Susan Gibson Garvey describes mixed-media paintings by Halifax-based emerging artist Paul Bernhardt, touching on their relation to historic Canadian landscape painters.
Seven up-and-coming artists in the Halifax area took over the Dalhousie Art Gallery. Themes of salvage, intervention, deconstruction and personal reconstruction pervaded the work of these (mostly) recent graduates. Their installations, video, and performance works reflected an aesthetic attitude that rejects permanence and the heroic gesture in favour of the immediate and the autobiographical.
A catalogue, with essays, of the works in the permanent collection.
Montreal-based artist Shelley Miller transformed the ceiling of the New Media Gallery using hand-carved aluminum cake pans. Reminiscent of traditional tin ceilings, this installation took on the appearance of an ornate vaulted ceiling more common to a Romanesque cathedral. For the last few years, Miller has been transforming everyday domestic materials (especially culinary items) into elegant and often monumental forms.
A photographic exploration of a relationship between landscape and tourism. Lorraine Field combined her interests in ceramics and photography in this exhibition of "interrupted landscapes" in which serene photographs of well-known Canadian sites (Banff, Niagra Falls, Cavendish Beach, Peggy's Cove), taken in the off-season, were interspersed with images of the typical souvenirs (mostly made in China) that tourists purchase. These occasionally surprising juxtapositions elicited some fascinating speculations about national identity, the land, and the tourist experience.
Selected from the permanent collection of the Musee d'art contemporain de Montreal by curator of collections Josee Belisle, this fascinating and unusual exhibition featured painting, photography, film, mixed media and sculptural installations by nationally and internationally-known contemporary artists Bernd and Hilla Becher, Christian Boltanski, Melvin Charney, Thomas Corriveau, Angela Grauerholz, Claude Hamelin, Raymond Lavoie, Arnaud Maggs and Francine Savard.
While Halifax-based painters Sarah Hartland-Rowe and Mitchell Wiebe have pursued distinctly different practices, they both work in narrative-figurative modes that draw upon different guises and in varied scenarios. Hartland-Rowe reconstitutes fragments of early renaissance frescos as 21st-century stories of"everypersons" set within a post-industrial landscape of commerce, conflict and pollution - and, occasionally, of beauty and redemption.
British Columbia-based artist Donald Lawrence combined his art-making skills and kayaking passions in this touring exhibitions, which featured: a custom river kayak that had been converted into a floating darkroom, large-scale b & w photographs of the sea bed, and a Super-8 film"The Inter-tidal Photographer".
Ontario-based artists Lyn Carter, Ginette Legare and Jeannie Thib create uncanny, witty and provocative objects. Each artist is in mid-career and has a significant practice, but only one had previously exhibited her work in the Atlantic region of Canada. The works in semble were constructed out of materials such as fabric, paper, neoprene, stainless steel and the archive. The title of the exhibition alluded to the potential multiple lives of the individual objects as they hang, pose, gesture from the wall, or lie camouflaged in glass cases.
The exhibition arose from the observation that contemporary abstract painting feeds on a great variety of sources, histories, and influences. Abandoning the restrictive diets of mid-century formalism, current abstraction tucks in with gusto, absorbing all manner of things into the infinitely mutable space of the canvas."Hungry Eyes" drew attention to the work of eight early to mid-career painters in New York and Toronto (Broadworth, Campbell, Charles, Fine, McIntosh, Sass, Urban, Walsh).
Halifax-based film and media artist David Clark presented a new interactive digital installation,"A is for Apple", that explored a"hermeneutics or cryptography of the apple", and created a labyrinthine network of images, anecdotes, associations and meanings (with surround sound). The work was simultaneously accessible in the New Media Gallery, and on the world wide web as an online interactive project (go to www.aisforapple.net), as well as in CD-ROM form as a part of the exhibition catalogue.
Halifax-based, Dominica-born artists Justin Augustine exhibited compelling paintings in which close-to-lifesize figures (recalling Balthus, Colville, and even early Picasso) are presented in situations that range from ambiguous to specific. In some of the works the figure was the sole focus. In others, through the use of African props and, occasionally, local settings such as Preston and Africville (that appear like backdrops behind his young black subjects), Augustine prompted the viewer to consider the cultural and historical contexts within which these individuals are viewed.
For almost three decades, internationally renowned, award-winning photographer Lynne Cohen has been hunting down and photographing"found" interiors of astonishing variety, presenting us with a funny, perplexing and ultimately chilling vision of the world - a humanly engineered environment"where the boundaries between inside and outside, nature and culture, pleasure and pain, have been blurred, stripped of their original connotations.
Cape Breton-based artist Bobby Nock offered an affectionary take on local culture in this exhibition of five videos grouped under the title "My Home and Native Land: The Red Bush in Waycobah Series". The colour red, the primacy of the Group of Seven in Canadian art history, indigenous Mi'kmaq and imported Scots-Gaelic traditions, and a tourist's vision of scenic Nova Scotia became intertwined and then unraveled in Nock's dead-pan video making style.
In 1989, Catherine Martin became Nova Scotia's first Mi'kmaq filmmaker with her six-minute documentary"Minqon Minqon", a profile of Maliseet artist Shirley Bear (filmed in collaboration with Kimberlee McTaggart). Today she has two feature-length films and many short films and docudramas to her name, as well as other works in progress. Through her singing, teaching, activism and work on various boards and task forces, Martin is an important advocate for aboriginal arts, education and language, and been vital in establishing and nurturing a Mi'kmaq film culture in Nova Scotia.
An examination of Mueller's work over the past 12 years. The selection covered some of his most engaging and challenging works, dating from the time he shifted focus from largely abstract painting to the compelling and poetic imagery of fire and light and the materials of industrial steel and glass that continue to occupy him today.
How do we experience the"thingness" of sculpture, or discuss its"object-ness" in a postmodern critical climate? Co-curators Robin Metcalfe and Susan Gibson Garvey selected some elegant and provocative works by six contemporary Canadian sculptors whose practices may be described as"object-based" and whose works often revisit sculptural issues from the earlier 20th century - but with a contemporary twist. Quirky, mysterious, solemn, or amusing, these sculptures are experienced first as physical phenomena (as formal and sensuous objects) before specific contents may be ascribed to them.