20 November 2015

New Brunswick Museum's new exhibit turns keys into art


Master metalsmith Elma Johnston McKay examines the history and significance of keys


CBC News

An exhibition featuring the work of New Brunswick master metalsmith Elma Johnston McKay opened at the New Brunswick Museum in Saint John Friday night.

It's called Four Turns of a Key, and is the culmination of a project conceived of almost 20 years ago by the Grand Bay-Westfield artist.

Johnston McKay was interested in the art, history, and significance of keys, and what they could represent.

"She has looked at keys throughout history, from different places, different concepts of keys," said Peter Larocque, a curator at the New Brunswick Museum. "So she's taken historical pieces, which she's replicated, and then a piece that's been inspired by the idea of those keys."

The exhibition was first organized and presented by the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Fredericton in 2014.

The New Brunswick Museum has also collected many pieces by Johnston McKay over the years, and held her first exhibition in 1978.

She's also exhibited internationally, and is represented in several permanent collections in Canada.

Johnston McKay has some visual impairment added Larocque, and said visitors are invited to take magnifying glasses to the exhibition to be able to read the labels and examine the fine details of the keys closely.