Carleton University Art Gallery CUAG

Linda Sormin: Ungrounding Home

Curated by Heather Anderson

15 January – 29 April 2018

Bangkok-born Canadian ceramicist Linda Sormin creates large-scale ceramic and mixed media installations that explore issues of fragility and mobility, survival and regeneration. Over a period of two weeks, Sormin will create a site-specific installation integrating Leda clay, a potent local metaphor in Leda clay, whose prevalence in Ottawa makes the region especially vulnerable to earthquakes: the clay turns to liquid when agitated.

Sun K. Kwak: Untying Space_CUAG

Curated by Euijung McGillis

15 January – 29 April 2018

“My drawings are born through the communion between the material and the spiritual, wherein my own self is constantly reflected emptying itself.” - Sun K. Kwak

Untying Space is Kwak’s “Space Drawing” series, which she has been practicing since 1995. Using black masking tapes as her primary medium, Kwak reinvigorates and redefines architecturally inert space with rhythmic, expressive and dynamic lines and shapes.  In her first solo exhibition in Canada, the artist will create a site-specific “Space Drawing” in CUAG’s mezzanine space over a two-week period. Kwak aims to reify “new pictorial reality,” reflecting inherent interlocutory elements of the university art gallery as a site of creative encounters.
 
Kwak currently lives and works in New York City.  She has exhibited internationally including at the Brooklyn Museum, Queens Museum of Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin), National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, (Taichung) and the Korean National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Seoul). 

Robert Houle: Pahgedenaun

Curated by Sandra Dyck

15 January – 29 April 2018

Kanata: Robert Houle’s Histories (1993) was the first solo exhibition of a contemporary artist presented at CUAG, soon after our founding in 1992. Twenty-five years later, CUAG is honoured to present an exhibition that brings together several recent bodies of drawings and paintings by the internationally acclaimed Saulteaux artist. In these works, Houle addresses the traumas he experienced as a child, while attending the residential school located in his home community of Sandy Bay First Nation, on the western shore of Lake Manitoba. The Roman Catholic school was run by the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, and in operation from 1905-1970. Pahgedenaun is a Saulteaux word expressing the self-defining and self-determining act of “letting go,” embodied in Houle’s profoundly powerful and unsettling art works, which embody acts of memory, truth-telling, survivance and healing.

Open Space Lab 03: Kambui Olujimi

29 November – 03 December 2017

“My work looks to manifest collective psychic space as a means of investigating social practices, policies, and exchanges. I am interested in the seamless process of synthesizing invisible constructs into inevitabilities. I excavate the language and aesthetics of social, historical, and cultural conventions and bring them out of the world of the implicit. Once given gravity, weight, and shape it becomes possible to reveal their incongruities and their illusory nature.” Kambui Olujimi, artist statement.

Carleton Curatorial Laboratory (CCL): HERbarium

Curated by Josie Arruejo, Chelsea Black, James Botte, Brigid Christison, Michelle Jackson and Sharon Odell

In collaboration with Dr. Cindy Stelmackowich

11 September – 03 December 2017

HERbarium: Exhibition tour with the curatorial team, Tuesday, 17 October 2017, 7:00 p.m.

So, what is an “herbarium?” and why is she the focus?

An herbarium is a collection of dried and preserved pressed plants or fungi that are stored, catalogued and arranged systematically for study.

In highlighting the “her” within HERbarium, this exhibition focuses on the highly skilled and too widely unknown women who contributed to the collection, identification, illustration, production and distribution of early scientific knowledge within the field of botany in Canada.

Because of the accessible nature of botany close to home, and a national pursuit and desire to see, describe and classify flora and fauna species that were distinct from Europe within a then-young Canada, botany was the first natural science formally practiced by Canadian women.

With examples of path-breaking contributions by Catharine Parr Traill, Lady Dalhousie, Faith Fyles, Dr. Irene Mounce and Dr. Mildred Nobles, this exhibition looks back at an important and underrepresented history. It also includes a copy of the “Privy Council Letter, 1920 – Women, Marriage, Employment” which outlines the federal policy in effect until 1955 that prohibited a woman upon marriage from continuing her career as a federal employee. The exhibition also looks forward at the continuing need to encourage women to pursue careers in science, where they face ongoing discrimination on the basis of intersections of gender, race, sexuality, dis/ability and class.

This exhibition has been developed for the Carleton Curatorial Laboratory in collaboration with Dr. Cindy Stelmackowich as part of her seminar “Representations of Women’s Scientific Contributions” offered through the Pauline Jewitt Institute of Women’s and Gender Studies at Carleton University.

Animate: Diyan Achjadi and Alisi Telengut

Curated by Alice Ming Wai Jim

11 September – 12 November 2017

This exhibition reflects on how colonialism, climate change and animate forces of the universe are interconnected through the work of two Canadian artists. The natural world is an inexorably bounded, animated environment in which art plays an agential role.
 
Jakarta-born Diyan Achjadi presents drawings and prints that examine historical engravings and surface ornamentation to reveal cross-cultural influences on Indonesia through trade, Dutch colonization and migration. Batik designs, wallpaper patterns and stylized Chinese clouds populate the hybridized layouts. Images culled from eighteenth-century European hunting manuals of exotic animals imported from Africa and Asia fuse with fantastical creatures and spirits from the archipelago’s complex syncretic system of local cosmological and religious thought. In a new work, Achjadi turns to more current environmental issues of rapid deforestation, the destruction of wildlife biodiversity and global warming.
 
Mongolian-born Alisi Telengut’s hand-painted films perform an experimental ethnography of Mongolia’s ethnic groups, many who are losing their traditional nomadic way of life as the grasslands dry up. Nutag (Homeland) is a requiem for the Kalmyk people, a Mongolian nomadic tribe and one of fourteen Turko-Mongolian nations that Stalin deported to Siberia during WWII. Tears of Inge tells of a popular indigenous shamanic story of the weeping camel, linking climate change effects of longer periods of droughts to the tragic loss of life as well as sustainable nomadic livelihoods—ultimately speaking to changing relationships between humanity and nature across the Steppe.

Always Vessels

Curated by Alexandra Kahsenni:io Nahwegahbow

11 September – 12 November 2017

Presenting work by Barry Ace, Vanessa Dion Fletcher, Carrie Hill, Nadya Kwandibens, Jean Marshall, Pinock Smith, Natasha Smoke Santiago, Samuel Thomas and Olivia Whetung

Today, many contemporary Indigenous artists are investigating and incorporating traditional modes of making in their practices. This exhibition explores contexts for, processes of learning, making and the transfer and continuity of knowledge. By acknowledging artists’ desire and need to learn customary skills and techniques that in the past were met with resistance or repressed, this exhibition explores the different ways makers are seeking out and uniquely applying this knowledge.
 
This exhibition features nine contemporary Anishinaabek and Haudenosaunee artists who draw from multiple forms of training, and whose media and subjects range widely – from glass beads to photography, and from language to land. Yet their processes remain primarily informed by the contemporary translation of traditional knowledge as material and embodied practice. Their works offer insights into the tremendous range of skills and techniques unique to the Anishinaabek and the Haudenosaunee and the ways that knowledge, in its tangible and intangible forms, can at once embody, carry and hold meaning.
 
As Native people, when we think about our belongings—things made by our hands, minds and voices—whether they are found in an exhibition, a book, in museum storage, out on the land or in a family member’s living room, we’re never really just thinking about them as things. They are, rather, meaningful objects, songs and stories that have the ability to carry, hold and transmit memory across time and space. Metaphorically, they are always vessels.

Annie Thibault: La chambre des cultures, foraging in time and space

Curated by Heather Anderson

11 September – 03 December 2017

La chambre des cultures: Conversation with Annie Thibault, Myron Smith and Emily Falvey, Tuesday, 21 November 2017, 7:00 p.m.

Returning to the lab as a site for artistic research and experimentation, Annie Thibault is artist-in-residence in a pilot project hosted by CUAG and the Department of Biology. With the collaboration of Dr. Myron Smith, Professor in the Department of Biology, Thibault is cultivating Armillaria gallica and several other basidiomycota (filamentous fungi composed of hyphae). Where Thibault has worked previously with mushrooms—the fruiting bodies of fungi—in this project she cultivates the organism’s fascinating underground mycelium network through which it shares information and nutrients. Continuing her work in drawing, video, photography and installation, and merging exhibition, lab and studio, Thibault is working with this living organism as agent and material.

In the MacOdrum Library: She Wants an Output

Curated by Michael Davidge

Main entrance, MacOdrum Library

01 September – 29 October 2017

She Wants an Output: Reception and discussion with Barkhouse, Duncan & Pine in the MacOdrum Library, Thursday, 5 October 2017, 6:00 p.m.

She Wants an Output: Punk show at Oliver’s Pub, Friday, 6 October 2017, 8:00 p.m.

She Wants an Output looks back at the history of the 1980s punk music scene in Ottawa, through the work of two women who were involved in it: Mary Anne Barkhouse and Julia Pine. The oppositional shout of punk rock was sounding throughout the world at that time, including in Ottawa. A small but vibrant community sprang up here, inspired by the DIY attitude and political consciousness of the movement. Women were key players in the scene, but their story has seldom been told.

Restless Virgins were a first-wave punk rock band active in the Ottawa music scene in the early ‘80s. Notably, its bass player, Mary Anne Barkhouse, went on to a celebrated career as an artist. The centerpiece of the exhibition is Barkhouse’s pelage (1999-2000), a work composed of four appliquéd blankets, reminiscent of the button blankets used by First Nations of the Northwest Coast for ceremonial purposes. Each blanket represents a stage in Barkhouse’s life and her development as an artist. Three of the four blankets will be on display. The pelage II blanket makes reference to the ten years between 1975 and 1985 when she played, toured and recorded with bands like Restless Virgins.

Accompanying Barkhouse’s work is an eclectic selection from Julia Pine’s collection of zines, flyers, records and other ephemera from her “punk days,” when she was involved in the small but vibrant scene as a musician, producer, writer and community organizer, from about 1978 until 1985. The selection will include documents from a project that Pine co-produced with Colleen Howe in 1985: the MATRAX compilation cassette, which featured thirteen all-female bands from Canada, the US and the UK.

Pine’s collection points to the central role women played in the exceptionally diverse local scene and highlights their strong commitment to progressive ideas that were, and continue to be, far from the mainstream.

Open Edition

Curated by Heather Anderson and Sandra Dyck; Presented in partnership with the NAC's Canada Scene

05 June – 20 August 2017

Marking Carleton University Art Gallery’s 25th anniversary and Carleton University’s 75th anniversary, CUAG presents Open Edition. The exhibition looks back and looks forward, opening up multilayered conversations that explore the printmaking medium and its messages, past and present.

Open Edition features a compelling group of historical and contemporary prints selected from the University’s collection and made by Canadian and international artists from the sixteenth century to the present day. It brings these artworks into dialogue with contemporary prints and print-based installations by guest artists Ciara Phillips (Glasgow), Ningiukulu Teevee (Kinngait), Mohamed Thiam (Ottawa), Guillermo Trejo (Ottawa), Étienne Tremblay-Tardif (Montréal), Ericka Walker (Halifax) and Melanie Yugo (Ottawa).

Open Edition also includes A Galaxy Reconfigured, a special collection intervention by artist Guillermo Trejo featuring intriguing constellations of historic European prints selected from CUAG’s collection.

Open Edition is presented in partnership with the National Arts Centre’s Canada Scene.

Open Space Lab 02: Hong Kong Exile

Curated by Anna Khimasia

13 May – 21 May 2017

The Other NFB: The National Film Board of Canada’s Still Photography Division, 1941-1971

Curated by Carol Payne and Sandra Dyck

27 February – 07 May 2017

The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) has long been acclaimed for its films, but few Canadians know that during a pivotal period in the country’s history, the NFB also functioned as the country’s official photographer. The NFB’s Still Division photographers travelled across Canada, making images that were reproduced in newspapers, magazines, books, filmstrips, and exhibitions.

The Other NFB looks at how this agency imagined Canada and its identity, what role photographs played in that imagining, and how the photographic archive has been used. The NFB aspired not just to present an image of the country, but the image. As a result, the NFB is unique in the history of Canadian visual culture as a conveyor of governmental values and programs in photographic form.

Outside These Walls: Photographs by Yannick Anton and David Ofori Zapparoli

Curated by Pamela Edmonds

27 February – 07 May 2017

This exhibition brings together photographic works by Toronto-based artists Yannick Anton and David Ofori Zapparoli whose respective imagery share a community-focused and collaborative approach to documenting urban life and its people. Zapparoli has represented the visual history of Canadian cities for over 30 years, the majority of his work is informed by a strong social realist approach. Until 1999, he had focused on the public housing development of Regent Park, putting a human face on the stigmatized and transitional community of which he had been a part of since his teens. Anton’s candid and energetic photographs draw stylistic inspiration from the youthful, street, fashion, music and queer-positive cultures that he captures.  Together both artists’ compelling works present unique and unapologetic insights into diverse landscapes and lives, addressing the systemic barriers that they expose and refute, while re-imagining regimes of the image away from fixed inscriptions of race, gender, class and corporeality.

The conversation with Yannick Anton, David Ofori Zapparoli, Pamela Edmonds and Kwende Kefentse is available on CUAG’s You Tube channel

Carleton Curatorial Lab (CCL): Making Radio Space in 1930s Canada

Curated by Michael Windover and Anne MacLennan

27 February – 07 May 2017

As radio entered homes and became an increasingly important component of Canadian society, it affected not only the soundscape of everyday life but had spatial consequences. By looking at the visual and material culture of radio in 1930s Canada, this exhibition offers a new way to think about a medium closely associated with twentieth-century modernity.

This exhibition focuses on how radio created or altered concepts of space in the 1930s. Expensive consoles and cheaper tabletop models joined furniture in the living room, affecting interior design while providing access to the wider world with the turn of a dial. The new electronic medium remapped space, simultaneously situating listeners within regions and linking them to far-flung locations. And with the development of portable and automobile radios, as well as high-power transmission stations, Canadians could remain connected while travelling through space. Making Radio Space is part of a larger research project, Seeing, Selling, and Situating Radio in Canada, 1922-1956, led by Anne MacLennan (York University) and Michael Windover (Carleton University).

Open Space Lab 01: Gita Hashemi

Curated by Anna Khimasia

31 January – 11 February 2017

Moving beyond conventional exhibition formats, CUAG’s new and experimental Open Space Lab (OSL) turns the empty gallery into a space for research, creation and collaboration. The OSL offers artists and collectives whose work is performance-based, exploratory and multi-disciplinary the space to explore, develop and initiate dialogue about ideas and art.

Join the inaugural OSL artist Gita Hashemi in the gallery and online as she creates a major new work, Grounding I: States of Gender, a durational performance that combines life writing with live writing. Hashemi’s performance takes place daily from 11 am - 2 pm (except Sunday 5 February and Monday 6 February).

In this work, Hashemi writes life stories shared with her by an Iranian woman named Zahra, in Farsi. The narrative has been emerging through conversations between Hashemi and Zahra about how being women has affected their lives in obvious and not-so-obvious ways, and how their lives are marked by gender. What is shared is Zahra’s writing. She is the writer. Hashemi is the scribe.

Visitors are advised that Gita Hashemi’s artwork contains written descriptions (in Farsi) of sexually explicit content and sexual violence.

Hashemi’s performance will be streamed online and blogged for the duration of the Open Space Lab. To access the livestream, please see: http://grounding.subversivepress.org/

Gita Hashemi’s practice draws on visual, media, performance, site-specific and live art strategies. Exploring social relations and the intersections of language and culture, Hashemi’s work is centred on marginalized histories and contemporary politics, often with an eye on women’s experiences. A trained calligrapher, she draws on written text as the premise for large multi-platform projects that blur the boundaries between artistic disciplines.

Open Space Lab is generously supported by the Stonecroft Foundation for the Arts and an Ontario Arts Council Culturally Diverse Curatorial Projects grant.

The 4th Carleton Community Art Exhibition

Curated by Katie Kendall

13 January – 22 January 2017

This fourth edition of the Carleton Community Art Exhibition marks Carleton’s 75th and CUAG’s 25th anniversaries by celebrating art made by Carleton students, staff, faculty, alumni, and retirees. The exhibition presents a diverse and exciting range of art including painting, photography, sculpture, textile arts, drawings, and prints. Join CUAG in saluting campus creativity!

Carleton Curatorial Lab (CCL): genderhow?

Curated by Matthew Conte and Lesley McNaughton

12 September 2016 – 12 February 2017

genderhow? questions, challenges, and dismantles how we understand, experience, and embrace intersectional gender identities and expressions.  Drawn from CUAG’s collection, these works expose and critique traditional notions of how masculinities and femininities are performed.  The photographs selected from series by Jennifer Dickson, Gabrielle de Montmollin, Becky Singleton, and Douglas Walker, and a video by Kent Monkman, encapsulate the gendered body as transformative, unstable, and temporary.  These artworks radically challenge the status quo and reimagine the concept of gender as multiple, complex, violent, and beautiful.  This exhibition is an invitation to radically reconsider your lived experiences with gender and how it is continuously performed, negotiated, and re-performed.

Patricia Reed: The One and the Many

Curated by Heather Anderson

12 September – 11 December 2016

Deploying familiar nation-state symbols and their representational tools of exchange—anthems, bureaucratic forms, flag iconography, and currencies—Reed’s works highlight the logics under which our world is ordered. Through drawing, video, audio, and book works, the Ottawa-born, Berlin-based artist amplifies and recomposes these appropriated forms into aggregates that foreground the need for new models of identification and transaction that reflect our complex global condition.

We Are Continually Exposed to the Flashbulb of Death: The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg (1953-1996)

Curated by Barbara Fischer and John Shoesmith

Produced by the Art Museum at the University of Toronto with the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, and sponsored by The Rossy Family Foundation

12 September – 11 December 2016

Allen Ginsberg, the visionary American writer and author of the celebrated poem Howl, kept his camera constantly at his side. From 1953 until 1963 he made numerous, often exuberant photographs of himself and his friends, including Beat writers William S. Burroughs, Neal Cassady, Gregory Corso, and Jack Kerouac. Ginsberg’s photographs languished among his papers for decades. When he rediscovered these photographs in the 1980s, he reprinted them, adding handwritten inscriptions. He then took up his camera again, guided by photographers Berenice Abbott and Robert Frank.
 
The photographs in this exhibition create a vivid portrait of the Beat Generation, a term that came to describe those who rebelled against the materialism and conformity of middle-class America and embraced freedom, sexual openness, and spontaneity. The qualities so evident in Ginsberg’s poetry—intense observation of the world, appreciation for the beauty of the vernacular, and faith in intuitive expression—also permeate his photographs. His spontaneous, uninhibited snapshots of ordinary events celebrate what he called “the sacredness of the moment.” With their captions, which often reflect on the passage of time, Ginsberg’s photographs are both records and recollections of an era.

TRANSACTIONS

Curated by Cara Tierney

12 September 2016 – 12 February 2017

Celebrating queer experiences that emerge from transactional creative exchanges, the artists in TRANSACTIONS define, refine, redefine, exult themselves today for the (a)genders of tomorrow, linking communities and challenging ideas of authenticity, allyship, belonging and being.

Elisha Lim’s illustrations reveal a pronounced sense of identity culled through personal moments of shared experience while Kama La Mackerel irreverently challenges public space in an exuberant and affirmative performance. Oli Rodriguez takes to the internet to connect with a lost parent’s lovers and Coco Guzman and Elisha Lim’s Los Sentidos offers a video portrait of love in the digital age. Morgan Sea’s photo journal of a return home capitalizes on the Internet’s photographic mutability, and her humorous zines deliver an intimate experience at the hands of her playful drawings and text. Ottawa residents will recognize the increasingly familiar painting style of Kalkidan Assefa as the show unfolds in the visual embrace of this unswerving ally.

Adrian Göllner: small Trinity

Curated by Heather Anderson

Presented in collaboration with the University of Ottawa’s Department of Visual Arts MFA program.

15 August – 28 August 2016

 
Göllner is interested in transposing elements of sound, time, and motion into other forms. The exhibition’s title refers to “Trinity,” the US Army’s code name for its first detonation of an atomic bomb in the New Mexico desert in 1945. Stemming from his Cold War military upbringing and evoking fears of our present societal condition, the works in small Trinity capture the shape and energy of explosions as tactile, cast forms whether in clay, bronze, or aluminum. These sculptures allow us to examine an explosion in a stilled state, and to consider the enormous powers that humans can wield.
 

Carleton Curatorial Lab (CCL): Keeping Record: The Documentary Impulse in Inuit Art

Curated by Amy Prouty

02 May – 28 August 2016

 
Inuit art has often been described by critics as “memory art,” understood as having a seemingly apolitical focus on pre-contact life meant to appeal to the primitivist sensibilities of collectors in the South. This exhibition recasts such analyses of the subjects addressed by Inuit artists by viewing their depictions of traditional practices as acts of cultural resilience, in which they record their knowledge during periods of seismic change. This documentary impulse is seen across all regions of Inuit Nunangat from the historical period to the present day. The artists in this exhibition create artworks that strengthen Inuit culture, communicate its unique values, and advocate for its importance to non-Inuit audiences.

Keeping Record features works by Malaya Akulukjuk, Thomassie Kudluk, Zacharias Kunuk, Agnes Nanogak, Joanessie Napartook, Josie Papialook, Kananginak Pootoogook, Andrew Qappik, and Elisha Sanguya from Carleton University Art Gallery’s Inuit collection as well as contemporary photography by local artist Barry Pottle.
 

Noriko Shinohara: Cutie and Bullie

Curated by Cayllan Cassavia

02 May – 07 August 2016

 
Cutie and Bullie features the manga-inspired work of the New-York-based Japanese artist Noriko Shinohara, the unsung heroine of Cutie and the Boxer (2013), nominated for an Academy Award for best documentary feature. The centerpiece of the exhibition is a 64-foot painting entitled Love is a Roarrr—!!!, which immerses viewers in the narrative world of Cutie and Bullie, fictional characters representing the artist and her husband Ushio Shinohara, the famed “boxing painter.” Cutie is an alter ego that gives Noriko Shinohara the freedom to mix fact with fiction in telling the story of her 1972 immigration from Japan to New York City, complex marriage, and struggle to balance motherhood and her art career. The mural unfolds as a series of vignettes starting with the couple’s initial love-struck meeting, descent into unhappiness, and Cutie’s eventual revelation that she can control her destiny and reclaim her life by harnessing her creative powers.
 

Maura Doyle: the Vessel, that with fugitive Articulation answer’d, how deep is your love?

Curated by Heather Anderson

02 May – 28 August 2016

How do we know a pot? Expanding upon her ongoing interest in the form and history of the pot, Maura Doyle considers the vessel, a hollow form with a hole, and how we come to know it through interaction and use, representation, and museum display. Rich in metaphor, pots have been written about by poets and writers for thousands of years, including Persian poet Omar Khayyam, whose translated The Rubaiyat (1120A.C.E.) inspires the exhibition’s title.

Doyle considers the making of pots as a collaborative effort between the pot, the potter, and over ten thousand years of history. To consider these relationships further, she selected a number of pre-Columbian pots from Carleton University’s collection and over repeated visits communed with them, meditating with a focus on a single sense (sight, touch and sound) for each sitting.
 
The pot is a vessel, a body, connected to the outside by an orifice. It has an unknown interior space, which we think we know from the outside, but in fact we do not know and will not know, for if we break open a pot, the space and the pot are lost.

Maura Doyle is the third artist in the Collection Invitational series.
   

Meryl McMaster: Confluence

Curated by Heather Anderson

02 May – 28 August 2016

 
Meryl McMaster’s potent, alluring photographs explore the fluid domain of identity, and the possibilities of examining and revisioning the self and its representation. Placing her body centrally in front of the camera, she transforms her appearance, whether by layering photographic images onto her body or through elaborate costumes and props she creates and inhabits as alter egos. An individual of Plains Cree and Euro-Canadian heritage, McMaster explores the dimensions of her own sense of identity, and the complex history of the photographic representation of Indigenous peoples. The three bodies of work in Confluence collectively trace the evolution of McMaster’s practice, with its recurrent thematic threads.
 
Confluence will tour and is accompanied by a publication with essays by Gabrielle Moser and cheyanne turions, as well as an interview with McMaster by Heather Anderson.
 

Bridging the City: Fourth Year Architecture Exhibition

14 April – 19 April 2016

The BAS Architecture degree exhibition Bridging the City will display the final work of the graduating class from the Azrieli School of Aarchitecture and Urbanism architecture program. The studio groups engage with a diverse range of issues, scales, and places exploring the potential of neighbourhoods in Ottawa and abroad.
 

Mathew Reichertz: Garbage

Curated by Robin Metcalfe

Produced by Saint Mary’s University Art Gallery, Halifax

18 January – 03 April 2016

Painting becomes an immersive, narrative experience with Reichertz’s architectural-scale series of panels that transform the gallery into a comic book. With assemblages as large as 11 x 17 feet, the series tells the story of a conflict between the protagonist and his neighbours in a transitional North End Halifax neighbourhood. Alternating between everyday activities and exchanges between characters to imaginary scenes, between quiet reflection and explosive emotional reactions, and between light and dark in a manner reminiscent of film noir, and of the rich visual world of many acclaimed graphic novels, Garbage expands the narrative aspect that has characterized Reichertz’s work into a new, psychologically charged realm that overlaps with popular printed matter.

Saint Mary’s University Art Gallery acknowledges Arts Nova Scotia, Canada Council for the Arts, and the Municipality of Halifax for their support of this touring exhibition.
   

Carol Sawyer: The Natalie Brettschneider Archive

Curated by Heather Anderson

18 January – 19 April 2016

The Natalie Brettschneider Archive is an ongoing series by Vancouver-based artist Carol Sawyer that features photographs, texts, a video, and music recitals to reconstruct the life and work of a historical genre-blurring performance artist. Brettschneider’s narrative is interwoven with references to people and places that Sawyer has uncovered in her process of research, and by the site-specific insertion of historical artworks and archival material. As a feminist critique of art historical narrative conventions, Sawyer’s project illuminates the persistent gaps and omissions of official histories, and the ways in which photographs are used to support cultural assumptions about gender, age, authorship, and art-making.

Sawyer is the second artist to be featured in CUAG’s Collection Invitational (CI) series. The CI series creates artist-led, open-ended opportunities to research and activate the collection through a week-long research residency at CUAG and subsequent exhibition. It stimulates the production of new artworks and fresh ways of seeing and thinking about the Carleton University collection.

Check out the video of Carol Sawyer’s CUAG performance at the opening reception on January 18th. We thank Landon Arbuckle and Lewis Gordon for their great work on this video!
https://vimeo.com/155182900

CUAG acknowledges the support of Library and Archives Canada / Bibliothèque et Archives Canada and National Gallery of Canada / Musée des beaux-arts du Canada as lenders to the exhibition.


 

Carleton Curatorial Laboratory (CCL): Continuum: Abstraction in Contemporary Indigenous Art

Curated by Wahsontiio Cross

18 January – 19 April 2016

When abstraction emerged in European painting at the beginning of the twentieth century, it was seen in the West as an avant-garde art movement. This version of art history, which narrowly focuses on the European modernists who “discovered” and elevated abstraction beyond its “primitive,” multicultural origins, ignores the conceptual underpinnings and rich meanings of practices of abstraction around the world. For Indigenous artists, abstraction is both a continuation of traditional practices and an engagement with the contemporary world. This exhibition features works in the collection of the Carleton University Art Gallery by artists that contribute to this ongoing dialogue.

Continuum features works from the Carleton University collection by artists Lance Belanger, Robert Houle, Alex Janvier, Rita Letendre, and Helen Wassegijig.

Walking With Our Sisters / Presented in partnership with Gallery 101

25 September – 16 October 2015

Over the last thirty years, more than 1180 Indigenous women, girls and Two-Spirit people have been reported missing or murdered in Canada. Many have vanished without a trace, and their cases have often been inadequately investigated, neglected or ignored.

Walking With Our Sisters is a commemorative art installation that honours and respects the lives of these women, girls and Two-Spirit people. They are sisters, mothers, aunties, daughters, cousins, grandmothers, wives and partners. They are not forgotten.

Walking With Our Sisters presents more than 1800 pairs of moccasin vamps, including children’s vamps dedicated to the memory of children who did not return from residential school, arranged on the floor in a winding path formation. Visitors remove their shoes to walk alongside the vamps, on a pathway of cloth, in symbolic acts of solidarity and respect.

The vamps (or “uppers,” as they are also called) are intentionally not sewn into moccasins in order to represent the unfinished lives of the women and children whose lives were so tragically cut short. These vamps were created by caring and concerned individuals from across North America, who responded in overwhelming numbers to a public call issued by the Métis artist and activist Christi Belcourt, who initiated the project.

Walking With Our Sisters is a collective, collaborative, community-based memorial that creates a ceremonial public space so that people can come together to honour, to mourn, to remember, and to raise awareness.

The presentation in Ottawa of Walking With Our Sisters is supported by the WWOS Ottawa Committee and many volunteers.

Gallery 101 acknowledges a project grant from the Community Foundation of Ottawa for the presentation in Ottawa of Walking With Our Sisters. Gallery 101 is funded by the City of Ottawa, the Ontario Arts Council (an agency of the Government of Ontario), and the Canada Council for the Arts.

Carleton University Art Gallery is funded by Carleton University, the Ontario Arts Council (an agency of the Government of Ontario), and the Canada Council for the Arts.


Marchons avec nos sœurs / Présentée en partenariat avec la Galerie 101

Du 25 septembre au 16 octobre 2015

Depuis les trente dernières années, plus de 1 180 femmes, jeunes filles et personnes bispirituelles autochtones ont été portées disparues ou assassinées au Canada. Beaucoup se sont simplement volatilisés sans traces et des enquêtes de leurs cas ont souvent été inadéquates, négligées, ou laissées pour compte.

Marchons avec nos sœurs est une installation artistique commémorative qui veut rendre honneur et respect à la vie de ces femmes, jeunes filles et personnes bispirituelles autochtones. Elles sont des sœurs, des mères, des tantes, des filles, des cousines, des grands-mères, des épouses et des conjointes. Nous ne les oublions pas.

Marchons avec nos sœurs présente plus de 1 800 paires d’empeignes de mocassins, y compris des empeignes de mocassins d’enfants, ces dernières à la mémoire des jeunes qui ne sont jamais rentrés des pensionnats autochtones. Les pièces sont arrangées sur le plancher dessinant un chemin ondulé où les visiteurs, souliers enlevés, peuvent marcher à côté des empeignes de mocassins sur un sentier de tissu, symbolisant ainsi leur solidarité et respect.

Les empeignes de mocassins ne sont pas cousues au reste des chaussures laissées intentionnellement incomplètes. Elles représentent ainsi les vies des femmes et des enfants si tragiquement écourtées. Ces empeignes de mocassin ont été créées par des personnes à la grandeur de l’Amérique du nord, qui, possédées d’une grande humanité, s’inquiètent du manque d’attention portée à cette question. Elles ont répondu en nombre énorme à l’appel au public de l’artiste et activiste métisse, Christi Belcourt, qui lança le projet.

Marchons avec nos sœurs est un projet collectif, collaboratif et communautaire qui crée un espace public de cérémonie où l’on peut se rassembler pour honorer et pleurer les disparues, pour se remémorer et pour faire de la sensibilisation.

La présentation à Ottawa a le soutien du Comité MANS Ottawa et de nombreux bénévoles.

La Galerie 101 a reçu une subvention de projet provenant de la Fondation communautaire d’Ottawa pour la présentation de Marchons avec nos sœurs à Ottawa. La Galerie 101 est financée par la Ville d’Ottawa, le Conseil des arts de l’Ontario (une agence du gouvernement de l’Ontario) et le Conseil des arts du Canada.

La Galerie d’art de l’Université Carleton est financée par l’Université Carleton, le Conseil des arts de l’Ontario (une agence du gouvernement de l’Ontario) et le Conseil des arts du Canada.

Walking With Our Sisters (WWOS) Ottawa
Twitter: @WWOSOttawa
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http://www.walkingwithoursisters.ca
 

Coalesce: Performance Art Festival

Curated by Jacyln Meloche

Co-presented with PDA Projects, SAW Gallery, and AXENÉO7.

03 September – 05 September 2015

Coalesce: Performance Art Festival is a four-day festival celebrating Canadian performance art in Ottawa. Fourteen Canadian performance artists, including Aymara Alvarado Lang (Gatineau), Maxime Boisvert-Huneault (Gatineau), Mariane Bourcheix-Laporte (Vancouver), Anne Marie Dumouchel (Gatineau), Anna J. Eyler (Montreal), Lilly Koltun (Ottawa), Nicolas Lapointe (Montreal), Stephanie Nadeau (Ottawa), Rah (Toronto), Anthony Sauvé (Gatineau), Simon Schlesinger (Toronto), Stéphanie St-Jean Aubre (Gatineau), Cara Tierney (Ottawa), and Étienne Tremblay-Tardif (Montréal) are coming together to perform, play, and practice body politics, site-specificity and cultural embodiment through acts of dance, cooking, and rebirth. Daring to challenge the definition of performance art as a medium historically rooted in the body, the artists will push beyond the boundaries of what constitutes performance by performing through culture, through literature, and through gender. Therefore, in an effort to literally and metaphorically coalesce, the festival as well as each artist exemplifies the ways in which performance art can foster a broader dialogue for creative and social growth in the nation’s capital.

For the CUAG schedule of performances, please see events
 
For the full festival schedule and biographies of the artists, visit
http://pdaprojects.com/COALESCE-PERFORMANCE-FESTIVAL
 

Human Nature

Curated by Corinna Ghaznavi

27 April – 23 August 2015

 
Artists featured: Mary Anne Barkhouse (Minden), Panya Clark Espinal (Toronto), John Dickson (Toronto), Soheila Esfahani (Waterloo), FASTWÜRMS (Creemore), Martin Golland (Ottawa), Sherri Hay (Toronto), Kelly Jazvac (London), Gareth Lichty (Kitchener),  Gavin Lynch (Ottawa), Lisa Myers (Port Severn), David Ruben Piqtoukun (Sutton West), Su Rynard (Toronto), TH&B (Hamilton)

We live in a world indelibly marked by human presence. We have inherited the consequences of industrialization, capitalism, colonization and globalization. The excess material prosperity of the ‘first world’ now threatens the very survival of habitats and ecosystems, and human and non-human animals. Human Nature presents fourteen contemporary Ontario artists whose works look at the state of the natural world and our impact on it.

Playing on the idea of human nature as a force that exploits and innovates, creates and destroys, the artists in the exhibition explore a range of critical issues such as water scarcity, endangered habitats, waste and sustainability, post-industrialization, colonization, and the link between global warming and extreme weather. Taken together, the works of these artists reflect on human constructions and the complex interconnections between nature, culture, and technology. Human Nature critiques and explores our collective past and our fragile present, while pointing to alternative ways of envisioning the future. 
 
Presented in collaboration with the National Arts Centre’s Ontario Scene

Collective Visions

Curated by Thomas-Bernard Kenniff, Giancarlo Mangone, Suresh Perera and Johan Voordouw

09 April – 14 April 2015

Collective Visions is an exhibition of design work by fourth-year architecture students enrolled in the Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism.  Combining creative research and advanced design exploration, the work is the culmination of the Bachelor of Architectural Studies and illustrates the very best of craft and technique in drawing, rendering and model-making.  Students will be presenting design projects responding to one of four specific studio briefs: indeterminacy, strangeness and the public realm around Chaudière Falls; performance space in Old Montréal; a new ecological vision for Kanata; and a New Market in the Bayview/Lebreton Flats area of Ottawa.  Together, these projects address questions both central to the discipline of architecture as well as complex cross-disciplinary ones.  By exploring the relationship between architecture and current social,  cultural, political and ecological concerns, the works present the students’ visions of the role architecture plays in the continuing transformation of our urban environment; visions that are necessarily collective.

Akram Zaatari: All Is Well

Curated by Vicky Moufawad‐Paul

Organized and circulated by the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen’s University

19 January – 29 March 2015

All Is Well is the first Canadian solo exhibition of celebrated Lebanese artist Akram Zaatari. His practice involves unearthing, collecting and re-contextualizing documents that represent his country’s complex history. Through Zaatari’s investigations, viewers of this exhibition become witness to powerful accounts of a period marked by the violence and disorientation of the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990). The works in the exhibition allow us to glimpse what has been concealed from view and hidden inside bodies, and to exhume what has been buried in the earth: letters written in code passed through censors, tiny letters swallowed and delivered after defecation, instantaneous chats between lovers presented as a letter, and reassuring letters enclosed within mortar casings.

The title of the exhibition reflects the positive tone that the former Lebanese member of the Communist Party, Nabih Awada, used in letters to his mother while he was imprisoned in Israel for ten years. Performing what remains unsaid in the video Letter to Samir, Awada re-enacts the cramped writing by and among prisoners. As the co-founder of the Arab Image Foundation, Zaatari has intimate experience with the precarious status of archives in times of war as well as the limits of any archive’s ability to fully capture historical events. The most recent project in the exhibition, Time Capsule Kassel, sends documents into the earth for their safety and also to propose that we delay answering questions until a future moment.

All Is Well is organized and circulated by the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen’s University, with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts; the Ontario Arts Council; the Ontario Arts Council’s program for Culturally Diverse Curatorial Projects; the Kingston Arts Council; the City of Kingston; and the George Taylor Richardson Memorial Fund, Queen’s University.
 

Making and Marketing Art History in 18th-Century France

Curated by W. McAllister Johnson

19 January – 14 April 2015

 
In 18th-century France, prints were an instrument of culture in the home, artists’ studios, dealers’ showrooms and the prestigious Salon du Louvre exhibition. The printed image, exactly repeatable, most often had its origin in an original painting or drawing. Occasionally an artist, engraver or etcher might create a print that lacked an artistic source—instead seeking inspiration in immediate reportage of an event, often interpreted with a satirical bent. The repeatability and portability of prints contributed to the wide dissemination of artistic styles, academic iconography, and commentary on contemporary events. Prints eventually became a commodity, and then an industry, providing a comprehensive and accessible mirror of evolving French society. 

Prints both shaped and reflected art history as the discipline formed after 1750. Artists and engravers collaborated in establishing the reputations of artists and of individual paintings, past and present, disseminating and reinforcing what became the key “monuments” of French painting. The prints themselves, through recognition of the distinctive skills of individual engravers, shaped a new canon of printed images that were critically acclaimed and sought after by collectors then and now. New prints were often “announced,” either in publications like the Mercure de France, or in a dedicated prospectus, where publishers solicited subscriptions to underwrite the costs of engraving and printing. Here is evidence of the market—the publishers, distribution networks, and of course, the price.

Carleton Curatorial Laboratory (CCL): Art on a Green Line

Curated by Johnny Alam

19 January – 14 April 2015

 
Winner of “First Exhibition in a Public Art Gallery” award, 38th annual Ontario Association of Art Galleries Awards

Between 1975 and 1990, Lebanon was a battleground for local, regional, and international conflicts commonly referred to as the Civil Wars by foreigners and as the “foreign wars on our grounds,” or the “Ahdeth” [events], by Lebanese. Beirut was split by competing ideologies that divided the nation. East Beirut was controlled by Christian parties claiming to fight for the preservation of the Lebanese nation-state against increasing Palestinian militancy. West Beirut was controlled by a coalition of Palestinian, Leftist, and Muslim parties claiming to fight for the primacy of the Palestinian cause against a hegemonic Christian regime. A demarcation line separating East and West Beirut came to be known as the Green Line.

While the origin of this designation is not certain, the Green Line aptly described the post-apocalyptic cityscape it traversed, where streets and buildings were overtaken by wild vegetation. Although the boundary has ceased to exist physically, it remains psychologically present today as a negative site of memory that has at least two levels of meaning. First, it is a symbol of atrocity, a location of ruthless battles, kidnappings, and war crimes. Second, it represents a national identity crisis that continues to divide citizens along ideological lines. It is hard to think of a better location to start writing the unwritten official history of the ongoing Lebanese wars and to document their intergenerational traumas.

Featuring Hassan Choubassi, Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Merdad Hage, Lamia Joreige, Jayce Salloum, and Pierre Sidaoui, this exhibition presents a collection of wartime narratives that are intriguingly woven across a rich variety of media, including photographs, videos, books, postcards, and even a metro map. The makers of these works offer vivid experiences of everyday life during wartime, which history books simply cannot convey. The artists’ firsthand experience of war at an early age gives their stories a heightened sense of reality. In their works, they blur the lines between truth and fiction, past and present, memory and history, home and exile, and personal and collective trauma. Each work comes to operate as an alternative form of history and memory, transporting knowledge and narratives about the Lebanese wars across borders, places and times.
 

Inuit Prints: Japanese Inspiration

Curated by Norman Vorano, Ming Tiampo, and Asato Ikeda

Produced by the Canadian Museum of History

29 September – 14 December 2014

Kinngait Studios, in Cape Dorset, Nunavut, is the oldest and most successful printmaking enterprise in Canadian history. In the late 1950s, James Houston studied in Japan with the master woodcut printmaker Un’ichi Hiratsuka, bringing his newfound knowledge of Japanese techniques and materials back to Cape Dorset. Inuit Prints: Japanese Inspiration tells the story of that momentous cross-cultural encounter and explores its extraordinary results. It features rare, early prints by such artists as Lukta Qiatsuq, Tudlik Akesuk, and Osuitok Ipeelee, juxtaposed with the prints by Japanese artists that Houston brought to the Arctic in 1959. The exhibition reveals the many ways in which the now-famous artists of Cape Dorset creatively “localized” Japanese influences.
 

Samuel Roy-Bois: Not a new world, just an old trick

Curated by Melanie O'Brian

Co-produced by SFU Galleries, Carleton University Art Gallery, and Oakville Galleries

29 September – 14 December 2014

 
Winner (with Oakville Galleries) of “Innovation in a Collections-Based Exhibition,” 38th annual Ontario Association of Art Galleries Awards

Samuel Roy-Bois’ practice is concerned with the conceptual and physical definition of space. Questioning the boundaries between art and exhibition and production spaces, his works are as much about the space outside of the structures as those they enclose.

Roy-Bois has constructed a large-scale model of an imaginary building. It exists as an edifice and sculpture, and, housing 90 artworks that he has selected from CUAG’s collection, connotes an idea of the art gallery or museum. Visitors are welcome to enter this rough, tiered structure and explore its interior.
 

Raymond Boisjoly: Interlocutions

Curated by Heather Anderson

29 September – 14 December 2014

Raymond Boisjoly inaugurates Carleton University Art Gallery’s Collection Invitational exhibition series with a new body of work generated by his research of the George and Joanne MacDonald Collection of Northwest Coast Graphic Art. The Vancouver-based artist considers Indigenous artists’ use of printmaking, and the status, production, and circulation of prints in relation to Indigenous literary traditions. Boisjoly also mines sources such as YouTube, retrieving pivotal popular cultural moments, such as videos by pioneering bands, to index key cultural and political intervals, explore representations of Indigeneity, and exploit technological transmutations across media, platforms, cultures, and time.

Carleton Curatorial Laboratory (CCL): Formline Modern: The MacDonald Collection

Curated by students in Dr. Ruth Phillips' graduate seminar Printmaking in Modern Northwest Coast Aboriginal Art

29 September – 14 December 2014

Formline Modern: The MacDonald Collection of Northwest Coast Graphic Art explores silkscreen printmaking on the Pacific Northwest Coast from its emergence in the 1960s until its peak in the 1980s. Working during a period of renewed cultural production, coastal artists drew upon—and departed from—traditional imagery and the “rules” of formline design. Through the novel medium of silkscreen printing, these artists engaged with new narrative forms and content, shaping a uniquely Indigenous modernism that challenged conventions and ultimately expanded tradition.

The exhibition features the work artists Chuuchkamalthnii (formerly Ron Hamilton), Joe David, Robert Davidson, Freda Diesing, Beau Dick, Charles Greul, Mark Henderson, Henry Hunt, Richard Hunt, Ozistalis (Chief Henry Speck), Bill Reid, Art Thompson, and Roy Henry Vickers.

David Kaarsemaker. Pictures

Curated by Heather Anderson

18 August – 14 September 2014

David Kaarsemaker’s work explores and questions the relationship between the practice of painting, the physical world, and memory. He begins with the rooms or houses that he remembers most vividly from his life, building maquettes of these spaces, which he combines with photographs, projected images, maps, grids, shadows, reflections, and views of his studio space and exterior landscapes.

Kaarsemaker uses these and other source materials in the creation of layered compositions that integrate multiple, shifting points of view, as a means of reflecting on the ways that memories are always incomplete and ever-changing. As Kaarsemaker says, “Memories are warped by the stories we construct to fit our evolving identities. These stories, in the telling, are like architecture. We move through them, they fall apart and are repaired, and they give shape to our experience.”

Inuit Art: Skin Deep

Curated by Lisa Truong

12 May – 10 August 2014

Skin Deep explores the enormous importance of skins and skin clothing in Inuit culture, past and present. In Inuit narratives, skin is something that can be worn, shed, and manipulated. People tattoo their own skin to affirm personal and cultural identities, and wear clothing made from animal skins for aesthetic adornment and protection from the elements. Skin Deep features the tools used to hunt animals and prepare their skins; prints, drawings, and sculptures depicting stories and objects in which skin plays a central role; and objects made from skin, such as mitts and boots. The exhibition includes the work of artists like Ningeokuluk Teevee, Jessie Oonark, Arnaqu Ashevak, and Helen Kalvak.

Carleton Curatorial Laboratory (CCL): Imaginary Worlds: Scottie Wilson and Art Brut

Curated by Pauline Goutain and Jill Carrick

12 May – 07 September 2014

In Europe, Scottie Wilson is regarded as one of the most famous Outsider artists, and is often presented as a classic example of an art brut creator. Born in Glasgow around 1890, “Scottie” immigrated to Canada in the 1930s, where he began to draw, “all of a sudden,” he later said. His work was exhibited and sold in Toronto by Douglas Duncan, director of the Picture Loan Society. After Scottie returned to London in the 1940s, the Surrealists enthusiastically supported his work, introducing him to the French painter Jean Dubuffet.

For Dubuffet, Wilson was an exemplary art brut artist. Dubuffet had coined the term art brut (“raw” or “rough” art) to designate works made by untrained artists, people he defined as “unsmirched by artistic culture.” Exhibitions in Canada of Scottie Wilson’s work have tended to focus on his Canadian output. Imaginary Worlds instead focuses on Scottie’s reception in Europe, and investigates his drawings through the lens of Dubuffet’s definition of art brut. It reflects upon the ways in which Scottie’s art supported and challenged the art brut universe Dubuffet imagined.
 

Making Otherwise: Craft and Material Fluency in Contemporary Art

Curated by Heather Anderson

12 May – 14 September 2014

Today, there is an increasing permeability between the realms of “craft” and “art” occurring in step with an emphasis on “reskilling” and the handmade, as seen in contemporary art practice and in the widespread interest in all things handcrafted. Making Otherwise presents the work of six Canadian artists who merge the material and conceptual approaches of craft and art: Richard Boulet (Edmonton), Ursula Johnson (Eskasoni, NS), Marc Courtemanche (L’Ange-Gardien, QC), Paul Mathieu (Vancouver), Sarah Maloney (Halifax), and Janet Morton (Guelph). Drawing on their fluency in ceramics, basket weaving, furniture making, stitchery, bronze casting, woodworking, and knitting, these artists think through materials, forms, and ideas to make things differently or “otherwise.”
   

Tracking Systems: Andrea Campbell, Thomas Kneubühler, Guillermo Trejo

Curated by Sarah Eastman, Zoe MacNeil and Meredith Stewart

07 March – 14 March 2014

Co-curated by a group of three Carleton University Art History master’s students, this exhibition brings together the work of three contemporary artists whose work investigates information tracking systems. Andrea Cambell’s Surveillant Assemblage (2007, 2008, 2009) (2001) and Thomas Kneubühler’s Guard 2 (Kirk) (2006) focus attention on the relationship between information and the body in a world where surveillance systems constantly track our movements. Guillermo Trejo uses printmaking as a tool to create his own tracking system by tracing relationships between words and phrases on encyclopedic pages in Universal (2013-14). By exploring the material operation s of information tracking systems within our society, the works in this exhibition reveal the vast networks of visible and invisible actors engaged in data accumulation projects.

This exhibition has been organized in conjunction with the Art History Graduate Student Society conference Access/Restriction. Drawing inspiration from the conference theme, Tracking Systems is sited in the liminal spaces of the Carleton University Art Gallery: the first and second floor foyers and the first floor vitrine.

Sharon Hayes: Loudspeakers and Other Forms of Listening

Curated by Heather Anderson

03 February – 27 April 2014

One of two artists singled out for “special mention” by the jury of the Venice Biennale in 2013, the American artist Sharon Hayes examines the intersections of history, politics, and public speech in her work. Hayes borrows approaches from theater, anthropology, film, and journalism to explore such wide-ranging topics as student activism, the Patty Hearst kidnapping, and gender and sexual politics. Loudspeakers and Other Forms of Listening features video and audio installations, works on paper, and textiles made by Hayes over the last decade, including several works that reflect on the university as an influential place and time in the formation of our personal and political identities. Hayes is an assistant professor in the School of Art at Cooper Union in New York City and is represented by Tanya Leighton Gallery, Berlin.

Dennis Tourbin: The Language of Visual Poetry

Curated by Marcie Bronson; Organized and circulated by Rodman Hall Art Centre / Brock University

03 February – 27 April 2014

A pioneer of interdisciplinary practice in Canada, Dennis Tourbin produced a distinctive body of work integrating the written word with painting, drawing, video and performance. From the early 1970s until his death in 1998, Tourbin’s prescient work engaged mass media, using mediated text and imagery in explorations of language and meaning. Part documentarian and part storyteller, Tourbin employed the aesthetics of collage and a serial approach in the drawings and vivid paintings he called “visual poems.”

Tracing Tourbin’s practice from his first painting to his final print, this retrospective is the first comprehensive consideration of the artist’s oeuvre. In addition to a survey of Tourbin’s major works, a selection of journals, scrapbooks, and painted objects illustrate his process and fastidious documentation of everyday life. A prolific creator, Tourbin’s artistic practice and daily experience were inextricably linked.

Although the exhibition is anchored by CUAG, related programming will be presented by Gallery 101 and SAW Video, in recognition of Tourbin’s contribution to the development of local artist-run culture.

The 3rd Carleton Community Art Exhibition

Curated by Danuta Sierhuis

11 January – 19 January 2014

A celebration of creativity on the Carleton campus, featuring art made by 150 Carleton students, staff, faculty, alumni and retirees. The exhibition presents a diverse and exciting range of art including painting, photography, sculpture, textile arts, drawings, and prints. Join CUAG in saluting campus creativity!

Laura Letinsky: Still Life Photographs 1997–2012

Organized by the Denver Art Museum; Circulated by the School of Art Gallery, University of Manitoba, in collaboration with the artist and Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York

16 September 2013 – 19 January 2014

Oscillating between flatness and volume, story and metaphor, Laura Letinsky’s still life photographs challenge viewers to keep looking and to ask questions about how we see. The unexpected shifts of scale and playful illusions of space in Letinsky’s pictures are most pronounced in her recent work, in which she abandons traditional concepts of space, choosing instead to tape, pin or glue cut-out images of food and other objects to large sheets of paper, which she then photographs. In these images, the usual lines between real and imagined worlds are not only blurred, but tied into puzzling knots.

Carleton Curatorial Laboratory (CCL): The Nature of Beasts in 17th-Century Prints

Curated by Nathan Flis

16 September 2013 – 19 January 2014

From the point of view of the digital age, it is difficult to imagine a time when the life of the wild animal was seldom seen and rarely captured. This exhibit reveals a ‘moment’ in Western history when artists began to observe and imagine the life of creatures, situating them in landscapes representing their natural habitats. This conceit found its first real exponent in the experimental field observation of English artist Francis Barlow (c.1626-1704), famous for his illustrated edition of Aesop’s Fables (1666). Through prints, Barlow instigated a visual dialogue about the life or nature of the animal with artists in France and elsewhere. Focusing on prints from the 16th through the 17th century, The Nature of Beasts will transport viewers to another age, when the intimate viewing of small and detailed prints of birds and animals allowed everyday people to see and imagine the natural world for the first time.

This is the inaugural exhibition in CUAG’s newest initiative, the Carleton Curatorial Laboratory (CCL). This new gallery space will present exhibitions curated by Carleton students, faculty and staff from diverse faculties. Nathan Flis, curator of The Nature of Beasts, is a post-doctoral fellow in art history at Carleton University.

Y & G #12 (curtain walls)

Curated by Diana Nemiroff

16 September – 15 December 2013

Presented together for the first time in this exhibition, three sculptures and the film Camera Tracking a Spiral Drawn Between the Two Curved Towers of Viljo Revell’s Toronto City Hall introduce a new theme – the glass curtain wall – in the collaborative work of Christian Giroux and Daniel Young. The film, which documents an iconic example of Modernist architecture, was produced using the building itself as a “machine” as the camera travelled along the building’s twin curves, and provides a conceptual starting point for the exhibition. The sculptures conjoin a customized acrylic and spider-clamp design with standard off-the-shelf industrial racking systems to create human-scale sculptures that invite us to reflect on the production of space in the urban environment. Viewed together, the film and sculptures produce a series of intersecting readings in which the practices of modernist architecture and contemporary sculpture approach one another.
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Colin Muir Dorward: Some Paintings Enjoying Fresh Air

Curated by Heather Anderson

19 August – 01 September 2013

Some Paintings Enjoying Fresh Air marks a departure from Dorward’s previous work. This summer, the artist moved his practice outdoors, producing a bold, fresh and complex body of work that looks beyond the confines of the studio. In these new watercolours and oil paintings, Dorward explores our relationship to nature from a wide range of perspectives. Depictions of nature as pristine, beautiful, mundane, despoiled, and even obscene are assembled in a complicated array, revealing conflicting ideas and opinions. Without making specific statements, these paintings represent anxieties about our changing climate and diminishing natural habitats.

Colin Muir Dorward is a finalist in the 2013 RBC Canadian Painting Competition.

The Past Is Present: Memory and Continuity in the Tyler/Brooks Collection of Inuit Art

Curated by Anne de Stecher, presented in partnership with the National Gallery of Canada's Sakahàn: International Indigenous Art

18 June – 11 August 2013

For Priscilla Tyler and Maree Brooks, their lifelong passion for Inuit art began during a chance visit to Fairbanks, Alaska, in 1970. Over the following twenty years and many visits to the North, they formed friendships with Inuit artists and storytellers. Their vision, grounded in the importance of community memory and cultural continuity, inspired them to build a remarkable collection of prints and sculptures and an extensive oral literature archive, comprised of texts and audio recordings. They donated their rich collection to Carleton University Art Gallery in 1992.

Celebrating the 20th anniversary of Priscilla Tyler and Maree Brooks’s gift to CUAG of their collection of Inuit art, The Past is Present features prints and sculptures by such artists as Kenojuak Ashevak, Jessie Oonark, Davidialuk, Helen Kalvak, and Luke Anguhadluq. It reflects the collectors’ holistic vision by presenting prints and sculptures that are contextualized with information from the oral history archive and by audio and textual materials. Dr. Tyler, an English professor whose expertise was oral literature, and Ms. Brooks, a public school teacher, were particularly inspired by the rich oral traditions of the Arctic. They recorded narratives told by storytellers and elders in the western Arctic, and collected prints and sculptures in the eastern Arctic in which artists explored the same themes.

The Past is Present is also inspired by narratives found in the collectors’ rich textual archive: accounts of life on the land, the respect for animals on which Inuit communities depend, and the stories that teach and preserve this knowledge. The exhibition demonstrates how artists, writers, and others document and transmit knowledge through a range of media. Priscilla Tyler died in 1999, and Maree Brooks in 2012. Today, their collection continues to communicate their passion for Inuit art and their belief in the importance of Inuit knowledge and cultural continuity.

Rebecca Belmore | What Is Said and What Is Done

Curated by Heather Anderson, presented in partnership with the National Gallery of Canada's Sakahàn: International Indigenous Art

18 June – 01 September 2013

The Anishinaabe artist Rebecca Belmore is a storyteller, deploying performance, sculpture, photography, and video to create, as Jessica Bradley has written, a “language of images and actions that insist on the difference between what is said and what is done.” She personalizes history, in particular the history of contact between European settler and Indigenous populations.

Two of Rebecca Belmore’s works address the tragic history of contact in the early 19th century between English settlers and the Beothuk of Newfoundland. There are varying recorded accounts of the capture of the Beothuk woman Demasduit and the murder of her husband Nonosabasut at Red Indian Lake. Belmore’s video March 5, 1819 (2008) powerfully conjures the emotional trauma of this event, bringing it into the present day by situating two contemporary individuals in the narrative, and placing the viewer amidst the projected images, as both witness and perpetrator. 

In 1823, English furriers captured Demasduit’s niece, Shanawdithit, who lived in St. John’s until her death in 1829 and became legendary as the last of the Beothuk. In Shanawdithit, the Last of the Beothuk (2001), Belmore commemoratively evokes the woman’s presence (and absence) with haunting stone sculptures of her feet and hands, rounded as if worn by water, sensuously connecting her to the land from which she was taken. These objects also suggest traces of ‘primitive’ culture, the artifact-like qualities echoing the anthropological interest Shanawdithit endured.

The Great Water (2002) offers a broader allegory for the sweeping, traumatic changes born from Europeans’ journeys across the ocean separating them from the Americas. We are witness to a monumental capsizing, a catastrophic loss of balance; the void of the empty hull alluding to tragedy and unfathomable loss. Just as the swath of white fabric that binds a woman’s body in Untitled 1, 2, 3 (2004) can be variously read as cocooning or oppressive, and her positions as restful or untenable, The Great Water communicates a flux of meaning. Belmore deftly manipulates and activates materials in visceral ways that elicit trauma and loss, but also course with currents of resistance and are starkly beautiful, engendering a sense of ambiguity, uncertainty, and the uncanny.

The exhibition’s title What Is Said and What Is Done has multiple implications. A balanced phrase pivoting on “and,” it calls for a comparison between words and deeds. It also recalls “Thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven,” from the Lord’s Prayer. In Belmore’s (Untitled) come in cielo così in terra photographs, the actors in March 5, 1819 adopt the identities of a present-day Adam and Eve, standing defiantly in a Downtown Eastside Vancouver parking lot, and also in water, their images reflected against the sky. The juxtaposed Ojibwe-Salteaux New Testament points subtly to another tragic history: the forced placement of Aboriginal children in church-run residential schools, where they were forbidden to speak, and thus lost, their languages. 

What Is Said and What Is Done asserts the finality of what is past: the great water has been crossed, there has been much turbulence. Eloquent works such as Belmore’s, however, can raise our awareness and encourage us to redirect our thinking, words, and actions in the present day. Rebecca Belmore is among the many people who are working to balance the vessel and chart a new course.

Dorset Seen

Curated by Leslie Boyd and Sandra Dyck: Presented in collaboration with the NAC’s Northern Scene.

02 April – 02 June 2013

Kinngait Studios, located in Cape Dorset, Nunavut, is the oldest and most successful printmaking studio in Canadian history. It has operated continuously since 1959 and released over 2000 print editions. The 1950s saw James Houston’s establishment of the printmaking program at the same time as Inuit started leaving their outpost camps to settle permanently in Cape Dorset. Yet images of the community – its development, its residents, and its everyday life – have rarely featured in prints produced there.

Dorset Seen looks beyond the limited sphere of the limited edition print. Today, demand for drawings is on the rise. And the market’s decades-long preference for such “traditional” subjects as hunting and mythology is under challenge from the community’s artists, whose drawings and sculptures of the “new” North have been enthusiastically embraced by the globalized contemporary art world.

Dorset Seen looks at how Cape Dorset is seen through the eyes of its artists. It features 48 drawings and 22 sculptures by 20 artists whose works depict a diverse range of subjects. The artists tackle Christianity and colonialism, the HBC and the RCMP, family and sport, architecture and community development, technology and transport, alcoholism and suicide.

Although Dorset Seen takes the pulse of recent developments in the community’s art scene, it does not focus exclusively on the contemporary, nor does it equate earlier artists with some vague notion of “tradition.” Dorset’s artists have always been inspired by their everyday lives, regardless of aesthetic convention or market pressure.

It is now more than three decades since Pudlo Pudlat’s radical lithograph Aeroplane (1976) shocked an art world born and raised on the idea of North as pre-modern, exotic, and unchanging. Kananginak Pootoogook recently observed that “White culture is all documented, but this is not so with Inuit culture.” As the artists featured in Dorset Seen make clear, “Inuit culture,” at least in Cape Dorset, includes snowmobiles and Nintendo and priests and bicycles.

Dorset Seen is comprised entirely of loans from public institutions including the National Gallery of Canada, Winnipeg Art Gallery, McMichael Canadian Art Collection, from Dorset Fine Arts and Feheley Fine Arts, and from collectors including Dorset Fine Arts, Feheley Fine Arts, Appleton Family Collection, Christopher Bredt and Jamie Cameron, John Cook, John and Joyce Price, Andrew and Valerie Pringle, Sam and Esther Sarick, and Marnie Schreiber, as well as others who wish to remain anonymous.

The 20 artists featured are:
Kiugak Ashoona, Shuvinai Ashoona, Etidlooie Etidlooie, Isaci Etidloi, Qavavau Manumie, Ohotaq Mikkigak, Jamasie Pitseolak, Mark Pitseolak, Tim Pitsiulak, Annie Pootoogook, Itee Pootoogook, Kananginak Pootoogook, Napachie Pootoogook, Paulassie Pootoogook, Pudlo Pudlat, Kellypalik Qimirpik, Ningeokuluk Teevee, Jutai Toonoo, Samonie Toonoo, Ovilu Tunnillie

Dawson Gold

Curated by Heather Anderson: Presented in collaboration with the NAC’s Northern Scene

02 April – 02 June 2013

Dawson City was founded in 1897 during the Klondike Gold Rush (1896-1899) near the site of Tr’ochëk, a Hän fishing camp used by the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation at the meeting point of the Yukon and Klondike Rivers. At its peak in 1898, 40,000 people lived there, but today it is home to 1,300 residents.

The present economic crisis and faltering confidence in monetary currency have sent the price of gold soaring, luring fifty new gold-exploration companies to Dawson City in recent years, and dramatically increasing the number of claims staked. Throughout the Yukon there are 140 “mom and pop” operations sluicing “placer” gold—the flakes and nuggets that can be found in creek gravel—but the quest for hard-rock gold buried in the bedrock is mostly speculative, spurring the collection of soil samples all over the Klondike hills.

But there are other kinds of gold to be found in Dawson City. Over the last decade, a kind of artistic alchemy has resulted from the combination of the town’s unique culture, the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture’s Artist in Residence Program and recently founded Yukon School of Visual Art, and the influx of hundreds of artists who have come seeking to experience life in this remote community. Dawson Gold presents works made in and about Dawson City by four such artists: Allison Hrabluik, Valerie Salez, Zin Taylor, and Tom Wolseley.

Salez, a periodic Dawson City resident, and Wolseley, an artist from London, UK, create intimate and unexpected portraits of some of the town’s “characters.” Hrabluik’s and Taylor’s works point to the persistent allure of a remote and mythic “North,” our desire to belong, and the increasingly mobile nature of the globalized art world.

Temporarily integrating themselves into Dawson City’s social fabric, each of these four artists responded to this distinctive place by creating works grounded in their own experience. Like the many before them lured by the prospect of gold, these four artists, and their works, share the rewards of the experiences they found there.

Dawson Gold is presented in collaboration with the NAC’s Northern Scene, and supported by Yukon Tourism and Culture and the Yukon Government’s Culture Quest Program.

Jamelie Hassan: At the Far Edge of Words

Curated by Melanie Townsend; Organized and circulated by Museum London

14 January – 17 March 2013

This travelling exhibition is the first career survey of the award-winning artist Jamelie Hassan. The London, Ontario-based artist’s work reflects the tension between here and there, drawing upon her travels and research in Asia, the Americas, and the Middle East, particularly in Lebanon, the homeland of her parents, to intertwine personal narratives with her responses to critical issues of our time. The signature works in this show, produced from 1978 to 2010 in a wide array of media, including ceramics, watercolors, photographs, videos, and installation, speak to Hassan’s commitment to exploring cultural traditions and issues of representation, human rights, and justice.

The exhibition’s title, At the Far Edge of Words, comes from the poem “I Am from There” by Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish. It evokes a man’s journey through life and questions (like Hassan) the meaning of “home,” while reflecting Hassan’s recurring use of language in her work.

Jamelie Hassan works as an artist, writer, curator, and lecturer. Her artwork is represented in major collections in Canada including the National Gallery of Canada, Art Gallery of Ontario, Glenbow Museum, Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery and Museum London, among many others. Hassan has received numerous awards for her work including the prestigious Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts in 2001.

A comprehensive catalogue co-published by Museum London and the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery is available for $20.

Live Through This: Photographs by Tony Fouhse

Curated by Robert Evans

14 January – 17 March 2013

Working primarily in the genre of portraiture, the Ottawa photographer Tony Fouhse encounters a wide range of people through the course of his work, including drug addicts in Ottawa’s Lowertown, who he has been photographing since 2007. In June of 2010, Fouhse met Stephanie MacDonald, a heroin addict, and after getting to know her, asked if there was something that he could do to help. Stephanie said she needed help to get into rehab.

Some months later they began a harrowing journey, captured in a sequence of photographs Fouhse selected from the thousands he took of Stephanie as she struggled to get clean. His images of MacDonald are both banal and extraordinary, conveying grim aspects of her drug addiction and the steps she took to alter her life’s course. In Tony’s photographs, Stephanie doesn’t share space with much of anything or anyone. The narrative of her struggle is told through her expressive personality and her body: the addicted body, the rebelling body, and, finally, the recovering body. But it is obvious from her handwritten notes and other texts in the gallery that despite the images’ focus on Stephanie, this was not a solitary journey. The two protagonists of this story are present in every frame: Stephanie as subject and Tony as recorder and advocate. Live Through This became a life-changing project for Fouhse and MacDonald as they challenged and learned from one another.

Tony Fouhse has been producing commercial, editorial, and art photography for thirty years. He was the recipient in 2010 of the City of Ottawa’s Karsh Award, in recognition of his outstanding work in photography. His recent exhibition User was shown in Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto and New York.  Fouhse’s work is held in the National Photo Collection of Belgium, Canada Council Art Bank, Archives of Ontario, City of Ottawa, Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa Art Gallery, and private collections.

The Cedar Tavern Singers’ Art Snob Solutions, Phase III: At the Hundredth Meridian

Curated by Sandra Dyck

15 October – 16 December 2012

This exhibition is a celebration of CUAG’s 20th anniversary and of Canadian art itself, by Canada’s hottest artist/musicians. Part 1 is a specially commissioned music video and a limited-edition EP of 4 songs about key moments, figures, and artworks in Carleton’s (and Ottawa’s) art history. Part 2 presents drawings created for an activity book featuring mazes, colouring pages, and connect-the-dots focusing on Canadian artists and key works from CUAG’s collection. Part 3 presents the results of the Singers’ quest to ask CUAG’s audiences to draw their favourite work of Canadian art. Part 4 presents a limited-edition custom fragrance which, like most vanity scents, is an attempt by a third party to distill a variety of themes – in this case, the essence of Canada, Canadian art, and the Cedar Tavern Singers.

Fresh from their opening day performances at MASS MoCA’s Oh, Canada exhibition, The Cedar Tavern Singers AKA Les Phonoréalistes have been described as performance artists who “look and act like a band,” and deemed “considerably more entertaining than the writings of Clement Greenberg.” The Lethbridge-based “art-ernative” folk rock duo (Mary-Anne McTrowe and Dan Wong) was formed in 2006. Their recitals are part performance art, part pop concert, and part covert art history lesson. The Singers’ DIY objects, images, and performances are satirical, sincere, and more than a little cheeky.

Photomontage Between the Wars (1918-1939)

Curated by Fundación Juan March, Madrid

15 October – 16 December 2012

Photomontage Between the Wars (1918-1939) surveys the birth of the photomontage process as an art form as it simultaneously developed in Germany and the Soviet Union in the 1920s, with special focus on the interwar period, when the technique emerged and was adopted as an artistic medium. The exhibition is drawn from the Merrill C. Berman Collection in the United States, and features over 100 posters, books, magazines, and postcards by artists and graphic designers from 13 countries. Berman’s world-class collection of graphic design and modernist art is considered equal to that of the Stedelijk Museum’s in Amsterdam and the Museum of Modern Art’s in New York.

In Soviet Russia, photomontage became a powerful political weapon in the hands of such artists as El Lissitzky and Aleksandr Rodchenko. These artists exploited the power of the photographic image to create propaganda posters touting the Soviet regime, the country’s economy, and the myths of Lenin and Stalin. In Germany, John Heartfield and Max Burchartz used photomontage to create works that condemned the National Socialist regime as it rose to power in the 1930s.The extensive range of posters in the exhibition, several of which are landmarks in the history of 20th-century graphic design, demonstrates the enormous influence of photomontage in politics, social protest, advertising, publication, and the marketplace.

Cara Tierney: Go Forth and Multiply

Curated by Sandra Dyck

27 August – 30 September 2012

In the series of photographs featured in Go Forth and Multiply, Cara Tierney uses the body as a point of departure. In some works, the artist appears just once. In others Cara is replicated many times, playing all the parts in digitally-constructed scenes set in the studio, the city, and the countryside.

These photographs look to the past – to the way the body has been depicted by such artists as Botticelli, Edwin Holgate, and Bill Reid. They also examine the present, calling into question society’s fixed (either/or) categories of gender and sexuality.

Tierney’s photographs ultimately propose personal identity as a fluid and open construct, open to negotiation. As Cara has said, “the obsessive multiplication of the self in the photographs not only raises the idea of a fractured self, but is a deliberate response to the lack of visible queer subjects in mainstream society.”

An Embarrassment of Riches: The Collection in Focus

Curated by Sandra Dyck and Diana Nemiroff

07 May – 30 September 2012

Since its founding in 1992, Carleton University Art Gallery (CUAG) has built and cared for the University’s art collection as a rich resource for discovery, research, and learning through the direct experience of original works of art. CUAG presented its first exhibition in September of 1992; An Embarrassment of Riches marks our approaching 20th anniversary with a major exhibition that occupies the entire gallery and focuses on art acquired by donation and purchase since 2006. 

The exhibition includes an impressive core of contemporary photography by such artists as Robert Bourdeau, Justin Wonnacott, Jocelyne Alloucherie, Charles Gagnon, Lorraine Gilbert, Geoffrey James, and Michael Schreier. Videos presented include Kent Monkman’s cheeky Dance to Miss Chief and Zacharias Kunuk’s epic Nunavut series. The printmakers featured span centuries and continents – from Lucas van Leyden and Hans Sebald Beham to Clarence Gagnon and John J.A. Murphy to Pitseolak Ashoona and Ibrahim Miranda Ramos.

Delicate drawings by Ivan Eyre, Jane Martin, Kananginak Pootoogook, and Ron Bloore act as a quiet counterpoint to the Pop-inspired work of Michèle Provost, Mark Marsters, and Cynthia Girard, and a group of vividly-coloured 18th-century Indian Ragamala miniatures. The diverse sculptures featured include Liz Magor’s handy Tool Kit, several Haida argillite carvings of the 19th century, and Gunter Nolte’s minimalist steel piece, Step Up and Over.

An Embarrassment of Riches celebrates CUAG’s collection and the many stories it tells.  While we recognize that in the twenty-first century these stories will reach audiences through diverse routes, many of them virtual, we are confident that the art object has not lost its power and continues to stir our curiosity about the worlds it lays before our eyes.

Milutin Gubash: All in the Family

Curated by Sandra Dyck

13 February – 22 April 2012

All in the Family is a ten-year survey of the Serbian-born, Montreal-based artist Milutin Gubash, whose diverse practice is focused on the investigation of his personal, social, and cultural identity. Gubash casts himself (and his family and friends) in his work, using this motley crew to tell stories that blur the real and the fantastic, art and everyday life, fact and fiction, and the past and present.

The exhibition is anchored by several major projects including Which Way to the Bastille?, which recounts the story of his father’s life in, and escape from, communist Yugoslavia. The video These Paintings (2010) and related abstract “paintings” both explore the viability of abstraction, and the life of the artist, under Communism. The hilarious Born Rich, Getting Poorer is a sitcom-style video series (complete with laugh track) starring Gubash as himself, the Buster Keatonish everyman who embarks on a hapless search for home, and for roots, after the recent death of his father.

A publication is planned in collaboration with Rodman Hall Art Centre, Musée d’art de Joliette, Southern Alberta Art Gallery, and Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery.

Erin Shirreff: Available Light

Curated by Sandra Dyck and Jan Allen; Produced with Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen's University, and the Contemporary Art Gallery

13 February – 22 April 2012

The Kelowna-born, Brooklyn-based artist Erin Shirreff is garnering international acclaim for her diverse body of work – photographs, videos, and sculptures – which is united in its singular focus on objects by turns extraordinary and banal. Shirreff is compelled not by the cultural meanings of objects, but by their resolute objecthood, their very “blankness.”

Shirreff’s delicate, shape-shifting abstract sculptures of compressed ash are informed by her interest in our encounters (whether in person or through photographs) with the enigmatic and often unyielding forms of classic mid-20th-century minimalist sculptures. Her silent videos of iconic objects like the 30 Rockefeller Plaza building in New York, or the moon, or the monumental Roden Crater in the Arizona desert, are based on photographs sourced on the Internet and in books, reshot serially and used to generate not-so-seamless montages that subtly reveal their constructed nature while drawing attention to the ways images mediate our understanding of the world. The handmade clay forms that are the subject of her spare “documentary” photographs do not call to mind particular objects, creating a space, as she has said, “for wondering and the potential and pleasures of ambiguity.”

Shirreff’s work is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas. A publication is planned in collaboration with Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen’s University, and the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver.

Making the News in 18th-Century France

Curated by Stéphane Roy

13 February – 22 April 2012

Making the News examines the ways the news was created, looked at, understood, and consumed in 18th-century France. In particular, printed images helped people grasp the nature of important events both near and far, from the taking of Québec City in 1759 to the storming of the Bastille in 1789. Despite the unpredictable time lag involved in their production, prints shaped public opinion as much, if not more, than the printed word, giving visual form to such politically-charged ideas as tyranny and patriotism.

Making the News presents approximately 40 prints and rare books made in France from 1770 to 1820, selected from CUAG’s collection, and loaned by the National Gallery of Canada, Library and Archives Canada, and the MacOdrum Library at Carleton University. Woven into a narrative linking history and art history, literature and journalism, politics and image-making, these objects will shed new light on art and ideas in the era of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution.

Although bound to centuries-old printmaking techniques, the 18th-century public’s relation to visual information was the precursor to our experience in the digital age, shaping the news through the rapid production and dissemination of images. A publication is planned.

Anthony Burnham: Even Space Does Not Repeat

Curated by Diana Nemiroff and Naomi Potter; co-produced with Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff

14 November 2011 – 29 January 2012

This exhibition presents a focused selection of recent paintings by Montreal artist Anthony Burnham, whose stylistically heterogeneous work investigates the possibilities of painting as a conceptual practice. Burnham’s works take as their themes the formal and symbolic components that have played a central role in the history of painting, such as perspective, illusionism and the grid.

As Marie-Ève Charron, one of the essayists for the forthcoming catalogue, has observed, each of Burnham’s paintings seems to conjure the question formulated by Jean-François Lyotard: “What to paint?” What is there left, today, for painting to say? And how can it say it? Anthony Burnham’s works offer much opportunity for reflection on these matters, as there are the products of a painting practice that is, at heart, a conceptual activity.

“Truly Canadian”: Inuit Art and National Identity

Curated by Michelle Bauldic

14 November 2011 – 29 January 2012

Truly Canadian takes as its starting point a 1987 quotation by Virginia Watt in Inuit Art Quarterly: “If we discount hockey arenas and football and baseball stadia, Canadians are not ordinarily perceived as a passionate people, except, it appears, on the subject of Inuit art. Inuit art is ours; it is truly Canadian.” The exhibition explores how Inuit art has come to be perceived as “ours,” and how the Canadian government has utilized it as a means of articulating Canadian identity at home and abroad.

Since the 1950s, the government has officially supported, promoted, and marketed Inuit art in a variety of ways, including circulating travelling exhibitions, presenting gifts to foreign dignitaries, distributing special print portfolios, and disseminating images on stamps and coins. The exhibition will feature original prints and sculptures by such artists as Kenojuak Ashevak, Parr, Helen Kalvak, Pudlo Pudlat, Jessie Oonark and Kananginak Pootoogook, as well as the consumer products – stamps and coins – they inspired. It also presents special projects, such as a portfolio of Kenojuak Ashevak engravings released in 1967 to mark Canada’s centennial.

People Like Us: The Gossip of Colin Campbell

Organized and circulated by Oakville Galleries, and made possible in part through a contribution from the Museums Assistance Program, Department of Canadian Heritage; Curated by Jon Davies

14 November 2011 – 29 January 2012

People Like Us is the first major exhibition of the groundbreaking video artist’s work since his death in 2001. The exhibition surveys Colin Campbell’s illustrious career, from such early tapes as Sackville, I’m Yours… (1972), which features Campbell as the beguiling fictional persona “Art Star,” to his final work, Que Sera Sera (2001).

Campbell’s life and artistic practice derived inspiration from and through gossip. Through videotape, he gossiped with and about his real social circle while creating a new, fictional, cast of characters. Boundaries of truth and falsity concerned him even less than did conventional ideas of screen acting and narrative closure. His homespun tapes are a perverse collage of tall tales, rumours, conversations and daydreams gleaned from his everyday life. Ironic, irreverent and ambiguous, Campbell’s tapes demonstrate how reality can be manipulated and invented to reflect one’s desires.

Leslie Reid: A Darkening Vision

Curated by Diana Nemiroff

30 August – 30 October 2011

This solo exhibition traces a career that spans more than three decades. Selected from a much larger body of work by Ottawa painter Leslie Reid, the paintings presented are grouped thematically by air, earth, and water. “Air” sets works from the 1970s, liminally abstract, delicately nuanced paintings of the skies over Grand Calumet Island in the Ottawa River valley alongside recent paintings of Cape Pine on the southernmost tip of the Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland, where thick, enveloping fog creates its own palpable whiteness. “Earth” groups paintings from the artist’s travels in France, England, and California during the 1980s and early 1990s. “Water” spans a lengthy period from the mid 1990s to the end of the first decade of the present century, when Reid was focused more narrowly on family property in Cantley, Quebec, and returns to the Ottawa River towards the end.

For Leslie Reid, the sensory experience of the landscape is deeply imbued with feeling. Although she has always worked from photographs, her intention has never been photographic objectivity. What interests her are the perceptual and psychological sensations provoked by the experience of a particular place. The landscapes she is attracted to extend from Calumet and Cantley, places with which she has had a long personal connection, to less familiar sites where the quality of the space and light and the signs of human presence on the land are held in equilibrium. Whereas the sense of a lived connection with the natural phenomena of air, earth, and water is a constant in her work, over time her vision has darkened, both literally, in response to a particular place and in a deepening emphasis on the fragility of the human connection. The sense of wilderness, real or imaginative, and with it the anxiety of survival, is never completely absent from her work.

Parr and Luke Anguhadluq: Drawing from Life

Curated by Sandra Dyck

30 August – 30 October 2011

Although they never met, Luke Anguhadluq and Parr share much in common, as men and as artists. Born two years apart in the 1890s, both were hunters who grew up on the land, only moving to permanent settlements in 1961 – Parr to Cape Dorset and Anguhadluq to Baker Lake. Their hunting activities curtailed by infirmity and age, they forged second careers as artists, drawing from life experience and memory to make spare and remarkable images that often depict the hunt, hunters, and the hunted, and in Anguhadluq’s case, community and spiritual life.

In Parr’s drawings, hunters advance across the page – always from right to left – in stately armadas, determinedly pursuing and occasionally confronting animals in an unceasing quest for food not bound in space or time by the edges of the paper. Anguhadluq’s compositions are looser: he sometimes turned the paper while drawing, orienting figures to different sides of the paper or spiraling figures and objects out from the centre. They’re also more abstract: the quest for food might be alluded to by a lone fishing spear. In other drawings, caribou antlers, spears, and fish extend out from mask-like human faces, collapsing the physical and conceptual distance between humans and animals.

Neither artist gave priority to depicting recognizable places, individualized people or actual events recalled from memory, nor did they pay heed to Western ideas of naturalism and perspective. Both reduced their subject, whether fishing scene, family group or drum dance, to its most essential characteristics and rendered it with great stylistic economy. The works of Parr and Anguhadluq may appear straightforward, but they offer intense glimpses of their interior states and exterior realities that remain ultimately unknowable, then and now.

Against the Grain: Japanese Woodblock Prints from the University of Alberta Art Collection

09 May – 24 July 2011

Against the Grain surveys the aesthetic, cultural and technical developments in Japanese woodblock printing from the Edo period (1603-1868) to the present day, including the historic development of ukiyo-e (“pictures of the floating world”) and more recently, shin-hanga (“new prints”) and sosaku-hanga (“creative prints”).

Highlights of the exhibition include a body of Edo-period ukiyo-e prints, which depict contemporary urban life, geisha culture and legendary events, and numerous 1857 prints by Kunisada II illustrating The Tale of Genji, the 11th-century novel thought to be the world’s oldest. The exhibition also features iconic works by Hiroshige and Hokusai, which had a major impact on the work of such European artists as Degas, Cassatt, Gauguin and van Gogh.

The exhibition concludes with twentieth-century prints, including shin-hanga landscapes by Kawae Husui, Tokyo views by Shirō Kasamatsu, and more recent experimental prints from the 1980s and 1990s, whose makers build on the monumental achievements of their forebears.

Rita Letendre: Themes and Variations

Curated by Diana Nemiroff

09 May – 24 July 2011

Winner of a Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts in 2010, Québec-born Rita Letendre attracted attention early on as an abstract painter to watch. Introduced to the circle of Automatiste painters grouped around Paul-Émile Borduas, she developed a style characterized by brooding emotion, an abundant use of black, and turbulent forms. By the late sixties, resident in California with her husband, the Israeli sculptor Kosso Eloul, she abandoned oil for acrylics. Her paintings became increasingly monumental, organized around dynamic spatial vectors that charged the space of the canvas with luminous energy. In the 1990s her work softened and became more lyrical, focused on the sky and its changing light and moods.

While in California, Letendre was introduced to printmaking at the Tamarind Lithography Workshop and produced her first prints in 1965. She went on to master serigraphy, which easily lent itself to her flat, colourful, and highly graphic images. From the mid-sixties to the 1980s, her printmaking echoed the evolving direction of her painting, by the mid-seventies beginning to reflect the more atmospheric textures suggestive of natural light effects in the landscape. Yet although her prints are necessarily smaller in scale than her paintings, they ambitious expressions in their own right that translate the painterly qualities of her vision with subtle fidelity.

Drawn from the gallery’s collection, this exhibition spans three decades of her work, from 1965 to 1997, and includes examples of her lithographs, serigraphs, and aquatints as well as a small selection of pastels and paintings.

Patriot Loves: Visions of Canada in the Feminine

Curated by Minh Nguyen

09 May – 10 July 2011

From its birth as a nation which nests cultural nations, Canada/Kanata is a native land for some and an adopted home for others. Multiculturalism has become the benchmark of Canada`s national identity and a point of pride for Canadians.  Art, in its multitude forms of expression, continues to serve as a powerful means of articulating the nature, legacy, and fable of our cultural mosaic as a site of belonging.

Few artists have articulated their passion for Canada as powerfully as Joyce Wieland (1930-1998). Wieland’s deep love for Canada is reflected in her famous words, “I think of Canada as female. All the art I’ve been doing…is about Canada.” 2011 marks the 40th anniversary of True Patriot Love, Wieland’s landmark solo exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada.

Taking Wieland’s woman-centered expression of Canadian nationalism as its starting point, Patriot Loves presents several of her key works with those of Nadia Myre and Cynthia Girard, contemporary artists exploring related issues. Featuring paintings, drawings, textiles and videos, the exhibition examines some of the historical, political and cultural threads that inform and enrich our notions of patriotic loves for this inherited or adopted land.

Nadia Myre: Symbology

Curated by Sandra Dyck

14 February – 24 April 2011

Symbology presents recent beaded and photographic works by Algonquin artist Nadia Myre – the Desire Schematics and Scarscapes series of 2008-10 – that demonstrate her longstanding fascination with the communicative potential of abstract visual symbols. The Desire Schematics depict linear technical (piping and plumbing) diagrams in coloured beads on white backgrounds, and have saucy titles like Lubricator and Union Screwed. The Scarscapes picture bodily scars rendered in a sombre palette of grey, black, and white beads, descriptively titled Cross or Circle according to their simplified forms. The beaded works are also presented as pristine large-scale photographic images, framed in white and depicting mostly white beads arrayed in uniform grids. With their monumental feel and machined aesthetic, the photographs further abstract and distill the symbols that are the objects of Myre’s study.

The Desire Schematics and Scarscapes exemplify Myre’s persistent interest in systems of communication, especially in the coded forms employed in the realm of the human body, with its scars, frailties, and unruly desires. Such languages as Braille, ground to air signals and Morse code have all made appearances in her earlier work, but Myre’s use of such systems is never merely aesthetic. “There’s no such thing as decoration,” she has said, “everything means something.” Whether presented in analogue (beaded) or digital (photographic) form, the Desire Schematics and Scarscapes lead us, humorously and poignantly, to consider the real-world objects, events and histories – whether personal or political, historical or contemporary – that inspired them.

A catalogue, published in collaboration with Galerie Art Mûr and Musée d’art contemporain des Laurentides and featuring essays by Sandra Dyck, Colette Tougas and Amanda Jane Graham, will be launched in March 2011.

Conversation Pieces: African Textiles from Barbara and Bill McCann’s Collection

Curated by Catherine Hale

14 February – 24 April 2011

Conversation Pieces explores the vital role played by conversation and, more broadly, communication, in the acquisition, understanding and exhibition of textiles from the McCanns’ rich and varied collection. The exhibition presents approximately sixty textile works and a wide range of garments acquired by the McCanns since 1970, in countries from Morocco to South Africa, as well as Mr. and Mrs. Andrews without their Heads (1998), a textile-based installation work by contemporary artist Yinka Shonibare, loaned by the National Gallery of Canada.

Whether created as emblems of prestige, to commemorate particular events or individuals, to offer protection, or to identify a rite of passage, textiles and clothing throughout the African continent are actively employed to communicate concepts of identity, history, and community. Highlights of the exhibition include an intricately-appliquéd raffia woman’s skirt from the Democratic Republic of Congo, a cotton hunter’s shirt from Mali adorned with leather amulets and mirrors, a richly-embroidered cotton man’s gown from Nigeria, a Moroccan wool hooded cloak featuring a vivid red “eye” motif, and a three-part bridal outfit (smock, shawl and trousers) from Egypt’s Siwa Oasis region. Conversation Pieces highlights the many ways that textiles initiate dialogue about and between people in Africa and elsewhere. A catalogue is planned.

Please visit and contribute to the exhibiton’s blog:
http://conversationpiecescuag.blogspot.com/

Ijurnaqtut: Whimsy, Wit and Humour in Inuit Art

Curated by Anna Eyler

22 November 2010 – 30 January 2011

This exhibition explores ijurnaqtut, or things that make people laugh, as expressed by Inuit artists in drawings, prints, sculptures and film. Some artists depict whimsical images of play, conveying the energy and gaiety of games or the playful side of the animal world. Others reflect on the adversities of life from a comic perspective or employ humour as a strategy for coping with the challenges of everyday life in the Arctic. In small Arctic communities, humour and play served a crucial role in helping people cope with life’s inherent dangers and in maintaining social cohesion by diffusing conflict and imparting group values. Today, humour is a strategy of cultural resilience in response to decades of social and cultural upheaval. Artists represented in the exhibition include Annie Pootoogook, Andy Miki, Nick Sikkuark, Pudlo Pudlat, Josie Papialook, Floyd Kuptana, and Shuvinai Ashoona. Their works demonstrate receptivity and openness to our strange, incongruous, and oftentimes humorous world, and invite us to share in their experiences.

Four Ottawa Painters: Authier, Golland, Morrow, Schissel

Curated by Sandra Dyck

22 November 2010 – 30 January 2011

Four Ottawa Painters takes the pulse of regional painting activity, presenting the work of ambitious young artists who are already garnering acclaim in Canada and internationally. The exhibition offers a unique snapshot of one aspect of the city’s artistic scene, featuring paintings made exclusively in 2010 and not yet seen here. It reflects and is shaped by significant developments in the city’s cultural profile, in particular the University of Ottawa’s recent establishment of a Master of Fine Arts degree program (Martin Golland is a professor there, while Amy Schissel and Andrew Morrow are recent MFA graduates). More broadly, Four Ottawa Painters signals a revived interest in contemporary painting, here and abroad.

Melanie Authier is committed to total abstraction: her canvases manifest an intense push-pull between opposing forces of the artificial and the real, chaos and control, the sublime and the ordinary. Martin Golland takes the urban setting as his starting point, distorting real-world sources into imaginary spaces where entropy and enigma are the order of the day. In her densely-layered works, Amy Schissel appropriates dots, pixels, clusters, loops, and linear sequences from networked computing environments, pushing the language of abstraction to encompass contemporary understandings of space. Andrew Morrow’s work is rooted in the past but focused on the present. He revisits the conventions of historic pastoral painting, using graphic sexual imagery to disturb and transform its idealized landscapes while raising questions about contemporary attitudes to sexuality, masculinity, and gender.

David Rokeby: Very Nervous System

Curated by Jesse Stewart

22 November 2010 – 30 January 2011

Governor General’s award-winning artist David Rokeby has been at the forefront of interactive media art for over two decades. Throughout that time, his piece Very Nervous System (1986-2004) has been central to the development of his remarkable interdisciplinary creative practice.

First developed in the mid 1980s, when interactive art, sound art, and computer-based art were each in their infancy, Very Nervous System uses video surveillance technology, synthesizers, a sound system, computers, and image-processing software designed by Rokeby to translate movement into music and/or sound. Visitors to the gallery enter what appears to be an empty room. As they move through the space, their movements are monitored by a wall-mounted video camera. The video signal is routed to a hidden computer where the image processor converts their movements into sounds that are played back into the space through the sound system. This creates a biofeedback loop between body and machine.

Through an intuitive process of improvisation, kinetic experimentation, and creative play, visitors use their bodies to sculpt the sound, opening a critical space to reflect on the inherent tensions and contradictions between the extreme logic of the computer binary code that underpins the piece and the intuitive, improvisatory gestures that activate it. The piece also inverts the traditional relationship between movement/dance and sound/music: instead of the body responding to music, the movements of the body actually produce the music and orchestrate the piece. The work thus functions as what Rokeby has called a “transforming mirror,” both reflecting and refracting our actions in space and time and our self-image.

The Carleton University Art Gallery purchased this version of the work in 2009 with assistance from the Friends of the Art Gallery, the Elizabeth L. Gordon Art Programme and the Canada Council for the Arts.

HERE: The 2nd Carleton Community Biennial

01 November – 07 November 2010

Carleton University Art Gallery is pleased to present HERE: The Second Carleton Community Biennial , a celebration of creativity on the Carleton campus. HERE presents art made by Carleton students, staff, faculty, alumni and retirees. The exhibition will feature a diverse and exciting range of art, including painting, photography, sculpture, textile arts, drawings and prints by approximately 120 members of the Carleton community. Admission is free and everyone is welcome! Free parking is available on campus on Saturday and Sunday.

Exhibition hours:
1 November, 10 am - 7 pm
2-7 November, 10 am - 5 pm

Justin Wonnacott: I Remember and I Forget

Curated by Sandra Dyck

06 September – 07 November 2010

Justin Wonnacott’s new series of photographs, I Remember and I Forget, depict fish caught and farmed around the world, but purchased at his neighbourhood grocery store. Wonnacott shoots his portraits at close range and in the studio, taking great care with staging, lighting and props. The simplest images isolate a fish or two against a monochrome background. Other fish are set upon a decorative plate or arranged with objects – lemon, salt cellar, knife, drinking glass, cutting board – in genre pictures that draw on traditions of Dutch still-life painting of the 17th century. Wonnacott’s luminous photographs focus our attention on creatures by turns beautiful, exotic, sensual, wondrous, and alien. As Jonathan Swift famously quipped, “It was a brave man who first ate an oyster.”

I Remember and I Forget raises complex questions about the food we eat. In an era where everything is processed and packaged for our convenience, Wonnacott’s photographs remind us where our food comes from, and what fish actually look like. They speak to our decadent consumerism - we expect a year-round selection of fish at local stores - while considering its impact: today it’s easier to buy salmon farmed in China than a cod caught in Atlantic Canada. They are also deeply personal: the artist eats most everything he photographs and cops to guilt over being an “inlander” who relishes a fish-heavy diet. Wonnacott’s photographs of fish have a subtly elegiac quality, but they’re far from sentimental: all the fish have died for our pleasure, whether visual or gustatory.

Jocelyne Alloucherie: Climats (Climates)

Curated by Diana Nemiroff

06 September – 24 October 2010

Climats (Climates) can be described as an “imaginarium of the north” that lies between fiction and reality. Blurring the boundaries between drawing, photography, sculpture, and architecture in her work, Montreal artist Jocelyne Alloucherie explores the mythic dimensions of space as it is experienced in memory and the imagination. For Climats (Climates) she has constructed three ‘landscapes’ comprised of quasi-abstract photographs augmented by sculptural and architectural elements whose forms work in counterpoint to the elusive images.

Terre de brumes (Land of Mist), Terre de sang (Land of Blood), and Terre de Neige (Land of Snow) are distillations of place; each communicates a general climate or feeling rather than a particular geographical location. Alloucherie’s majestic and tumultuous images of blowing sand and ancient icebergs shrouded in mist convey, in her words, “a space between the immediacy of physical experience and the memory of one or many elsewheres.”

Jocelyne Alloucherie’s work has been featured in major exhibitions in Canada, Europe, and the United States. She is the winner of a Governor General’s Award for Visual and Media Arts (2000) and Quebec’s prestigious Paul-Émile Borduas Prize (2002), among others, and she has taken part in numerous international residencies. Her intellectual rigour and distinctive artistic vision have won her an important place in the visual arts in Canada.

Frank Shebageget: Light Industry

Curated by Sandra Dyck

09 May – 22 August 2010

The Ottawa-based Ojibway artist Frank Shebageget was born and raised in Upsala, northwest of Lake Superior. Although he no longer lives there, he continues to draw inspiration from the place where he spent his formative years. Shebageget never depicts the land itself, but has instead developed a spare iconography – house, airplane, fishing net – with which to explore the area’s complex identity and history in the context of what he calls “colonial influence disguised as progress.”

Shebageget’s multi-faceted artistic practice is modernist to the core, characterized by repetition, structure, rigour and simplified forms. He transmutes the personal and the political via his laborious investigation of a few objects integral to the cycle of production and consumption. He has made minimalist prints and drawings based on government blueprints of the “typical Indian house” and used ordinary millboard to craft vacant replicas of the one his father built in Upsala. On large sheets of black tar paper, the kind used to roof the houses of his childhood, Shebageget has written in orderly columns the names of all the reserves created in Canada by virtue of the Indian Act. He has addressed the post-war “opening up” of Canada’s north with elegant squadrons of models of de Havilland’s Beaver floatplane.

Light Industry demonstrates the continuing development of Shebageget’s personal iconography. His Flight Patterns drawings pay homage to the Beaver, the quintessential Canadian-made bush plane whose design is touted as a perfect marriage of form and function. Lodge, a jumbled pile of planes, flouts this idealised image while hinting at the power – constructive and destructive – of all dams and by extension, at attempts (human and non-human) to harness unruly nature. His newest work, the ambitious installation Cell, is comprised of nylon fishing nets hung systematically from a square aluminum framework, which metaphorically contains the mess and stink of fishing within the pristine “white cube” gallery space. The grid reigns supreme here, but it also governs such traditional First Nations practices as beadwork, basketry, and quillwork design.

Frank Shebegaget’s work ultimately speaks to his deep attachment to a place, a home, a landscape. As Hugh Raffles observed in In Amazonia (2002), “Nature is indissoluble from place. It resides in people as fully as people reside in it.”

A Leap of Imagination: The Barwick Gift

Curated by Sandra Dyck

09 May – 22 August 2010

In the summer of 1964, Jack and Frances Barwick “worked out” their new wills together “with much care and thought.” The couple made Carleton University the main beneficiary of both their estates – their collection of 57 works of early- and mid-twentieth-century Canadian art and a major financial bequest that ultimately resulted in the founding of Carleton University Art Gallery in 1992. This exhibition celebrates their generosity to and faith in a young university – their “leap of imagination.”

Over the course of their marriage, the Barwicks developed a superb art collection. The driving force in its establishment was Frances’s brother Douglas Duncan. Founder in 1936 of Toronto’s Picture Loan Society, Duncan promoted emerging and established Canadian artists for three decades, presenting two-week exhibitions of their work and making frequent purchases from the shows. The Barwicks thus had ready and intimate access to the work of many artists including David Milne. “Several times,” Frances recalled, “I was privileged to see the latest batch of Milnes, fresh from the artist’s possession.” The collection eventually included 16 Milnes, as well as significant works by such artists as Emily Carr, L.L. FitzGerald, Will Ogilvie, Pegi Nicol MacLeod, Arthur Lismer, A.Y. Jackson, and Louis Muhlstock.

Frances Barwick remarked in 1971 that, “I am extremely interested in the welfare of Carleton, as was my husband. We watched it start, and were delighted by its progress.” In early 1984 (she died late that year), Frances Barwick expressed her hope that her estate would be combined with the proceeds of her husband’s bequest to fund at Carleton “buildings, equipment, courses, or special activities” related to music or the fine arts. The Barwicks’ collection was prominently featured in the inaugural exhibition at Carleton University Art Gallery in September 1992. They would never see the gallery they were so instrumental in founding, but their memory lives on within its walls.

“Awkward and Atrocious”: Photographs by Diana Thorneycroft

Curated by Diana Nemiroff

09 May – 22 August 2010

In the two series of photographs featured in this exhibition – Group of Seven Awkward Moments and A People’s History – Winnipeg artist Diana Thorneycroft takes on the mythologized view of Canada as a vast nation of unspoiled natural splendor, a country that views itself, and is viewed by others, as inherently good and reasonable. By focusing on real and imagined episodes in Canada’s history that fail to fit the stereotype, the awkward or atrocious moments that individual and collective memory represses, she challenges these myths of Canadian identity.

Thorneycroft’s Group of Seven Awkward Moments offers an irreverent update of the Group’s vision of our country. Using as backdrops paintings by members of the Group or their associates Tom Thomson and Emily Carr, she constructs dioramas composed of dolls and dime-store accessories to explore the relationship between the landscape and national identity. Each of her photographed dioramas tells a story that has gone hilariously, sometimes ominously, awry. Underneath the humour, Thorneycroft delivers an awkward truth: the hedonistic consumerism that governs our everyday lives has estranged us from the natural world and the landscape that once symbolized what it meant to be Canadian.

While she was mining Canadian history for awkward incidents, Thorneycroft’s research turned up events that were far from funny. Her new series, A People’s History, depicts atrocities that are sadly and shamefully familiar: the forced acculturation of Aboriginal children in residential schools, the sexual abuse of children at Mount Cashel and elsewhere, and the dozens of women who disappeared and were murdered at Robert William Picton’s pig farm. Crimes like these challenge the image of Canada as a just society, and our instinct is to see them as moments of error that can be erased. By using childhood toys to provide a glimpse into the world of abuse, Thorneycroft blurs the boundaries between victim and perpetrator, allowing us for a moment to experience the evil humanity is capable of when the ‘good’ avert their eyes.

In the Hands of Women: Inuit Uluiit and Qulliit

Curated by Mary-Louise Davis

09 May – 22 August 2010

An ulu is an Inuit woman’s crescent-shaped, multipurpose knife. The qulliq is the traditional Inuit oil lamp. These objects are the tools of women, who have used them to provide for their families for hundreds of years.

A powerful sign of prosperity, security and home, the flames of the qulliq provided warmth and light, hot water and dry clothing. An ulu is used to divide and clean meat, to clean and sew skins and to make clothing, bedding and blankets. The knives symbolize sharing, collaboration and interdependence, which are important Inuit values. Uluiit and qulliit also reveal patterns of use, trading relationships and traditions of production that provide valuable cultural information.

In the Hands of Women presents historic examples of uluiit and qulliit from the collections of the Carleton University Art Gallery and the Canadian Museum of Civilization. Such tools have been represented by artists in the past, and they continue to serve as important subject matter in contemporary work.  The exhibition includes David Ruben Piqtoukun’s Sharing the Good Food (1999), an evocative sculpture of the ulu as a symbol of generosity and hospitality. A Napachie Pootoogook print, Mother and Child with Fish demonstrates the importance of the ulu in transmitting cultural knowledge across generations. In her 1969 print The Two Sisters, Agnes Nanogak presents the qulliq as an emblem of home. 

Other artists represented in the exhibition include Helen Kalvak, Shuvinai Ashoona, Syollie Amituk, Myra Kukiiyaut, Jessie Oonark, Abraham POV, and Sheojuk Etidlooie. Ultimately, these artists’ representations of uluiit and qulliit disseminate fundamental cultural knowledge, which upholds and informs the worldviews of Inuit across Canada. Contemporary artists thus honour past traditions and values while celebrating their continuity and vitality in the present.

THIS IS DESIGN: School of Industrial Design Graduation Exhibition

17 April – 20 April 2010

Eros and Endearment: The Look of Love in 18th-Century French Prints

Curated by Adrienne Foster

21 February – 11 April 2010

Love, in all its manifestations, is an important theme in much eighteenth-century French art. As well as traditional scenes of romance, passion and seduction, there was a new emphasis on images of family relationships, motherhood, and children. This exhibition, selected from the W. McAllister Johnson collection of historical French prints, explores how different types and degrees of “love” were portrayed, and the significant role that prints played in disseminating these images throughout France and Europe.

The birth of modern consumerism in the eighteenth century resulted in the expansion of the print market. The increased purchasing power of the middle classes created a progressively wider audience for prints, many of whom were drawn to scenes of love. By 1783 prints were favourably compared to more expensive media such as paintings and statues: “[Prints] are within reach of everyone and today they are a highly fashionable kind of luxury.”

Genre painters like Jean-Baptiste Greuze, Etienne Jeaurat, Jean-Honoré Fragonard and others were well aware that the print market was an excellent way to disseminate their work. However, the printmakers who translated their paintings were more than mere artisans or copyists. Once they became probationary members (“agréés”) of the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture, they could exhibit at the Salon du Louvre. In the passage from painting to print, engravers could add to or change the meaning of an image through the addition of poetry (versification) and print titles.

Prints were purchased for collection or display; when glazed and hung on the wall, they might be morally instructive or simply entertaining. Some buyers speculated in them, while others were more interested in their artistic value or wanted to demonstrate their “good taste.” Prints of a similar size (pendants) with complementary themes became increasingly popular as the century progressed.

Whatever their function, prints depicting the consequences, both positive and negative, of love were favoured. During the Ancien Régime, (pre-revolutionary France) sentimental prints of happy domesticity became popular. Equivocal and even licentious images, whether or not they were veiled in allegory or symbolism, were also admired by men and women of all classes. Erotic prints ignited far-reaching public debate: moralists lamented the impure nature of public taste, while critics feared that prints depicting everyday life would overshadow “higher” forms of art such as history painting.

Lucas van Leyden: The Passion

Curated by Randi Klebanoff

21 February – 11 April 2010

Lucas van Leyden’s Passion series of engravings (1521) depicts fourteen events from the end of the life of Christ. It begins with The Last Supper, when Christ tells his disciples that one of them will betray him, continues with Christ’s trials leading to his crucifixion, and ends with his resurrection. Devotion to the Passion of Christ was at its height in the sixteenth century. The Passion was a popular subject of religious plays, vernacular devotional literature, and ritual recreations at Easter. Printed images of Christ’s Passion aided believers’ private devotion by invoking their empathetic engagement with Christ’s sacrifice.

Lucas van Leyden was unquestionably the most important Netherlandish artist of his day. His prints were sought after not only during his life but also long after his death. A century later, Rembrandt was a keen collector of Lucas’s prints, and was known to have paid high prices for a rare sheet. To supply demand, numerous artists copied his prints, and print sellers reworked his plates to produce further print runs. The Carleton University Art Gallery’s set of Passion engravings is the only one in Canada believed to be from Lucas van Leyden’s own hand.

Sixteenth-century artists used prints to disseminate ideas and compositions. In 1521 van Leyden met the famed German artist Albrecht Dürer and the two exchanged many prints. The Passion, engraved in the same year, is van Leyden’s response to Durer’s prints of the same theme, reinterpreted in terms of his personal vision and style. Van Leyden’s approach to the Passion demonstrates his remarkable gift for narrative, the dramatic concentration and clarity of his compositions, and his virtuosity as a designer and engraver.

In the Passion, Lucas van Leyden frequently departs from conventional depictions to emphasize moral and humanitarian messages. In The Crucifixion, for example, Lucas depicts Christ not dead, but actively entrusting the care of his mother Mary to his beloved disciple John, shifting the focus from death to the responsibilities of love and service in this life. A similar message is conveyed in The Last Supper, where Christ lovingly feeds bread to his betrayer Judas while an apostle in the foreground echoes the act of service to his fellow man. In Christ in Limbo, a father instructs his wife and child on the consequences of sin and the fleetingness of beauty by pointing out a grotesque demon who reaches toward them from Hell. Contemporary campaigns against sodomy are the probable subtext of The Mocking of Christ, where Christ’s tormentor in the right foreground turns his back to Christ while making motions to pull down his breeches.

Lucas’s Passion also gives pious viewers privileged roles in a particular scene. In Christ Crowned with Thorns, the innocence of a small child contrasts with the callousness of Christ’s tormentors. By eating an apple, the child symbolizes the downfall of humankind into sin caused by Adam and Eve’s consumption of the forbidden fruit in Paradise. Put in the position of a witness looking over the child’s shoulder, viewers are prompted to question their complicity in Christ’s degradation. Van Leyden’s placement of the child, like a clue left at the scene of a crime, is typical of the psychological acuity that distinguishes his extraordinary interpretation of the Passion, Christianity’s most important story.

Carol Wainio: The Book

Curated by Diana Nemiroff

21 February – 11 April 2010

Illustrated books, which educate their readers through images and ideas about the world, are the focal point for Ottawa painter Carol Wainio’s recent reflections on the changing and contradictory role of representation. Her paintings draw on such rich and varied sources as La Vie Privée et Publique des Animaux (The Private and Public Lives of Animals) by the 19th-century illustrator J. J. Grandville, which depicts the ‘social class’ of animals by dressing them in human clothes, and illustrations for familiar folktales such as the story of Puss in Boots, in which clever Puss transforms his peasant master’s fortunes by dressing him like a prince.

The earliest works in this ten-year survey of Wainio’s painting depict sumptuously illustrated mediaeval books of hours, the work of anonymous copyists. They introduce the open-book structure that she carries, more or less literally, into the later works, as well as the theme of copying. Although nowadays invention and originality are privileged in art, for most of human history the visual images that were familiar to people were copies made for magical, ritual, or storytelling purposes. Wainio was especially fascinated by the narrative power of fairy-tale illustrations.

Wainio’s most recent paintings focus in particular on the aspect of reproduction inherent in the transmittal of such folktales, a two-fold process in which an earlier illustration is copied by hand and then further translated mechanically into woodcuts or engravings, for distribution. In fact, when we look more closely at her paintings, we see that doubling is omnipresent – in the two-page configuration of the prominent book motif, in the mirroring of animals and humans, and, more subtly, in echoes between the historical and the modern periods such as those between the illustrations of peasant farmers from the Puss in Boots story and the contemporary turbaned farmer holding his scythe in Puss in the Subcontinent.

Many of Wainio’s paintings evoke a mood of disenchantment and loss rather than wonder. In them, books have become crumbling monuments, provisional structures in a landscape littered with empty shopping bags and cheap, discarded shoes. Mass production replaces scarcity and commercial exchange, transformation, but poverty is nonetheless ubiquitous. The subjects of the traditional European folktale – poverty and excess, high culture and low, desire and consumption, camouflage and forms of recognition or status through representation or dress – become commentaries on today’s global consumerist society and its inequities. Combining contradictory kinds of spaces and modes of figuration, Wainio produces a representational instability that may be read as a metaphor for social instability.

Edward Burtynsky: China Photographs

Curated by Diana Nemiroff

22 November 2009 – 07 February 2010

Working at sites throughout Canada and around the world, Edward Burtynsky has produced a compelling body of photographs of nature transformed through industry that has won him international acclaim. Edward Burtynsky: China Photographs features a fascinating selection of twenty-two large-scale images from the powerful series of photographs he made over the past decade documenting China’s transformation into a global manufacturing and industrial power.

The exhibition opens with images of the Three Gorges Dam – a project that forever changed the face of the Yangtze River and the lives of the people living on its banks. While this controversial project has provided an important new source of electricity for China’s industries, it has also meant the submerging of rich agricultural lands and historic cultural sites as well as the relocation of over a million people. During subsequent trips to China Burtynsky set out to create a portrait of the 21st-century industrial giant that China has rapidly become since the initial planning of the Dam began. He documented every aspect of its growth – from the Dam project to its shipyards, its steel and coal industries, its old factories and its new manufacturing sector, recycling, and urban renewal.

China offered Burtynsky enterprise on a scale that suited his artistic vision as well as his journalistic intent. Its new cities bristle with recently erected skyscrapers; its manufacturing facilities present endless ranks of brightly clad workers. His Three Gorges Dam photographs are a systematic and comprehensive document of the lengths to which the Chinese are prepared to sweep away the old to make way for the new. Beyond the documentary, the China photographs are a compelling artistic expression of the monumental transformation he encountered. Through an emphasis on scale combined with an equal insistence on detail, Burtynsky captures the energy of this rising global power in images whose visual richness and power can be compared with the similarly ambitious history paintings of the past.

“Inuit Piqutingit/What Belongs to Inuit”: Videos and Films by Igloolik Isuma Productions

Curated by Mary-Louise Davis

22 November 2009 – 07 February 2010

This exhibition celebrates the films and videos produced by the internationally-acclaimed Igloolik Isuma Productions, based in Igloolik, Nunavut. Best known for the film Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner, awarded the Camera d’Or at Cannes in 2001, Igloolik Isuma has also produced documentaries of Inuit life and culture and a 13-part mini-series recreating Inuit life in the Igloolik area in the early twentieth century.

Two other important companies collaborate with Isuma: Arnait Video Productions, a women’s video group operated by Marie-Hélène Cousineau and Mary Kunuk, which explores issues affecting Igloolik women, and Artcirq, a youth-run company affiliated with the Igloolik youth circus.

“Isuma” is an Inuktitut word that means “thinking.” Thoughtful reflection informs Igloolik Isuma’s principal goals and aesthetic. Founded by Zacharias Kunuk, Norman Cohn, and the late Paul Apak Angilirq as a locally controlled alternative to the Ottawa-based Inuit Broadcasting Corporation, Isuma aims to capture on screen the rich history, customs, stories, struggles, and knowledge of the Igloolik Inuit, as well as the unique landscape of the area.

Isuma’s videos share many characteristics with traditional storytelling. Like oral narratives that create vivid images in listeners’ minds, their videos offer captivating imagery for the eyes. All their videos are filmed in Inuktitut and feature Inuit actors as well as Inuit musicians, singers and dancers. Although their powerful storytelling has a wide appeal, Inuit are their first audience.

Isuma’s videos work within and outside Igloolik to revivify community spirit and strength and to conserve and broadcast Inuit knowledge, presenting and promoting an Inuit alternative to Western-style film and television. Ultimately, Isuma fosters self-representation that furthers the goals of Inuit self-determination.

This festival of Isuma’s films is organized thematically. Day 1, which includes films produced by Arnait and Artcirq, listens to the voices of women and children. Day 2 focuses on cultural heritage in Nunavut and features the mini-series Nunavut (Our Land), created in response to the territory’s founding in 1999. Day 3 looks at important traditions and stories of the past. The theme of Day 4 is the reclamation of traditional knowledge and the revitalization of community. Day 5 showcases the Igloolik Isuma aesthetic, which is rooted in the art of storytelling. Day 6 explores contemporary efforts to empower Inuit and their communities.

Isuma recently established IsumaTV.com, a website that continuously broadcasts Aboriginal video from around the world. You’ll be able to view IsumaTV on a computer terminal in the gallery, and contribute to the exhibition’s blog at: http://cuaginuitpiqutingit.blogspot.com/

Sanattiaqsimajut: Inuit Art from the Carleton University Art Gallery Collection

Curated by Ingo Hessel

13 September – 08 November 2009

In 1981, George Swinton bought for Carleton University its first works of Inuit art, and when Carleton University Art Gallery (CUAG) opened in 1992, Inuit art was a prominent feature of its first exhibition. The gallery’s collection, now numbering some 1600 works, is broad in scope both geographically and thematically. Its core is comprised of a large and important collection of works on paper and sculptures donated in 1992 by the American collectors Dr. Priscilla Tyler and Maree Brooks.

Smaller but significant gifts have expanded the scope of CUAG’s holdings; the R.D. Bell and Josephine Mitchell and Lowell Schoenfeld collections are particularly noteworthy. Drew and Carolle Anne Armour recently gave CUAG a major donation of sculptures and early ivories, as well as a remarkable group of drawings and prints.

Since 1992, CUAG’s collection of Inuit art has generated 44 exhibitions, many of them curated by young scholars in the field. Sanattiaqsimajut, however, is the first to provide a comprehensive overview of the collection’s breadth and depth. Curated by Ingo Hessel, author of the renowned book Inuit Art: An Introduction (1998), the exhibition surveys the full range of production by Inuit artists – from prints and drawings to sculptures and early ivories. It foregrounds the work of celebrated artists including Parr, Luke Anguhadluq, Davidialuk, John Pangnark, Tivi Etook, Pudlo Pudlat, Kenojuak, and Jessie Oonark.

Priscilla Tyler believed that art, and Inuit art in particular, is part of a larger narrative, one that she saw as directly analogous to narrative impulses in storytelling and literature. Despite their diversity of media and styles, the works presented in Sanattiaqsimajut demonstrate the recurrence of the common narrative threads that characterize Inuit art, most especially the fluid movement between the physical and spiritual realms, and the vital relationship between humans and animals.

Our challenge, as students of Inuit art, is to absorb and understand some of the vast amount of information about Inuit culture and beliefs, and community and personal histories, that Inuit artists have passed on to us.

Conflicted Heroes: the Reformation and the Hebrew Bible

Curated by Dr Randi Klebanoff

13 September – 08 November 2009

Conflicted Heroes presents Christian depictions of heroes from the Hebrew bible (called the Old Testament by Christians) during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in Reformation Europe, a period of radical social destabilization. Religious reformers such as Martin Luther and John Calvin split away from the Church that had dominated European life since the Middle Ages, forming new religious denominations collectively known as Protestantism.

Bible stories enjoyed a new popularity during the Protestant Reformation. Luther advocated access to translations of the bible for all believers, and the widespread growth of the print trade made copies of his and other translations widely available. Artists and publishers flooded the market with prints and illustrated bibles that made the bible more vivid and accessible.

Prior to the sixteenth century, European Christians interpreted the Hebrew bible primarily in terms of typology: the ways in which it foreshadowed the New Testament Gospels. In the sixteenth century, Christian artists began developing imagery from the Hebrew bible independent of this typological framework. Artists such as Lucas van Leyden and Maarten van Heemskerck greatly expanded the repertoire of stories in prints that were widely distributed throughout Europe. Their exploration of the Hebrew bible’s storytelling potential in this period paved the way for Rembrandt and others in the following century.

The artworks in Conflicted Heroes reveal the legacy of the period of the Reformation: struggles over issues of identity, an awareness of the instability of truth, and a keen sense of the conflicted nature of humanity. Artists presented include Rembrandt van Rijn, Lucas van Leyden, Hans Sebald Beham, and Pieter Lastman. The exhibition features prints and paintings loaned by private collectors, and from the collections of CUAG, the National Gallery of Canada, Art Gallery of Ontario, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, and Agnes Etherington Art Centre.

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.

Gerald Ferguson: Frottage Works 1994-2006

Curated by Susan Gibson-Garvey; circulated by the Dalhousie Art Gallery

29 June – 30 August 2009

This twelve-year survey of the work of Halifax-based painter Gerald Ferguson includes eighteen paintings from the collection of the Dalhousie Art Gallery made by means of ‘frottage’, which the Oxford English Dictionary defines as “the technique or process of taking a rubbing from an uneven surface to form the basis for a work of art.” Some of the objects that Ferguson has placed under his canvasses before passing a paint-soaked roller over their surfaces include cast-iron firebacks, clothesline, lengths of garden hose, dowel rods, rope, door mats, fence palings, drain covers, and ash-can lids and bottoms. The list is a virtual inventory of the artist’s environment, in- and outside the studio, and aligns his painting practice with plain work and common materials.

Questioning authority and meaning in painting, Ferguson’s workmanlike procedures result in surprisingly beautiful paintings. They may appear as abstract and rarefied as a work by Barnett Newman or Mark Rothko, but they are in fact objective – indeed literal – impressions of everyday things.

Born in Cincinnati in 1937 and educated at Ohio University, Gerald Ferguson came to Canada in 1968 to teach at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD). He has lived and worked in Nova Scotia ever since, retiring from NSCAD in 2005, but maintaining a vigorous studio practice to the present day. Ferguson has exhibited his work nationally and internationally, including major solos at the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Winnipeg Art Gallery and the National Gallery of Canada. He is represented in numerous public and private collections in Canada, the United States and Europe, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York. In 1996 he was awarded the coveted Molson Prize for the Arts. All of the works in this exhibition were generously donated by Ferguson to the Dalhousie Art Gallery in 2006 and 2007. Gerald Ferguson is represented by Wynick-Tuck Gallery (Toronto) and Gallery Page and Strange (Halifax).

Spring Hurlbut: Deuil

Curated by Scott McLeod; circulated by Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art

29 June – 30 August 2009

The most recent of a string of meditations on death that have marked Spring Hurlbut’s practice, Deuil is also the first to document the mortal remains of her subjects.  The results transcend our lingering taboos about death.  Hurlbut’s photographs – swirling configurations of ashes on inky black grounds – are unexpectedly beautiful and eloquent witnesses to mourning and grief.

Hurlbut’s images reveal the thoughtful process of coming to terms with her difficult subject.  Secular in outlook herself, she began in almost scientific fashion by weighing and measuring the ashes and bone fragments of her father, James, and later of Scarlett Wright, an infant who had died a few hours after birth. The first photographs in the series emphasize the terrible insubstantiality of human remains after their purging by fire.  Only through patient experiment did she set aside the props of ruler and scale and discover her central metaphor: the human after death as a luminous constellation that is both finite and otherworldly.

Born in Toronto in 1952 and educated at the Ontario College of Art and Design and the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Spring Hurlbut lives and works in Toronto.  She is well-known for her installations in which allusions to death and mortality are never far below the surface.  Sacrificial Ornament, plaster reliefs based on classical Greek architecture, was widely exhibited in Canada and the United States from 1991-93.  Her installation Le Jardin du Sommeil, first shown at the Musée du Québec in 1993, was exhibited at the Power Plant (Toronto) in 1995 and was remounted in a park in the north of Paris in 1998; it is currently on display at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal until September.  From 1999 to 2004, Hurlbut recontextualized and revivified archived collections with two massive installations:  The Final Sleep / Le Dernier Sommeil at the Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto) and Beloved and Forsaken at the Manchester Museum.  She has been working on Deuil, her first photographic project, for four years.  Hurlbut is represented by Georgia Scherman Projects (Toronto).

Howie Tsui’s Horror Fables

Curated by Sandra Dyck

27 April – 14 June 2009

Ottawa-based artist Howie Tsui explores themes of subversion and cultural assimilation through a blend of traditional Asian imagery and Western underground aesthetics. Horror Fables presents his new large paintings, made on paper in the form of Ming Dynasty scrolls, which conjure a phantasmagoria of beasts, ghosts, demons, and gods (and the occasional everyday human) who populate fantastical landscapes.

Tsui’s work is informed by a variety of dark subjects, including Asian ghost stories, Buddhist hell scrolls, Hong Kong vampire films, neo-conservative propaganda, and twentieth-century genocides such as the Nanking massacre. He describes the exhibition’s overarching theme as a struggle against “powerful, merciless structures,” citing as examples corporations, political regimes, and social constructs. It also satirizes, in the broadest sense, the atmosphere of fear perpetrated in the West since 9/11 and captured in now-banal catchphrases such as “axis of evil” or “war on terror”.

Dim lighting and a spectral soundtrack culled from 1960s Japanese horror movies attend your passage through the artist’s haunted world. There, you’ll find a space both abnormal and paranormal, where dread and glee, the grotesque and the sublime, fluidly co-exist.

Sandra Meigs: Strange Loop

Curated by Diana Nemiroff

27 April – 14 June 2009

CUAG’s contribution to the B.C. Scene festival organized by the National Arts Centre is an exhibition of recent, large-scale paintings of architectural interiors by Victoria-based artist Sandra Meigs. The show’s title refers to the idea that the world outside the mind and the subjective world of the “I” are in fact joined, coming together as a “strange loop” in what we understand as consciousness.

Meigs’ sources for the paintings are the drawings she did inside several Shingle Style mansions that she visited in Newport, Rhode Island. The Shingle Style brought order and unity to vernacular wood-frame construction, emerging as an authentic American architectural style and precursor to modernist architecture in the 1880s. The interior design of the mansions focused on the entrance, which usually included a welcoming hearth and a grand stairway ascending to the private chambers of the residence. Virtuosity in detail gave these pivotal entrances an enchanting quality, while the play of light on the surfaces of the open chamber throughout the course of the day integrated the exterior with the interior space.

Meigs approaches the underlying psychological dimension she detects in these spaces with the signature comic gestalt that has been at the core of her work throughout her career. She thus encourages the viewer’s recognition to shift constantly between the paintings’ formal aspects and their content. Using a soft grey colour scale to hint at the works’ cerebral analogies, she renders the illusionistic vertical and horizontal dimensions of the interiors, with their stairways ascending or descending into deeper spaces, in linear perspective. Though they initially appear empty, these complex interiors play host to many ghost-like entities, who joyfully or despondently gaze back at the viewers, drawing us into their strange loop.

Shuvinai Ashoona Drawings

Curated by Sandra Dyck

27 April – 14 June 2009

Shuvinai Ashoona’s distinctive drawings have garnered her increasing attention since her emergence in the mid-1990s. This exhibition, the artist’s first solo show in a public gallery, surveys the extraordinary range of her styles, subjects, and approaches. It features her early, delicate monochromatic landscapes; carefully-observed, near-monumental depictions of motifs such as goose eggs and tools; vividly-coloured interpretations of everyday life in Cape Dorset, and fantastical scenes that partake of the whimsical and the grotesque.

Ashoona’s work is marked by a protean fluidity – an apparently effortless movement between the past and present, actual and imagined, and interior and external worlds. She evinces the same delight in obsessive and subtle mark making with black ink as she does in comparatively minimal line drawing with pencil crayon. Her drawings compel our attention in part because they are born of a singular and poignant vision that was forged in, but transcends, a specific place – Cape Dorset.

Lenders to the show include the Canadian Museum of Civilization, National Gallery of Canada, Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, Feheley Fine Arts, and private collectors in Canada and the United States.

Construction Work: Josée Dubeau, Lorraine Gilbert, Jinny Yu

Curated by Sandra Dyck

23 February – 12 April 2009

Construction Work brings together the work of three artists from the region – a sculptor, a painter, and a photographer – with a common interest in ideas of space, place, and the built environment. Josée Dubeau uses delicate wood rods to make large, three-dimensional installations that visitors can walk through. Her new construction – a furnished, flat-roofed house – is inspired by the Eames House (1949) in Los Angeles. Built from pre-fabricated industrial materials, the Eameses’ minimalist yet playful home is made of a rectangular steel framework sheathed in glass. The modularity and apparent weightlessness of this iconic "off-the-shelf" house make it particularly appealing to Dubeau, who strives for similar qualities in her ephemeral structures.

Jinny Yu explores the relationship of painting to architecture in a site-specific work inspired by a monastery designed by Le Corbusier near Lyon, France (1960). The building is famed for the irregular window pattern of windows on its north façade; Yu has painted this abstract, syncopated pattern directly on the gallery wall and, ignoring the modernist disdain for applied decoration, has installed a painted narrative frieze above it. Set high on the wall and intended to be viewed from the gallery’s lower and mezzanine levels, this multi-panel figurative painting takes its cue from the modular design of the gallery while encouraging active experience of its spaces.

Lorraine Gilbert considers the social and political dimensions of the built environment in her photographic series Le Patrimoine. She focuses on the contemporary Québec landscape and its ongoing transformation by developers of standardized subdivisions, golf courses, and resorts. In black-and-white panoramic images built digitally from a bank of source images, she crafts subtle and often sly tableaux in which everyday people live, work, and play in her constructed landscapes. Gilbert ultimately asks us to rethink outdated concepts of Quebec’s identity as rooted in an idyllic rural landscape and consider instead the global, homogenizing forces shaping it today.

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