Less than two weeks to see Greater Toronto Art 2024! Exhibition Closes July 28.

Home Study: Drawing Activity Inspired by the Work of Shelagh Keeley

With MOCA Learning
Monday, March 16, 2020

Recommended Age: All Ages

Look closely at the photos on the wall in this installation shot of Shelagh Keeley’s MOCA exhibition, An Embodied Haptic Space. Shelagh took these pictures of MOCA’s home, the heritage Tower Automotive Building, before museum renovations had started. At first glance, you may see rubble, chipping paint, and industrial floors in a state of disrepair. We see concrete mushroom columns, crumbling ceilings, peeling green paint, and original terrazzo floors. While many of these elements were cleaned up during renovation, the structural components, such as the columns remain, giving our venue a special and unique physical identity.

Shelagh Keeley Close Up
Shelagh Keeley, “Fragments of the Factory / Unfinished Traces of Labour”, 2020. MOCA Toronto. Courtesy the artist. Photo by Toni Hafkenscheid.

All of us on the MOCA staff are certainly missing our building right now, but we are glad that Toronto is working together and practicing social distancing. We’re all getting to know our homes very well these days as we stay inside as much as possible. You might be noticing things about your home that you maybe never paid attention to before, such as fancy crown molding, a rounded door frame, oddly shaped windows or interesting corners. Or, perhaps you have a favourite spot where you spend most of your time–like a reading nook, special chair, or balcony.  

In her installation at MOCA, Shelagh used her photographs of the building within new drawings that she created right on the gallery walls! Taking inspiration from Shelagh’s work, here is an activity you can try at home.

Take a moment to walk around your home and explore its many features. Look up at the ceiling, down at the baseboards, out the windows, and perhaps into a nook or small space you’ve never really noticed before. 

Choose an element of your home that you find interesting and take a photo of it. You can take a photo of the whole room if you like, or you can take a close-up shot, so that out of context the feature looks more abstract. 

For example, here are a few photographs I took of some interesting corners in my home:

Learning at HomeThen, using your photo as a reference (display on your laptop or tablet for a larger view), draw or paint your interpretation of it (I chose the photo in the middle). Here is how my painting turned out. Share your work on social media and tag us @mocatoronto!

Learning at home

By: Alexandra Brickman, Learning Coordinator at MOCA Toronto


Banner image: Shelagh Keeley, Fragments of the Factory / Unfinished Traces of Labour, 2020. MOCA Toronto. Courtesy the artist. Photo by Toni Hafkenscheid.