Tag Archives: Confederation Centre Art Gallery

Logjam at the Gallery

Major Touring Exhibition ‘The Drive’ Pulls Up at the CCAG

-New exhibition centred on famed Tom Thomson painting examines representations of landscape and resource development-

Opening this weekend at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery (CCAG) is a new touring exhibition from the Art Gallery of Guelph, entitled The Drive

Anchored by Art Gallery of Guelph’s major Tom Thomson canvas of the same title, The Drive situates the work of Thomson, the Group of Seven, and their peers in relation to contemporary Indigenous and Canadian artists in order to highlight the complexity of the representation of landscape – particularly as it relates to the history of resource development.

Based on a sketch produced in the summer of 1916 when Thomson was employed as a fire ranger in the park, the canvas depicts a massive flow of timber emerging from a dam at Grand Lake near Achray in Canada’s oldest provincial park. The logs being guided through a narrow gap in the dam were headed towards the Ottawa River. 

The Drive painting captures the intensity of logging in a park that had already been widely clear-cut in Thomson’s day. The industry was the primary shaper of the landscape the artist painted and made famous, defining this landscape as post-industrial, not the untouched wilderness it is so often described as. 

A.Y. Jackson’s depictions of mining settlements and J.E.H. MacDonald’s agricultural scenes and views made accessible by rail are contextualized within the exhibition. 

Complemented by the work of Indigenous and Canadian artists including Sonny Assu, Christi Belcourt, Bob Boyer, Edward Burtynsky, Bonnie Devine, Robert Houle, Isuma, Sarah Anne Johnson, Daphne Odjig, Kelly Richardson, Don Russell, Frank Shebageget, Peter von Tiesenhausen, and Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, the exhibition documents the effects of colonization and changing relationships to the land through creative interventions that advance ecological sustainability and environmental justice.

The Drive opens Saturday, January 23one of three new exhibitions opening this month at the CCAG. Curated by Shauna McCabe and Brian Meehan, this circulating exhibition is organized by the Art Gallery of Guelph with the support of the Department of Canadian Heritage, and in conjunction with Confederation Centre Art Gallery, Museum London, and Thunder Bay Art Gallery.


Theatre PEI

Magic Haunted Lands

CCAG Presents Gerard Clarkes: A Haunted Land

-Gallery exhibiting a selection of enigmatic landscapes from Island-based painter this winter-

Opening this month at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery (CCAG) is a new exhibition of dramatic landscapes, dream worlds, and shadowy figures from P.E.I.-based artist, Gerard Clarkes

Born in 1934, Clarkes studied art in his native Winnipeg, as well as Montreal and Toronto. By the early 1960s, he was represented by major galleries in Toronto and Montreal and had solo exhibitions in Toronto and Vancouver. By the mid-60s he was appointed Director of Art at York University, and later Director of the Burnaby Art Gallery.

Gerard Clarkes: A Haunted Land features works that defy easy categorization. His paintings often depict enigmatic casts of characters positioned in allusive landscapes, like actors placed in a tableau.

When reviewing his formative exhibition Gerard Clarkes: transcending, reviewers of the day spoke with uncertainty of his mystifying subject matter and unique style, which had clearly struck a chord with art-lovers and collectors in the 1960s.

Said Manitoba art critic Robert Ayre in 1964, “Clarkes is a peculiar painter who entices us into a dream world of his own and holds us fascinated…” while Dorothy Pfeiffer of the Montreal Gazette wrote “Some of Clarkes’ incongruously garbed figures appear as phantoms from an earlier era; as lost souls wandering through a prairie twilight” before concluding that “time both is, and is not, of the essence” in Clarkes’ paintings.

Says Wendt, of the forthcoming CCAG exhibition: “These works resonate with us today because they captured a sense of up-rootedness and uncertainty in relation to where we find ourselves, which is uncannily familiar at this time.”

Gerard Clarkes: A Haunted Land runs January 16 to May 9, 2021 and was produced by the Confederation Centre Art Gallery with support from the Canada Council for the Arts. An accompanying publication will be launched during the exhibition.


Theatre PEI

New Art at the Art Gallery

CCAG Celebrating Fall Exhibitions with Opening Events Over Two Days!

-Public invited for Centre events Oct. 23-24 exploring three new exhibitions-

The Confederation Centre Art Gallery (CCAG) is getting set to host their first opening events since early 2020 and is inviting the public to celebrate three new exhibitions this weekend.

The events are focused around three new exhibitions at the CCAG, including St. John’s-based Mi’kmaw painter Nelson White, whose portrait series Tukien (Awaken) celebrates indigenous artists and activists. This project is a collaboration with the Grenfell Art Gallery (Corner Brook) and co-curated by Mathew Hills and Pan Wendt. 

The two other new shows being recognized include Give Me Shelter, which features 13 artists from St. John’s, and Alexis Bellavance: ốps, a video installation looking at the constant and regular breathing of the sea and sky by the Montreal-based artist.

The CCAG has scheduled a two-day opening, including a ticketed sit-down event on Friday, October 23 and an afternoon of public tours on October 24. Both events require pre-booking and spaces are limited. The Friday October 23 opening is an evening gathering from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Patrons can meet the artists, view the new works, hear live music and enjoy delicious appetizers and drinks, all included in a $25.00 ticket. Tables of two or four are available; tickets can be purchased in person at the Confederation Centre Box Office, or by calling 902.566.1267. 

The second event—the October 24 Guided Tours of the new exhibitions—are free-of-charge and will each run for 45 minutes, with a maximum of 10 people per tour. Pre-registration is required for one of four timeslots: 1 p.m., 1:15 p.m., 2 p.m., and 2:15 p.m. Interested patrons should RSVP to Evan Furness at 902.628.6112 or efurness@confederationcentre.com.

>>13 Emerging Artists from St. John’s

Culminating several years of studio visits and research, the CCAG is presenting Give Me Shelter, a two-gallery survey of emerging artists based in the city of St. John’s, NL.

The exhibition features a variety of mediums, ranging from painting and drawing, to video and photography, to sculpture and textile work, including several artists working with hooked rugs. “The show will provide an important platform for St. John’s artists to showcase their work outside their home province, and the publication that will accompany the exhibition is a key part of this exposure,” offers Gallery Director Kevin Rice.  

The exhibition is part of CCAG’s Studio Watch Series and is supported by the RBC Foundation.  “I really enjoyed getting to know the artistic scene in St. John’s,” says exhibition Curator Pan Wendt, “and while this is a broad survey, it also pinpoints some aspects of the culture of St. John’s that I didn’t expect to encounter.” 

Wendt continues, adding that the capital is an international city, with a richness that goes beyond a lot of the stereotypes around Newfoundland culture. “Most of the artists [there] are not actually from the city, which shelters many subcultures and guests from around the world. This became a theme for a show—St. John’s as a sort of safe harbour, a place one can carve out a unique identity.” 

Give Me Shelter displays a complex variety of artistic projects, many of which refer to history and tradition, while at the same time demonstrating the modernity of St. John’s today. The show includes artists: Nicholas Aiden, Greg Bennett, Pepa Chan, Hazel Eckert, Jose Gonzalez, Ashley Hemmings, John McDonald, Jason Penney, Emily Pittman, Daniel Rumbolt, Mimi Stockland, April White, and Olivia Wong. 

Give Me Shelter has received research and logistical support from Eastern Edge Gallery, the Rooms Art Gallery, Emma Butler Gallery, and Christina Parker Gallery. The Centre would like to gratefully acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.

PEI Professional Theatre Network


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

Waking Up Nelson White

CCAG Set to Unveil Nelson White Portrait Exhibition ‘Tukien (Awaken)’

New exhibition of Pop Art-style portraits one of three new featured show

The Confederation Centre Art Gallery (CCAG) is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Nelson White. Tukien (Awaken): Nelson White, is on display from October 10 to January 13, 2021. The exhibition features 18 painted portraits of an extended network of indigenous artists, creatives, and activists, who, for White represent contemporary cultural leaders, what he calls his “kin.”

St. John’s-based Mi’kmaw artist Nelson White has become something of a local celebrity recently, following news of his artwork being placed on permanent display at the Museum of the American Indian in The Smithsonian

Yet even as his work is now being seen internationally, White remains an artist devoted to the familiar, the accessible, and to his extended circle of friends, a group of creative indigenous artists and workers who are together helping to bring about a cultural renaissance, what White calls “a collective raising of consciousness.” 

The title of his new show, Tukien, is a Mi’kmaq word meaning “awaken,” a reference to this collective enterprise of creating a new sense of contemporary indigenous life. An exhibition organized by the CCAG and The Grenfell Art Gallery in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, the show will tour coast to coast and will include a publication in three languages (English, French, and Mi’kmaq).

Born on the west coast of Newfoundland (Taqamkuk), in the community of Flat Bay, Nelson is a member of Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band. He attended the visual arts program at the former Bay St. George Community College, before graduating from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD). His paintings are included in public and private collections across North America. 

The new exhibition is one of three new exhibitions opening this fall at the CCAG, including Give Me Shelter. That exhibition introduces the work of 13 emerging artists, also based in St. John’s, NL. All new fall exhibitions will be celebrated with an official opening weekend of activities, October 23-24. Stay tuned to confederationcentre.com for more announcements.

PEI Professional Theatre Network


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

The Great Inflatable Has Arrived

Giant Inflatable Sculpture Set To Transform Sobey Gallery at the CCAG

‘Pop-up’ work from Alexis Bellavance: Compression-depression on view for one week only

The Confederation Centre Art Gallery (CCAG) in partnership with Art in the Open, is excited to present, Compression/Decompression, a sculptural installation by Montreal artist Alexis Bellavance for the coming week. 

The giant inflatable work, which will be on display for the week of September 29 to October 4, was originally meant to feature in this year’s Art in the Open festival, however weather conditions made its display too dangerous. 

“It seemed like a disaster at the time. The wind and rain made a house-sized inflatable piece impossible,” says CCAG Curator Pan Wendt, “but in the end it works out really well for everyone. By good fortune, there is a five-day gap in the exhibition schedule; a space is available, and the public will get to see this work over an extended period. With its scale, it will look amazing in the Sobey Gallery.”

Also showing in the Young People’s Gallery this week is an audiovisual installation from the Quebecois artist: Alexis Bellavance: ốps. This video work is based on footage captured by a floating camera that looks at the regular breathing of the ocean and the sky.

Multidisciplinary artist Alexis Bellavance is the co-founder of the Montreal performance event VIVA! Art Action and an active member of the artist-run centre Perte de Signal. His work has been presented in numerous events, festivals, and galleries in North America, Europe, and Asia. This is his first project on P.E.I.

Patrons might blink and miss these two unique exhibits, so Centre staff invite everyone to visit during regular hours this week to these works. The Gallery is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Experience Compression/Decompression, on display in the CCAG’s Sobey Gallery until October 4.

PEI Professional Theatre Network


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

Art Gallery Opens


The team at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery (CCAG) is ready to welcome patrons once again. The Gallery has reopened its doors today, with six exhibitions to explore, including new work from Sandi Hartling.

Confederation Centre of the Arts has reopened its doors last week, with The Showcase, The Story of Confederation, and now the Gallery all operating with new protocols in place.
“We are very excited to welcome Islanders back to the CCAG,” remarks Kevin Rice, gallery director. “A lot of our patrons have been missing the Gallery and we are looking forward to seeing old friends again. However, this summer is also a great opportunity for new visitors to experience our programming. Many people’s schedules have changed, or students find themselves home on the Island for extended stays, so we welcome everyone to come and explore the impressive range of Canadian art on offer.”
There is a limit of 15 people allowed in the Gallery at a time, and patrons should have no difficulty moving through the large gallery spaces while maintaining social distancing. Recommended routes are illustrated on floor plans of each gallery and extra staff are on hand to welcome visitors and answer questions about summer exhibitions or new guidelines. Click here<https://confederationcentre.com/gallery-reopening/> for detailed information on new health and safety protocols at the Centre.
The Gallery will be open Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. all summer. Admission is by donation.
Several exhibitions that opened just weeks before the Gallery closed down due to the pandemic have been extended into this summer. These include two shows drawn from the permanent collection: Spheres, Skulls, and Other Icons of the Interior<https://confederationcentre.com/exhibitions/spheres-skulls-and-other-icons-of-the-interior/> and Setting the Table: Still-Life and its After Effects<https://confederationcentre.com/exhibitions/setting-the-table-still-life-and-its-after-effects/>; as well as the touring exhibition, Victor Cicanksy: The Gardener’s Universe<https://confederationcentre.com/exhibitions/victor-cicansky-the-gardeners-universe/>.
This career retrospective features selections from the Regina artist’s body of work, including surrealist pieces, early experimental Funk sculptures, and bronze bonsai trees. Cicansky’s art work reflects his knowledge of his Romanian-Canadian roots, his early exposure to gardening, and a more contemporary interest in sustainability.
Also recently installed in the Gallery’s glass entranceway is a series of glowing LED works from Sandi Hartling. Entitled anything at all<https://confederationcentre.com/exhibitions/sandi-hartling-anything-at-all/>, the directness and immediacy of the three bright and colourful signs contrasts with the ambiguity of their text-based messages, in what the artist describes as an ongoing “inquiry regarding sense perception and its role in knowledge acquisition.”
This season’s exhibition schedule can be viewed in full on the website<https://confederationcentre.com/gallery-exhibitions/>.


Have you heard about ‘The Great Canadian Giving Challenge’? Confederation Centre relies on community support to deliver its arts education and heritage offerings and develop bold new programs. The Centre is a registered charity organization and is participating in The Great Canadian Giving Challenge throughout the month of June. Every dollar you donate during this time qualifies Confederation Centre of the Arts for a chance to win $20,000. To learn more about how you can help, visit confederationcentre.com/gcgc/<https://confederationcentre.com/gcgc/>and follow #GivingChallengeCA.

PEI Professional Theatre Network


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

New Works On and Off Line


Today, the Confederation Centre Art Gallery (CCAG) is rolling out its second contribution to Canada’s new visual arts platform, FIELD TRIP: Art Across Canada<https://www.fieldtrip.art/>. Also coming soon to the Gallery’s glass entranceway is a series of neon works from Sandi Hartling–the first physical art installed at the Centre since the pandemic began.

FIELDTRIP is a direct response to the challenges of gallery access posed by COVID-19 and offers a daily web release on FIELDTRIP.art<https://www.fieldtrip.art/>, profiling digital work from a network of more than 30 major galleries and museums from across the nation. Now available online, the CCAG’s latest contribution is a curated video work from Halifax artists Mitchell Wiebe and Tim Tracey entitled Group of Steven—painting the invisible.

Wiebe is somewhat of a cult artist in Canada, whose ‘space activations’ combine performance and painting-based installation. This duality was celebrated in Wiebe’s VampSites, a national touring exhibition organized by the CCAG and curated by Pan Wendt, which is exhibiting at the Reach Gallery in Abbotsford, B.C. in 2021.

Wiebe’s Halifax studio–located above a navy surplus store and crammed with paintings, props, and found accessories–is the setting for this new FIELDTRIP project, an extended “video feedback” reflection<https://www.fieldtrip.art/field-trips/group-of-steven-painting-the-invisible> on Wiebe’s process and paintings from animator/filmmaker Tim Tracey, created while isolating during the pandemic.

In a tribute to early music video formats and Bob Ross-esque instructional shows, the artist provides commentary in the absurd, inept, and convoluted persona of ‘Steven’. Tracey’s assortment of forms and colours are reshaped to merge kaleidoscopically with the music and lyrics of fellow Halifax musicians, Fantasy Eye. Patrons are encouraged to explore this new satirical work today via the Centre’s social media or at FIELDTRIP.art<https://www.fieldtrip.art/>, as well as other projects from across the country.

Sandi Hartling is an interdisciplinary artist residing in Avondale, P.E.I. Her series of neon text works, which combine ambiguous messages with direct, bright colour, will be installed in the Grafton Street Entrance at the CCAG over the next week.

Entitled anything at all; just cause; and sense first reflect later, the three works are mixed medium neon forms that present like handwritten text.

The pieces will be installed inside the Gallery’s glass entranceway, opposite The Holman Grand and will be illuminated at night. As Phase-3 begins across P.E.I., patrons are encouraged to enjoy these beacon-like works from Grafton Street and surrounding areas while maintaining social distancing.

A graduate of Sir Wilfred Grenfell College in Newfoundland, Hartling’s recent work includes the CCAG solo exhibition Things We Can Agree On and Other Works of Fiction; Set Design for Unrealized Production (Nature) with Third Shift in Saint John; and Paradise Mirage with Supercrawl in Hamilton.

Stay tuned for more updates on the reopening of the Confederation Centre Art Gallery for public visitation and the roll out of select arts education programs.

PEI Professional Theatre Network


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

Spheres and Skulls

Icons of the Interior



Art has often been interpreted as an external manifestation of mental processes. This exhibition presents a selection of works from the collection that explore this subject matter, with an emphasis on the use of the head, and by extension the brain, as a representation of their container and origin. Curated by Pan Wendt.

PEI Professional Theatre Network


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

Ready to Fete

Confederation Centre Ready to Fete Winter Gallery Exhibitions

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


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


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

Setting the Table

Setting the Table: Still-Life and its After Effects


The still life was the humblest genre, until it became the basis for modern abstraction and the invention of the readymade. This exhibition at the Confederation Centre presents a selection of works that build on the still life’s strategies of selection and arrangement. Curated by Pan Wendt.

PEI Professional Theatre Network


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