Artist Meghan Dauphinee pays homage in this vibrant series to the convenience stores that occupy key corners across Canada, notably in London, where she is from. We recognize variety stores as hangouts, ice cream shops, DVD rental outlets and pickup spots for milk and bread, but we infrequently note their architecture, signage and branding. Her “Matter of Convenience” exhibit (Jan 13-28) at The Art Exchange prompts us to take a closer look.
Often operated from converted houses in older neighborhoods, variety stores may have sweetly nostalgic names, such as Appletree General Store, above. The painting of Miles Variety store (below) has special meaning. I also grew up in London, where Dauphinee’s works were done, and I must have stopped at Miles hundreds of times through high school to pick up something for my mother on the way home.
Dauphinee says she set out to chronicle the variety – as well as the uniformity – of these meeting places:
“From the Dinky Toy-sized Westside Variety, to stately yellow-brick Helen’s Variety and sweetly named Mrs. Cooper’s Variety, few are alike in looks – although step inside and the staples of chips, lottery tickets and battered rental DVDs are almost always there.”
Dauphonee attended the H. B. Beal Secondary School art program in London, studied at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and is a graduate at the Kootenay School of the Arts in Nelson, B.C.