Ready to Fete

Confederation Centre Ready to Fete Winter Gallery Exhibitions

CCAG to host ‘Winter Gallery Opening’ March 7 celebrating five new exhibitions

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The Confederation Centre Art Gallery (CCAG) has a been a hive of activity recently, with five new shows being installed and a slate of ArtTalks on deck. The public will have a chance to explore the new exhibitions, with a Winter Gallery Opening being held March 7 at 7 p.m. at Confederation Centre, a national arts centre and living memorial to the nation’s founding.

All are welcome for the opening, a seasonal tradition, which is always a chance to experience the new works amidst a fun and social atmosphere. Expect live musical entertainment and refreshments, and even a chance to chat with some of the artists and curators involve. The event begins at 7 p.m. and there is no cost to attend.

On the brain, and the shape of things

One of the new shows is the collections exhibition, Spheres, Skulls, and Other Icons of the Interior. “Rather than present semi-permanent installations of highlights from our (CCAG) permanent collection,” says director Kevin Rice, “we often develop thematic exhibitions that reflect collections growth, curatorial research, and our changes as a society. Our rotating collection shows give audiences a chance to experience fresh contexts and combinations of newer and older acquisitions.”

 This latest exhibition is curated by Pan Wendt and built around two recent acquisitions. Nova Scotia artist Colleen Wolstenholme has donated her major sculpture Pills, which consists of large-scale plaster replicas of pharmaceutical drugs; and Robin Peck, recently retired sculpture professor at St. Thomas University, donated three works from his series Crania.  

“Both of these important donations are sculptures about the brain,” says Wendt. “And so I wanted to build a show about art as an externalization of thought, and of what we think of as our interior. Artists are often drawn to certain forms as references to containers for mental activity, and as shaped by the mind.” 

The exhibition, which opens March 7 and runs until May 30, also features artworks by Don Bonham, Joan Jonas, Patrick Lundeen, Landon MacKenzie, and Ed Zelenak, among others, as well as a proposed donation by Island artist Gerald Beaulieu.

Still Life Forever

Beginning next week, the Centre’s concourse will feature some engaging art history. In an exhibition entitled Setting the Table: Still-Life and its After Effects, curator Wendt again draws from the Gallery’s collection to show how the genre of the “still life” evolved from a minor exercise for artists to a showcase of formal arrangement within an everyday context.

“Even when it was a minor genre, artists were drawn to the process of still life as a sort of document of our relationship to the world and to things,” says Wendt. “But for modern artists, this seemingly formal exercise took on great importance. Eventually it fragmented into a bunch of new practices, like construction, more-or-less pure abstraction, and the literal use of found objects into art contexts.”

Wendt continues, “These are all pretty familiar strategies now, but one could make the case that they emerged from the humble practice of making a still life. And the still life never goes away, as recent work by Tony Scherman and John Cox demonstrates in this show. Artists are still fascinated by it.”

The exhibition, which will be visible in the concourse display cases from February 29 to May 24, features work by Canadian artists, including George Angliss, Joe Plaskett, Bertram Brooker, Ron Martin, as well as the late P.E.I. artist Jan Mollison.

A full slate

The other exhibitions being celebrated at the Winter Opening include: Victor Cicansky: The Gardener’s Universe; The Debbie Show: Views from the Desk; and Artists by Artists.

PEI Professional Theatre Network

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PEI Theatre is the Guild, Harbourfront Theatre,
Confederation Centre for the Arts,
Watermark Theatre, and the Victoria Playhouse

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