Exhibitions and Events
Monica Tap continues her investigation into floral motifs, which began with her reconstructive analysis of 17th century Dutch flower paintings. Tracing the use of stylized flowers and foliage from their historical origins to more recent wallpaper and fabric patterns, Tap creates intriguingly layered works, in which contemporary distancing techniques in painting, such as appropriation and repetition, are combined with painterly brushwork and a sensuous palette, to reinvest the vegetal traces with meaning. Curated by Susan Gibson Garvey.
A rare look at one of the most influential series of photographs in the postwar era, this exhibition presents the original images for Robert Frank's groundbreaking 1958 publication The Americans. Captured at the height of the myth of the American Dream, Frank's vision revealed a tragic dimension in the spirit of the American Landscape through a photographic style almost without precedent for its directness and emotional force.
Alice Mansell continues her work with gender and identity issues in this three-part installation, each component of which invites the active participation of the viewer through the use of mirrors, video-feedback and interactive computer programs (electronic components designed in collaboration with Arthur Meads). Through drawings, paintings and less traditional media, Mansell explores the association of authority and gender with particular styles of clothing, conventions of portraiture, and modes of making art.
Sculptor Donna Hiebert's most recent work involves three large enigmatic sculptural forms, situated in relation to three equally evocative wall works. The installation, which explores the nature of containment, is wide-ranging in its allusions - from caskets and sarcophagi, through ancient lingam forms -- always returns the viewer to a sense of the body in relation to sculpture, and to "what might be contained within".
In her playfully ironic series The Goddess in Every Woman Susanne MacKay recasts herself as various classical deities such as Aphrodite, Athene and Hera, in order to explore afresh the archetypes of beauty, worth and wisdom. These paintings, completed in 1993, are twinned with an earlier group of portraits titled Musume/Daughters to provide a gentle meditation on youth, motherhood and middle-age. This exhibition has received funding from the Saskatchewan Arts Board.
This timely and thought-provoking exhibition focused on the microcosm of contemporary ceramic practices in Atlantic Canada, including works by Joan Bruneau, Neil Forrest, Ghita Levin, Ray Mackie, Joan McNeil, Walter Ostrom, Peter Powning, Craig Schneider, Tom Smith, K.R. Thompson, and Marie Ulmer. As guest curator for this project, sculptor and teacher Arthur Handy presented a rigorous analysis of recent history and practice in ceramics, revealing issues and problems, and encouraging critical reflection on the uses of clay as a medium for art.
Wayne Boucher's recent acrylic and oil paintings employ intense, vibrant colours, in contrast to the largely monochromatic abstractions of his previous two decades of work. Parts of narratives, mythic structures and signs are more prominent in these recent works, where large expansive shapes (oceans, vistas, skies) are played against small restrictive shapes suggesting channels, fences, windmills, ladders or passageways. Mysterious and sensuous, these paintings oscillate between concentrated areas of high-energy markings and smooth single-colour planes.
Presently curator of the Black Cultural Centre in Dartmouth, Henry Bishop is an artist, historian and educator, who studied graphic design at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. The front alcove exhibition presents a selection of Bishop's illustrations for learning guides for elementary school-age children -- lively images of heroes and heroines, such as Portia White and Marcus Garvey, who have contributed to the history and culture of African Canadians in Canada.
In her recent works, Halifax artist Marilyn McAvoy employs recycled fragments of flats from film sets as supports for sensuous still life and flower paintings. Combining these paintings, in varying scales and degrees of finish, with other salvaged elements (faux marbled panels, wallpaper, brown crackled wainscotting) McAvoy creates assemblages that, while pleasing in their formal design, raise teasing questions about perception and visual representation.
Naked or clothed, images of the human body are central in the art of many cultures, and have always been invested with meanings beyond mere representation. Historical figure works frequently embodied allegorical or religious significance, while more recent body images often reflect the sexual and psychological anxieties of the era. Through gesture, stance, or treatment, even the most conventional figure works communicate more, perhaps, than the artist may have intended.