An exhibition mash up of a road trip, Champlain's touchdown in Orillia and the Apollo 11 moon landing by artists Gary Blundell and Victoria Ward, in an exploration of place and time.
Victoria spent her summers in Orillia as a child at her family cottage – a place layered with meaning for her. She watched the Apollo 11 moon landing on a television that her father put on a beach along the shore of Lake Simcoe. He wanted her family to see the televised coverage of the moon landing and the actual moon in the same moment. It is a memory that has become a dream.
As a child Gary immigrated to Canada from England. One thing that was a constant during his childhood were the statues of Samuel de Champlain that seemed to be everywhere he and his family traveled; to Quebec City, in Ottawa at Nepean Point where he has brought to see Can-rock bands like April Wine and eventually also in Orillia. They were everywhere in his newly acquired country.
As such the concept of exploration was something that they had in common with the City of Orillia. With that in mind, in preparation for the exhibition, they did two things. First, they collected together all of Victoria’s mementos of her family cottage and both of their childhood mementos of the first moon landing. Second, in the summer of 2018, they took a road trip closely following the route that Champlain took to travel from the mouth of the St. Lawrence River, to his base of operations in Quebec City and then onwards to Orillia where he spent a winter in 1615.
The theme of exploration is therefore very prevalent in Project Voyager. So is place.
Gary and Victoria have spent the last twenty years exploring transformed landscapes. They have sketched, recorded, painted and written about places that have been changed by industry for the most part. For Project Voyager, Orillia is a place of departure both literally and artistically. For Gary and Victoria, Champlain and the moon landing are connected in Orillia