What is a Desktop Gallery?


Toronto artist Snaigė Šileika sent an interesting photo of an exhibition at the Desktop Gallery that is curated by Paulius Grajauskas and located in Mississauga, Ontario.

Many years ago Paul found an antique box with 4 compartments in it. He decided to display it on his desk at work and have rotating month long exhibitions of tiny pieces of art (drawings, sculptures, photographs, paintings) and he called it “The Desktop Gallery”. Every month Paul takes a photo of the new installation and sends it out to his mailing list.

Last month there was an exhibition of a collaborative project by the “Gibson Girls” – a group of artists that Snaigė Šileika has been involved with for the past 25 years.

Desktop Gallery 84 – was the 84th exhibition with work by the Gibson Girls titled “Where I’m At Now: A Conversation in Art.” This mixed media work is a small sample of a larger project that was scheduled to be exhibited at the Slapelis Art Museum in Vilnius Lithuania.

This is a collection of “postcards” that reflect on the experience of place – physical and psychic – by artists Yael Brotman, Karen Curry, Liz Parkinson, Snaigė Šileika and MJ Steenberg, colloquially called the Gibson Girls.

In some form the Gibson Girls have been together for twenty-five years, canoeing, camping, photographing and creating site-specific installations in Ontario’s wilderness. The name Gibson Girls includes a nod to their sketching trips on Ontario’s Gibson River and to the fact that they are anything but stereotypic “girls” in their competence in the studio or bush.

In 2018 the Gibson Girls, at the behest of Liz Parkinson, began their collaborative project where each one created artwork on 4” x 6” cards. The cards were then mailed to others in the group and at each stop more mark-making was added in response to the imagery. The final result was always a joyous surprise. Two years later there are over 275 postcards that have travelled to Gabriola Island, British Columbia, Pouch Cove, Newfoundland, Puerto Escondido, Mexico and Toronto, with input by each of the Gibson Girls.

The collaborative project, “Where I’m at Now”, was first exhibited in the George Gilmour Gallery at Open Studio, Toronto, in 2019. It was comprised of 175 cards. The Gibson Girls’ intention was that this would lead to an ongoing series of unique & expanding exhibitions. The 2020 exhibition slated for the Marija and Jurgis Slapelis Art Museum in Vilnius, Lithuania has been postponed to 2022 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As the group continues working on the project, they are experiencing a change in the collective narrative of the cards transformed by the reality of all of our new social conditions, the emotions and themes born out of isolation, and all of our enhanced need for communication, both artistic and personal.