker Photography.