Carleton University Art Gallery CUAG

The Collector: Glen Bloom

Curated by Diana Nemiroff

13 September – 08 November 2009

How does an individual decide to acquire works of art with sufficient seriousness and ambition to be called a collector? What is the difference between a collection put together with private means as an expression of personal tastes and interests, and a public collection that serves as a record of artistic activity in a town, region, or nation? Where do corporate collections fit?

The Collector is the most recent in an ongoing series of CUAG exhibitions highlighting local collections to explore some of these questions. It presents artworks selected from both the personal collection that Glen Bloom and his wife Deborah Duffy have put together since the 1980s, and from the collection that Bloom has assembled for the Ottawa offices of his law firm, Osler, Hoskin, and Harcourt. The exhibition has an overall unity that reflects an organic process of development and tends to elide some of the usual distinctions between the corporate and the private collection.

The focus of Bloom’s collecting activity is contemporary Canadian art. Although his private collection includes works in all media – paintings, drawings, photographs, and sculptures – photography predominates in the collection of Osler’s Ottawa office. This exhibition places a similar emphasis on the photograph, while inviting the viewer to reflect on the artistic strategies that bring us close to or distance us from reality, regardless of the medium used.

Several underlying themes link the works selected for The Collector: the absence of human presence, the surveillance of the camera/eye, the visual monitoring that pervades the public sphere, and the melancholy loneliness of places lost or forgotten. But the most provocative theme running through the exhibition may be, paradoxically, not the absence of the human, but its complex and unexpected presence. Artists featured include Max Dean, Lynne Cohen, Betty Goodwin, Evan Penny, Pierre Dorion, Barbara Steinman, Arnaud Maggs, and Nichola Feldman-Kiss.

Bookmark and Share