On the Road Right in Town

Regina-based David Thauberger is nationally recognized as a painter, printmaker, and ceramist whose practice employs a firm conviction that the local is as important as the global. Opening March 5 at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery, ROAD TRIPS & other diversions is the first comprehensive overview of this remarkable artist.

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Organized by the Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon and the MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina, this installation explores how the idea of place has shaped the artist’s work. The exhibition brings together some 70 paintings, prints, and ceramic works, produced from 1971 to 2009. Clusters of art works ranging from New York pop art to Chicago imagism to Saskatchewan folk painting highlight his process of assimilating visual information through the process of collecting.

Born in Holdfast, Saskatchewan in 1948, Thauberger is one of the most significant artists on the Prairies. Whether in patterned watercolours, flocked prints, ceramics, or taped and stenciled paintings, he has played with the line between industrial and handmade techniques, his work reflecting both his formal art school training and his rejection of the limitations of a strictly fine art approach.

Thauberger is known for his particular approach to painting vernacular architecture, such as legion halls, false-front businesses, churches, and houses, as if they were portraits. Tourist postcards have been another influential source and his work has the ability to transform the imagery of popular culture – both the everyday and the spectacular – into symbolic icons of places in much the same way that postcards can.

Thauberger also made an important impact on the national scene through his work on boards with UNESCO, Canada Council, and the Canada Council Art Bank. He was named to the Order of Canada in 2008, and acknowledged for “his promotion and preservation of Canadian heritage and folk art in Saskatchewan, in addition to his work as a painter, sculptor, and educator.”

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