The Dunlop’s curator is ready for comedy or tragedy

by Gregory Beatty

Street Wear photo by Gregory Beatty

streetwearWHO: Jennifer Matotek, director and curator of the Dunlop Art Gallery. WHERE: Outside Central Library, with an untitled vinyl installation by Joy Walker in the background. STYLE: Blazers. Dresses and skirts. Usually no pants. Sometimes something bold. ALLIES: Her cats. QUOTE: “I made it through winter okay, even though it felt like icy cold outer space.”

Let’s run real quick through Jennifer Matotek’s curriculum vitae. Ready? Go! Once upon a time Jennifer was born in Grimsby, Ontario. Sometime after that (2008 to be precise), she obtained her master’s degree in art history from York University, then picked up an MBA at Toronto’s Schulich School of Business in 2011 where she specialized in organizational studies and arts and media administration. Before she became the Dunlop Art Gallery’s director/curator last June, Jennifer was the Art Gallery of Hamilton’s media programmer, an assistant curator at The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery in Toronto, and the senior coordinator (exhibitions and programming) at TIFF Bell Lightbox (which is associated with the Toronto International Film Festival).

It’s a pretty fantastic resume and Regina’s lucky to have Jennifer. We recently met to talk about art and, because this column is called Street Wear, fashion. Hooray!

How have you found your time in Regina so far?

I really like it! People have been very welcoming and friendly. I’m very impressed by the vibrancy of the city’s arts and cultural scene, and love the work that’s being made here. And I made it through the winter okay, even though it felt like icy cold outer space on several days. I didn’t complain though.

What’s up next on the Dunlop’s exhibition calendar?

On July 4, we open a major group exhibition at our Sherwood Village and Central Gallery locations called Tragedy Plus Time. The show is curated by the curatorial team at the Dunlop, which includes myself, Blair Fornwald and Wendy Peart. It features visual art works, performances, and commissions by 25 Canadian and international artists. It brings together a collection of pieces that consider the tragi-comic impulse in art, and proposes different ways in which we use comedy as a kind of soothing balm for the pain of tragedy. The show runs until Aug. 27.

Has your background in the arts impacted your approach to fashion, do you think?

Part of the reason I work in the arts is that it gives me licence to wear whatever I want and be creative about clothing — within reason, of course. Also, once you put a good blazer on top of something, you usually look professional. If you have to.

Where did you shop for clothes when you lived in Toronto? What about since you moved to Regina?

In Toronto, I primarily thrifted at places such as Value Village and Goodwill, in addition to some more hipster secondhand boutiques. In Regina, my job has kept me too busy for thrifting, so I’ve been enjoying Crocus and Ivyas well as Seed.Your buyer for The Bay here also does a very good job.

How would you describe your style?

My current style icon is the character Diane Lockhart (played by Christine Baranski) from the TV show The Good Wife,although I’m not in my 50s yet so it would look weird to totally knock her off. I think my style is classy,fun, and ladylike. I like wearing things that fit welland tuck in at my waist, like A-line skirts and dresses.I like a bold accessory every now and then. I gravitate to jewel tones and browns.I rarely wear pants.And, as I mentioned, I like a well-fitting blazer.

What’s special for you about this outfit?

My helmet is from the children’s section of Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC). The dress is something I got on sale at Bloomingdales, designed by Ted Baker London. My yellow heels are from Crocus & Ivy, designed by Virus. Joann at Insight Vision Care, another Toronto ex-pat who moved here around the same time as I did, helped me to pick out these great glasses designed by WOOW.

What’s your greatest pleasure outside of art?

Film, drinking tea and wine, riding my bike,snuggling with my cats and looking at my cats.And my shoes.