CAPTURE 2014: Nova Scotian Realism

17 January – 9 March, 2014

Richard Thomas Davis, '65 Volvo, 2013

Organized by the Dalhousie Art Gallery in association with Professional Living Artists of Nova Scotia (PLANS). Curatorial research funded by the Robert Pope Foundation with project support from the Craig Foundation.

Gratefully acknowledging the additional support of: The Black Family; Moore Executive Suites; Premiere Self Storage; Spanish Bay Inn, Sydney.

In the diverse history of Nova Scotian art, there is a consistent tradition of artists working in the Realist mode. From ship portraitists, landscape painters, and still life and trompe-l’oeil artists, to Magic Realists and those who work from photographic and digital sources, this pluralistic tradition is a vital part of Nova Scotian cultural identity. The Dalhousie Art Gallery, celebrating its 60th year, is the oldest public gallery in Halifax. The presence of Realist artwork, manifested both in its exhibition history and the Permanent Collection, is an ongoing thread weaving through the Gallery’s programming legacy.

Instigated by PLANS and developed in partnership with the Dalhousie Art Gallery, Capture 2014 began its life as a province-wide call for submissions that received 112 responses. Through the support of PLANS and the generous funding from the Robert Pope Foundation, freelance curator Tom Smart (in consultation with Peter Dykhuis, Director/Curator of the Dalhousie Art Gallery), conducted 43 studio visits during the summer of 2013, which resulted in the selection of 28 artists from almost every region of the province.

The works in the exhibition are organized into several different categories and genres based on the concept of “capturing” experience, place or ideas through modes of Realism. The groupings include the capture of the landscape or scenes directly – en plein air or by using site-specific activity as the basis for translating or fixing the experience of place later in the studio; the “capture” of uncanny and magical atmospheres, landscape and creatures; the use of visual metaphors to engender perceptualist experiences; the quotation of historical process and styles, or the application of tradition-based technique and media; and unique statements within figuration, expressive realism, illustratively-based styles, and social realisms. Realism’s long, sometimes uneasy relationship with contemporary artmaking practices has often seen its proponents at odds with current mainstream or academic modes and genres. Capture 2014: Nova Scotian Realism seeks to dispel common assumptions about the nature of Realist art by presenting work by artists who are pushing its boundaries. Above all, the exhibition questions received notions of the status and place of Realism in the contexts of current art practices and contemporary society.

The artists in the exhibition are: Alan Bateman, Douglas Boutilier, Malcolm Callaway, Anthony Clementi, Richard Davis, Tom Forrestall, Peter di Gesu, Susan Gibson, Christopher Gorey, Peter Gough, Adam Gunn, Paul Hannon, Ed Huner, Derrick Dale Johnson, Joy Snihur Wyatt Laking, Gord MacDonald, Roy Mandell, Katie Melanson, Shelley Mitchell, Yanina Movchan, Onni Nordman, Jaye Ouellette, Susan Paterson, Mary Reardon, Steven Rhude, Anna Syperek, Tom Ward, and Ambera Wellmann.

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